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Take Action And

Show A Little Swag
By Donny Shankle

When you walk up to the bar,  roll your shoulders back and pick your head up. A snatch or clean and jerk does not begin at the pull. It begins with your approach to the bar. If your eyes are looking down and you're thinking the lift is going to be heavy then the weight has already defeated you. It’s OK to be nervous because being nervous shows you care but never let your nerves turn into fear. The bar is a dead thing in space. It has no control over you. You control yourself. Your mind commands your muscles to take action against the bar. Confidence lies in your heart which is the link between mind and body.

Look at some videos of champions lifting and you may sometimes notice their teammates, coaches, or friends whispering encouragement just prior to going out on the platform. As the weightlifter lies in wait for the loaders to get the weights on the bar, you have a guy behind him massaging his shoulders, a guy to the left saying in his ear how strong he looked in the warm-up room, and then there is another guy in front of him wiping the chalk off his singlet, or perhaps even combing his hair. This entire routine is to awaken the confidence in that weightlifter. With confidence you can do anything. If you compound this confidence with a support structure who love you then on that day you will not only clean and jerk what it necessary to win, but you will have done what is necessary to live happy. I don’t mind a blowhard so long as that person backs it up. The greatest boxers who ever lived enjoyed hype, strutting, and talking shit but they also out boxed their opponent to either victory in decision or KO’ed the man outright. Their confidence was the strength their opponents lacked.

If training has taught me anything, it’s hard work brings success. Like life, the days will keep rolling on. The gym doors will always be open and the sun will always rise again for you to return and improve upon yesterday. You have complete carte blanche when you are in the gym. Either the pages in your biography will be filled in with a negative vocabulary consisting of the words failure, timid, and yellow, or it will use positive words like intrepid, magnanimous, and proud. When you compete, take a second to look at yourself in the mirror wearing your singlet and congratulate yourself on making it this far. You are not here because of luck or from a series of serendipitous events. Look at your muscles and breathe in all of the confidence and beauty in this world. You are about to compete because you have posted the total to be where you are and your hard work made that possible. Show a little swag as you walk up to the bar with a sense of purpose and then attack.