Weightlifting, Therapy & The Power of A Good Coach

To make progress, a coach, therapist or mentor must come down from their heads and meet us where we are

black and white image of a guy leaning on a weights rack for article by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

To make progress, a coach, therapist or mentor must come down from their heads and meet us where we are

I started lifting weights again just over a month ago, and since then, I’ve put in 16 sessions. The gym has a focus on powerlifting and concentrates on three lifts; back squat, deadlift and bench press. I’d prefer it if they brought in other lifts and more gassy workouts, but it is what it is.

I’m happy there, regardless.

Progress is steady and gradual. Every hour spent lifting I get a little better technically, a little stronger and I learn something new. The learning is subtle but important and significant. It’s so subtle I can hardly find the words to explain the realisations that come.

It’s strange because my mind doesn’t expect these subtleties. It thinks a lift is just a lift — the weight goes down and then it goes back up (hopefully). There you go, simples. And in many ways, that’s an accurate account, but it’s too simplistic. There’s more to it than that, and the heavier the weight on my back gets, the more relevance these subtleties seem to have. The slightest shift in technique makes the lift that little bit easier. Not easy, but easier.

I squat on a Mondays or Tuesdays depending on other commitments. I’ll be there today at 17:15. From ten repetitions at 67% of my one-rep max, maybe four or five will feel comfortable. The others will be a little off, and I’ll strain, that’s just how it is for a novice. My coach will make a few suggestions, and I’ll try to implement them.

Last week he watched my form and gave me some feedback. Immediately I understood what he was talking about such is the gravity of these subtleties. Whatever it was my coach identified, I could relate, and progress was made. We were on the same page.

“The more the therapist becomes a real person and avoids self-protective or professional masks or roles, the more the patient will reciprocate and change in a constructive direction”. — Carl Rogers, Psychotherapist

Now, that’s not always the case with all the coaches there. Some have a greater sense of their clients than others. Some are lacking confidence, perhaps and can’t let go of themselves long enough to feel the situation. They can’t come down from their heads to help you.

This feeling of the situation in which the coach and client find themselves is vital if progress is to be made.

It’s the same in every working environment where there are two or more people making something together. There must be a level of understanding and connection beyond what the surface level mind can identify on its own.

It’s like there is a speaker of no words that attempts to communicate essential aspects to us, and if our surface-level mind is not open, it can’t hear it. We can’t connect.

This is the goal of any collaboration; to meet each other somewhere that cannot be identified. It’s there we get to create something worthwhile, make a breakthrough, solve a problem, heal a wound or make that big lift.

Carl Rogers on Therapy & Reconciling Internal Conflict
In 1957, Carl R. Rogers suggested six conditions were necessary for the resolution of personal conflict and restoration…medium.com

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