A weightlifting coach in Cape Town


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Training with the South African national team

Every weekend, I travel to Hottentots Holland Weightlifting Club to lift and learn from the national coach, Aveenash Pandoo. Yesterday was my first opportunity to participate in a full squad training session, so I thought I’d write up my notes for you. These are observations and I make no guarantee that I am accurate on all counts.

For starters, I forgot my shoes for the third time in my entire lifting career. Like when you’re injured, it’s important to show up anyway. There’s plenty of weaknesses you could be working on, plus you can improve your own technique and coaching eye through observation. Between lifts, I was very intrigued by the difference in coaching style. Here are the rest of my notes:

All in all, this setup very much reminded me of the environment of martial arts training, albeit with a lot more audience participation and collaborative learning. In particular, there is a huge emphasis on mastery on a per-lift basis. Anything learned from the coach must be applied immediately and henceforth. There is a feeling of being behind, in a good way, if that makes any sense to you! This is an emergency - it is impossible that there is enough time to get strong enough and learn everything you need to. Therefore, you must apply yourself consummately to this bar in front of you right now… this very next lift.

Accept missing

On The Best of Sett

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend amongst a growing number of lifters in my local club of late. I’m sure this is one behaviour you’re going to recognise and it must be infuriating for coaches.

Let me give you a real life example to illustrate. Here was yesterday’s workout down at Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club:

Power snatch 105% x 1 x 6

Clean and jerk 90% x 1 x 4

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