This past weekend, we had a blast talking and educating folks at the Official OCT Competition in Costa Mesa. The venue was chalk full of elite athletes and eager fans. We even had fun giving away Pinky UP shirts to a few brave men and women that took on our scaled down strongman keg event.
During our time there, we were fortunate enough to step away from the booth for a moment to listen to a presentation from David Spitz of world renown, Cal Strength. David spoke while two of his athletes clean and jerked and snatched in the background for the crowd.
Amongst the incredible breadth of topics David covered was the idea of strategy for American lifters to be successful. This was predicated by a story of his journey to Bulgaria to learn and train with some of the world’s best, only to have his implementation of their methods on American lifters fail miserably.
Coach Spitz offered that he had to tap into the motivation systems we all have in place. The same motivation systems that encourage people to climb Mount Everest and sign up for a marathon are the same motivation systems that encourage men and women to clean and jerk and snatch heavy weights.
His focus at Cal Strength is a mainly centered on what he called ‘skill acquisition.’ Though strength training is a part of the work they do with their lifters, skill acquisition trumps all. He attributes training motor patterns at and above 85%, using partial range of motion efforts, complexes with specific tempos and intentions as their main ways of developing skill.
Coaches and athletes, is skill acquisition a primary focus of your training programs or does strength take the front seat? Why?