Q and A’s from the Draper Forum

I’m curious about Coach’s thoughts on pre-performance psyching for himself, for his HSers, etc. Do you have a different line of thought for your own performance? Do you advise differently according to age, gender, or sport?

Honestly, other than telling a kid to get focused and small technical reminders or cues about technique or breathing, I don’t coach a lot in others.


Etch: first and foremost, you must know exactly what you are doing and have code words to get your monkey brain to focus on something concrete and let the rest of the system do what’s right.

Tranquil mind: Dick Notmeyer’s term. You must be in a mindset not to judge anything as good or bad but just let it wash over you.

Both of these are products of focusing your training and your diary work to cut away excess and keep coming back to the goal. The goal is to keep the goal the goal. So, you only judge yourself driving home or even a day or so later.

You have to trust your training no matter how wrong it was or how bad it was or whatever. You have literally just do it.

I’ve done a lot of other stuff, but these two are the ones that actually work.

One thing that has helped me through the years, especially when driving to a meet, is to listen to a book on tape this is engaging. Tom Clancy’s “Hunt for Red October” is one and so is any of the Harry Potter books. Recently, it was “The Hobbit.” The upside is that you get hooked into the adventure.

If you have to wait around, I found that Bobby Fischer’s book on learning chess, where you have all these puzzles to solve, is really good. You have to be engaged. I’ll be honest, and this will sound odd, but now that I have attained “Internet Guru” status, a lot of people want a lot of free advice. I have no problem with helping out, it is my disease, but I also need some time to turn off the switches before we start to compete.

For mental tricks, I have many, but they tend to be specific for different things I do. Actually, I think my mental set for playing football is probably my best focus. Because of the chess, the war tactics, the coaching, when I play football, I always keep looking for more ways to get small advantages. Certainly, you can see that in my throws training: when guys are just learning to snatch, I have competed at a national level. When they turn to kbells, I am an RKC…little advantages…over time. My fish oil trumps most people’s visit to GNC. Little advantages early add up.

I retired from football about 2001 or 2002, but in the league I played (I think I led the league two years in receptions…as the oldest guy by a decade), I just found little ways to keep ahead. It didn’t hurt that I was a tough matchup physically, but I kept looking for small advantages.

That’s more important than a pep talk.

Sorry for all the acronyms but I am just canvassing feedback on alternating the Program Minimum from Enter the Kettlebell on a 2 week basis with the Deadlifts and Press from Power to the People? I have recently completed a 4 week period of Program Minimum and am two weeks into the Rite of Passage (clean & pressing with pull ups in a ladder format with either repetition snatches or swings).

It’s going so far so good but I’m finding myself getting really smoked with the “dice roll” swings. Rep range is around the 25 to 40 with a 16 kg bell and doing this for any period of time greater than 4 minutes with short rests, I’m finding that my grip strength diminishes. I figure this could be improved via the above (e.g. alt ETK with PTP deadlifts).

And just for another question while I am going, what press movement do people use. Pavel uses the Side Press with a barbell (or dumbbell / kettlebell if the bar can’t be pressed) as well as floor presses. Are both presses used together or is it one or the other? Can the side press/floor press be subbed with bench presses?

Adam Marks

On the Variety days? Just Deadlift (see the book). You should have enough pressing from ETK. If not, and I think you are moving to this, try two week blocks:

PM: Two Weeks
ETK: What is it? 12 Weeks?
PM: Two Weeks
PTTP: Two Weeks
Boost or Some kind of HIgh Rep stuff: Two weeks
Repeat for a month or two more.

From there, attack the ETK’s last few weeks and get the 200 snatches with the 24 in ten minutes (laughably easy…let’s all just march out and do it as a lark, shall we?)

THEN: Return of the Kettlebell…my humble opinion: Pavel’s BEST WORK!!!!!!!!!

As you know, I’m doing the 5/3/1 and VO2, but I spent some serious time the last year doing ROTK. Several people noted how big my shoulders looked. It’s the real deal. The explosive blocks simply suck though. There are not “sucky” like in the poor planning area, but “sucky” like “this sucks.”

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