Thanks to the guys at the Kilkenny Kettlebell Club for hosting another great competition.
As with all these events it is a great opportunity to meet up with like minded people, become enveloped in the atmosphere and be inspired be the performances on the platforms.
For those unfamiliar with Kettlebell Sport (Girevoy Sport or simply GS) it is a true test of physical and mental character. Like all athletic endeavours it simply represents the end of a training period, the performances on the platform are a reflection of the trials that person has put themselves through over the months leading up to the day.
This event I had a team of 5 lifters taking part. All of whom are relatively new to the sport including one who was new to competitive sport full stop. Not a single one of the guys let themselves, me or the team down. All 5 put up an impressive performance, a testament to the work they’d all put in over the last 2 – 3 months.
From my Lunchtime sessions I had Graham, a man who has struggled with the technical side of the lifts since he started with them. He also only has the opportunity to train during his lunch hour meaning that if we get 40minutes from the minute he steps on the floor to the minute he hits the showers then we are lucky. Yet today he was the embodiment of calm control, he did everything right and set the standard for the rest to follow. And the man following was our boy Phil Roche, a man who has already qualified to represent Ireland at an international GS event in Latvia later this month. Because of his commitments Phil was under strict orders today to keep things tight and follow a plan. Thankfully he did exactly as asked, but still left the platform having put on a good show.
Then we had the girls.
Linda and Maria are a pair of wise cracking, fun loving idiots a lot of the time. But behind this facade lie two of the strongest, most driven athletes I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Maria is a multiple black belt holder in full contact Kyokushin Karate and Linda went from All Ireland Javelin Champion in school to a full time gym instructor / manager / consultant. Despite their backgrounds in sport, they found a love and bond in the kettlebell. This was their second competition, both having put up good performances in Wexford earlier this year, now they were out to beat it. And beat it they did. Maria won the Absolute total in the Womens Long Cycle (clean & jerk), while Linda hit a personal best. True warriors.
Then finally the star of the show in my eyes at least. All the guys so far have been involved in sport their whole lives. Each of them knows and understands the discipline of training and the pressure of competition. They’ve been there so many times before albeit in different events. But my last man up in the Mens Long Cycle has never been there. He has only been with me a short while but has proven himself to be an indomitable workhorse. Jon decided late to join the competition. as a general rule I like to have guys run a 12 week training cycle ending in the competition. Jon only had 8 weeks. 8 weeks to learn and master the technique. 8 weeks to master the breathing patterns. 8 weeks to push the mind and body in a way that only Kettle can.
And you now what, he bloody did it.
Today he put up 70 reps of Clean & Jerk with a pair of 16kg bells and looked like a pure professional from start to finish. The nerves that were so obvious pre lifting simply evaporated as soon as the announcer called “Begin” The minute he racked the bells to the chest for the first time, Jon “the Loveboat” became Jon “the Battleship”
It was awesome.
There were other incredible stories on the day, but it the guys like Jon, like the older lifters in their 50’s and 60’s, the guys who have come to the sport from nothing, these are the inspiration. These are the guys with the biggest hearts.
Yes, Eddie Sheehan from the Kilkenny Kettlebell Club may have been the man, he put up 105 jerks with a pair of 32kg bells, and that is awesome by anyone’s standards but it’ll always be the underdogs that inspire me to keep coaching, keep training and keep doing.
It’s not about being the best. It’s about being the best you can be.