Written by Matt Vincent
Got out today and took some throws. I am always stoked to spend a Sunday doing some throwing and training with some buddies. Lucais MacKay came into town with one of his athletes Dennis Aliotta. Great time training with these dudes. Something about a group of throwers enjoying the field together, talking about training, and pushing each other is something I have always enjoyed. Very little coaching or pointers between all of us. Just out there enjoying training. No one has a chip on their shoulder or anything to prove, really chill.
Lucais to me is the quintessential thrower. Very west coast guy, laid back and fun loving. Lucais dad is a very well know throws coach on the west coast. We spoke about different philosophies about training and coaching that we had all experienced. The lessons that both Lucais and Dennis had picked up from coach Mac. Lucais said the one thing he is the most proud of is his dad as far as throwing went taught “taught him how to fish”. What this means for a thrower is no different for any strength athlete. It is the idea of building the proper appreciation for the craft that you decide to take part of. I am a thrower and strength athlete. I enjoy all of it and take pride in my craft. I have spent 18 years mastering it working as an apprentice with various teachers and mentors. I have taken mentor-ship from lots of different athletes and coaches. But I have as well “learned to fish”. I can figure out all of it on my own. It is not about chasing the new flash in the pan program for 5 weeks and not getting why it didn’t work. It is about doing the right things, and knowing why you are doing them. Knowing how to train through whatever situation shows itself to you. Knowing what your skills and personal weaknesses are and how to address each of them. Figuring out when to push yourself and when to back off. How to train through and around your injuries.
Training Philosophy is something I love talking about. I care very little about what the sets and reps that you are doing. It is about the why and motivation about what you are doing is what I love to find out. I have no desires to become a coach or rich off of strength industry. I know that the more however I have gotten involved with writing and meeting people the more I have learned. Getting to share some of the why I do the things I do with another athlete is always a fun time. I especially like to try and impart some of that on younger kids coming up. I refuse to give all the answers I want people to have to think about why I am doing this or that. Learn from their own mistakes. Listen to their bodies.
There is only a handful of information that works for everyone. The only thing that I have found true for 100% of strength athletes is that if you are benching, deadlifting, squatting, pressing, snatching, and cleaning regularly and pushing yourself either reps or weight you will get stronger. The stronger you get the more this has to be fine tuned. This is where your sport specific training comes in. But before any of that stuff or drills is going to really work for you, you need the base and GPP built up to know it can work off of the basic stuff. The secret to all of it is that there is not a secret. It is about the time you invest. You will not be great at anything until you have invested 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears into it.
The years of learning your craft and trade should be appreciated. Talk to those who know more but don’t look to be hand fed answers. Also understand how to filter the information to what applies to you. Also don’t just read about it or watch videos. Attend seminars or travel and train with people willing to show you the path. Until you are at the top level in your sport the basics are going to get you what you need. The fine tuning is about maximizing the potential you have created by the years of work.
Take some time and figure out the things that have always worked for you in your training. These 3 to 5 items are going to be your manifesto. These are the ideas that you are never allowed to forget or abandon. They will always work and you can always come back to these basic ideas to build off of. For me these are (addressing lifting): 1. Squat, deadlift, bench, press, snatch and clean once a week. 2. Do some conditioning 3 times a week. Being a better athlete and in better shape never hurt anyone’s performance. 3. Don’t be a piece of shit. This last one is a bit vague but it is the rule I live by most. For example I think everything is ok in moderation, including moderation sometime you have to be a savage. However, if what I am doing or want to do makes me a piece of shit don’t do it. I like drinking and occasionally like having a drink or 2 (or even 10), but if I drink everyday and miss training and my other responsibilities suffer. That makes me a piece of shit. Applied to lifting it works like this. So today I am tired and I don’t want to do my warm-up or hit 5 sets at rx’d. So I will skip it that day and just get the work done. Now doing this every time I train makes me a piece of shit, so don’t do it. Thinking about diet, I fucking love cheeseburgers and occasionally I am going to drive a handful of them right into me. But if I did this every day I become a fat piece of shit. Figure out when I need the mental break by letting loose and give that to myself, then get back on top of it and do the work.
It is about doing the work. Learn and master your trade. Learn to fish and you can never go hungry. It is not about the next meet or the bigger total master what it is you are doing. Care about mastering all of it, everything from training, programming, comp prep, diet, recovery, and the mental side. Do this and then you are set. With that said no one knows all of it. Learn and listen to those around you. Apply what works for you and toss the rest. Don’t let one bad piece of info destroy the other 9 great tips.Matt Vincent is a top Professional Highland Games World Champion. Matt has spent the last 15 years strength training with a focus on functional strength for athletics. Track and Field for LSU as a shotput, discus, and hammer thrower, two top 3 finishes in SEC and two top 5 Regional finishes in Discus. In the last 6 years he as traveled all over country and trained with many of the top coaches and athletes in various fields form Weightlifting, Strongman, Powerlifting (both Geared and Raw) and now focus on Highland Games. Matt also has competed in all of these different disciplines to make sure he has a 1st hand knowledge of training and competing. With success as a top AM Strongman qualified for nationals 3 times. Powerlifting numbers of (875-700-700 in APF @275) and (675-425-665 @ 275 RAW). Weightlifting numbers of (319 Snatch and 400 Clean and Jerk @ 105+). Highland Games he won 3 AM World Championships and 1 Professional World Championship as my first year Pro. Matt is also the Author of Best Selling Highland Games Training Manual for Developing Max Strength and Power: Training LAB. Website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter