Its been an interesting week given what happened on Monday (unfortunate accident in the gym). Yesterday was another eye opener when a rank beginner showed up for my noon kettlebell class. I very quickly realized that ALL my attention needed to be on this one person. After this individual told me she had never even so much as lifted a weight before, it became evident she had no mind body awareness and one blink of an eye could prove disastrous. I spent the next hour hovering over this woman, fearful of her dropping a bell on her face or worse yet, a repeat of Monday, however, I had no intention of letting her do anything involving overhead movements. I was exhausted after the hour of teaching and spotting this poor woman who I’m sure will never come back because of my overly cautious approach to teaching kettlebell SAFETY.
That brings us to Friday..The attached pictures are from the group of 9 boys I had for cross training this afternoon. 8 of them hockey players and 1 tennis player. These are talented kids that go to the half day school program offered in the building my gym is in. All of them athletic and quick learners, however not necessarily good at listening and focusing. I thought they would really enjoying the kettlebells being boys and given the age range 12-14. I gave them strict instructions about listening and paying attention with a bell or weight of any kind in their hand and if they goofed off they would have to sit it out. This is just my rule: “when I’m talking, you are not” I know kids and they want to have fun, but weight training is serious biz, and I often leave it out with this age rage because the maturity isn’t there yet, physically or mentally.
One of the attached pictures is of the sign hung just above the kettlebells. (swing it, clean it, jerk it, snatch it). I was teaching the class facing the kids with my back to the sign. We spent a good 30-40 minutes leaning to swing the bell, and very briefly touched on the clean. I was planning to create sets of squats, push ups and swings in an OTM style workout. After explaining the workout to them, one boy asked me a question… What is a “Jerk IT”, and a “Snatch IT”? I must have looked kind of stunned cause I was thinking what part of push ups, squats and swings does that have to do with anything..and it sounded inappropriate! I then realized he was reading the sign behind me, and we hadn’t learned or talked about the jerk or snatch. I shook my head and said ok, I will show you what it is, but under no circumstances are you to try it, at least not today.
I picked up a 26# comp bell and proceeded to demonstrate the lifts. Horrified and amazed looking faces everywhere. Not a word was spoken after that. They just all stood there staring at me as if I was some kind of monster! I don’t think they had ever seen anything like this, nor expected it to come from me. A new kind of respect emerged from these boys after that. One that showed me immense listening and focusing skills! They proceeded with their workout without hessitation. I was so impressed with their work attitude!
After they finished the workout I asked them to put all the bells and med balls away, clean up the chalk they made a bit of mess of. STILL, not a word out of anyone. Weird. I dismissed them and got a Thank-you Jodi from each and everyone of them. Two of the boys hung back to ask if they could do anything else for me. Another boy stayed to talk to me about some friend of his parents that knew me. It was as if the whole relationship between the boys and I had changed. What they were thinking I don’t know exactly, but they were thinking.
Kettlebells have been a HUGE lesson to me this week.
They have earned my respect.
A tool that can make or break you.
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