An Old Forgotten Draft

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

The following post was drafted in April, yet I never posted it. The reason I’m posting it now is because I’m planning a mammoth article covering what I learned last year from coaching at Dundee University Boat Club as well as another fine year spent meandering on planet earth. If you don’t like physical endeavour or myself, then I have absolutely no idea why you are here. Thank you for the blog view/ego boost though.

I never finished this post.


We are what we repeatedly do.

I guess by that assessment I’m currently a lifter, a sleeper, an eater, a milk drinker (sorry Skyrim), a student, a coach and a lifter again. This year has proven to be nothing like I’d planned, yet it has provided the same gains along the way.

Through thick and thin, the plan was always to use this BMSc year to explore and excel in a sporting context, be it in lifting or coaching.

With regards to lifting, my knowledge within the concepts of the field has expanded as well as my performance on every lift I currently train. My last update mentioned new PRs coming in the bench press, which came just last week in the form of a 2-rep 100kg lift, a significant improvement on a previous 97.5kg 1RM and a testement to individual specific programme tailoring (and wonderful physiotherapists). Furthermore, the long-term goal of a 200kg Deadlift has now been surpassed, with the new distant goal of 227.5kg (~500lbs) taking its place.

Regarding coaching, every single session is a learning opportunity and I’m proud to have played a part in what has been a very good year for DUBC in both a competitive and personal front. We’ve had ups and downs, but the consistency has paid off – the real test comes in two weeks time where Scottish titles will be at stake. I have 100% faith we’re leaving with a shiny medal collection.

With regards to my course, to say I’ve dropped the ball is an understatement. To say I care at all would be…an overstatement? To cut a long story short, I’ve never been a fan of what a friend recently called “learning for the sake of learning” and it would appear that this course is drowning in repetitive tasks of little to no value. Sure, a First class honours would be a lovely ego stroke, but there’s only so many hours you can waste learning about whole body vibration and lab rats before the call of the gym becomes too loud to ignore. I have surrendered all interest in fantastic academic achievement this year, which would have broke my heart at the start of the year. However, I learned that sport academics is not where I’m destined to be. I’m a frontline man – you’ll find me in the weights room, end of story.

In the end, the goal of learning more about sports coaching that would help me along in my journey towards coaching excellence has been achieved, with my own lifting numbers and the substantial improvement of DUBC’s test scores to prove it.

The biggest lessons for me personally this year are simple:

1. You, the individual, are held accountable for your own actions – your actions have reactions.
2. Evidence is paramount

Point 1: In lifting and life, every single thing you do (or do not do) has a knock on effect. Take a “day off” as an example. First, let’s say that a “bad day” is a day when you sleep in, you’re late for work, you spill coffee on your shirt, there’s relentless traffic ahead, your boss is on your back, it rains all day and lunch is eaten at your desk amidst towers of paperwork. If you had two individuals who trained regularly, one who knew the benefits of exercise when the world was caving in and another who made a habit of taking a day off every time they had a bad day, who do you think improves the most a year from now? Those individual lapses in motivation add up and effect long term progress. A bad day resulting in no training is just that, a day, but it adds up to weeks, which is why “just a day” can make a big difference. However, if you can take a bad day and use it to motivate yourself, you will come on leaps and bounds – that goes for any walk of life. Alas, life is going to suck sometimes, you don’t need to let it suck everything from you.

Point 2: “Why?” is the most important question you can ask. Every single successful change I’ve made to training and coaching this year has been down to sitting down and justifying to myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. If you keep persisting down that route like a curious child, you may well find that you reach a “why?” you have no answer for. I’ve found that going back to the drawing board this way has led to improvements in whichever field I’m applying the method to as well as a pleasent confidence boost.


That’s the point when I decided to finish this post “another day” and went to bed, forgetting about it for months.

I abandoned this blog, in a sense, because it suddenly seemed unimportant. Uni work was a never ending sphincter smashing of deadlines, coaching was pleasantly consuming, training was thoroughly exhausting (and constant) and my time was otherwise absorbed in things a little too personal for this blog. In the end, CommonStrength never died, but “it” was certainly busy. I guess I was practising what I’d preached about throwing yourself head first into your passion and was too busy in that place to bother posting about it. Further to my point, I had found another route for expression/reflection – the blog just wasn’t important any more. Lastly, when there is enough drama in the world, taking a step out of the lime light for a while can be good for you to an extent.

I read old posts on occasion and barely recognise the boy who typed them. Opinions change, people too, but it’s important to be changing in the right direction. I like to think this blog has been evidence of my own growth as a person over the last 18 months. I reckon everyone should blog or keep a diary of some kind, you’d be surprised what you can uncover about yourself you never really knew.

The planning of my next blog post is on my literal “To Do” list for tomorrow. Feel free to stay tuned.

Also, I should note that DUBC did in fact bring home the bacon at the Scottish University Championships and Scottish Championships – 4 golds, 2 silvers, 1 bronze and an Intermediate 2x 2nd place. Tremendous achievements on all fronts. I’ll cover this in detail in the next post.

Go train, folks!


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