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It’s about Quality, not Quantity

I’m just home from teaching the first of this years kettlebell workshops. Gotta say, I was a tad rusty, haven’t taught a workshop in a couple of months now. But that said, I still got some great feedback.

The best part of today was listening to a couple of participants telling me how they’d attended someone elses workshop previously (I’ll not say who). On this workshop, which lasted around 3 1/2 hours, they were shown everything. When I asked them to define “everything” they pulled out a few pages they’d put together as a reminder of some of what they’d been shown. On these pages were:

  1. Swings

  2. Snatches

  3. Presses

  4. Clean

  5. Squats

  6. High Pulls

  7. Turkish Get Ups

  8. Windmills

  9. Bent Over Row

All in one afternoon? They then told me how the next day they were destroyed and reaching for the anti inflamitories. They also couldn’t remember half of what they were shown and had decided to do their best with YouTube and a couple of DVD’s. How’s that for a testimonial: “I attended X’s workshop and now two days later I am so stiff and sore that I can’t practice anything I learned, even if I could remember it!”

Unfortunately this is all too common in the industry. Any fool can claim to be a kettlebell instructor (remember that Jillian Micheals nonsense a while ago?) and set up classes, workshops and YouTube tutorials. An example is a man I knew a few years ago, at the time he’d never heard of a kettlebell, when I saw him a couple of years later he told me how he had attended a two day certification while he travelled across the US and now he was also a kettlebell instructor. How I laughed.

Unfortunately it is the clients that suffer. I never taught untill Vasilis Gincko told me to (“Do you teach?” he asked at his 2008 workshop, “erm, no,” I replied. “you should”). When I first taught a workshop, I’ll admit, it was crap. Basically it was a show and tell, I tried to teach “everything” in a 4 hour period and very quickly realised that the attendees actually got nothing. Hence the reason the workshops are set up as they are.

Today was Level 1 followed by Level 2. Both two hours long and both covering 3 lifts each.

Three lifts in two hours? Is that all?

Yes. And with good reason. I’m all about quality, not quantity. A workshop is not supposed to be a workout, it is supposed to be a learning experience. Many who have attended my workshops have done so because they are looking to teach the kettlebell lifts, others because they want to train safely at home. Either way it is important for the workshop attendees to gain a full understanding of the information being taught, and this means taking time teaching it. It means taking questions and taking the time to answer. It is not about the man at the front of the room showing off, it is about the clients paying to attend going home with a working knowledge of the information taught.

Today in the level 1 we looked at squatting, this culminated in the Goblet Squat with the kettle. Jessica went from a very dodgy bodyweight squat to a full range of motion front squat in a matter of minutes. The look of surprise on her face was incredible. We looked at pressing and Howard couldn’t believe how the 12kg bell suddenly felt light when it had always been a struggle before hand. We spent over 30 minutes on just the swing. as well as taking the time to explain various ways in which the drills can be combined and used for training.

When we got into Level 2, a conversation came about regarding posture. This was unplanned but gave opportunity to go deeper into the nuances of the swing and how it can become a corrective exercise.

By the end of the day, participants were happy, some had taken pages of notes, all had a better knowledge of how to train. This is how a workshop should be.

If you prefer to come in and get beasted, I run plenty of classes.

For workshop dates, please see the sidebar to the right.

Regards Dave

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