Doug here with some words on believing in yourself and how I have been overcoming my lack of confidence in my speed.
I started kettlebell sport a little over four years ago, not that long compared to some of my friends who have been in the sport for 10 to 15 years. And I have always been criticized, by myself and by others, for my super slow motion jerk technique. It’s slow. Horribly slow. People are sometimes shocked at how I am able to put up the reps I do with the slowness of my technique. I have always maintained the thought that I was slow because I was long…tall. My arms are disproportionately long for my height, so my lockout overhead is even further from the ground than it should be. Well, the distance from point A to point B is a long distance, and I have always thought this is why I was slow, it just takes longer to get the bells from rack to overhead because I am so tall and have such long arms. I have never been super fast, basketball, football, lacrosse, Muay Thai, I am not a great sprinter and I am not a great long distance runner, I am good at a medium pace for a medium distance. But “medium” is not how you get better, it is not how you get faster, you have to push yourself, repeatedly, even if you repeatedly fail, you have to keep pushing out of your comfort zone. For the past four years I have been unable to believe that I can be faster.
When you watch Ivan Denisov lift, it is amazing, he is a monster, amazing strength and amazing cardio, the best of both worlds. When you train with him it is rough, two hours of being told you’re doing it wrong and too slow and asking you why you’re doing it wrong. Frustrating. My breakthrough started with a training session with Ivan where he really tried to convince me I could be fast if I just got it out of my head that I was slow, I had to believe. My first coach and very good friend and mentor Chris Duffey always tried to get me to believe and I’m not sure why but I couldn’t get over my own thoughts, I couldn’t push out my self doubt and let in the belief. But my next breakthrough came with watching Nicklas from Russia. If you have met him you know who I’m talking about, he is huge, 3 inches taller than me, massive legs, and a lockout even higher than mine. Once I started watching him, I believed I could be faster, and then I started training with Igor Morosov and he programmed sets I didn’t think I could do. This was a big key. He repeatedly asked me to perform a pace I never liked, 10rpm, sustained on 16kg double long cycle for 10, 12, 15 minute sets. I never thought this was possible, but I kept working at it and eventually I got it. Duffey always knew I could do it, but I didn’t believe in myself so I never tried as hard as I have been trying lately. With my confidence improving I have kept trying. Sprint sets on 1:00 on 24’s and long sets on 16 and 18 and 20. Slowly but surely, each week I am seeing little improvements and increases in my confidence.
GET OVER YOURSELF!
No matter what sport you are in, your biggest obstacle is the space between your ears. Your toughest opponent is staring at you in the mirror. The greatest sports heroes are not always as gifted as you think, many of them just take years of pushing hard, trying everyday to get smoother and faster, grinding, hustling. Often when we are still in our infancy in learning a new skill or starting to compete in a sport, we get impatient and try to become the best or get to the top by finding shortcuts or skipping critical learning steps. Don’t fall into this trap! If you’re a beginner, be ok with being a beginner! Know that you have years ahead of you to get to where your heroes are at right now. Years. It has taken me four years to realize this. But don’t get down on yourself! You’re doing great, just keep plugging along, keep grinding, keep hustling. And don’t listen to your self doubt, you can do it and you will do it, if you just stay patient and keep out negative self talk, believe in yourself and keep pushing forward day after day, week after week, month after month. This has been my breakthrough and how I am still overcoming my thoughts of “I am tall so I am slow”, I may not be a great lifter, not yet but I will be someday and I am happy with where I am at and I know I am getting better and improving, and big reason I am improving is because I am believing in myself. That is my message; believe you can do it, stay positive, and keep grinding! If I can get over the obstacle of not believing in myself, so can you!