Monday Bacon: Practice Makes Perfect…but not really.


After a couple of weeks, it was nice to have a weekend at home. It was a bit of a bummer going into it knowing we wouldn’t be spending time with our west coast friends and family but home is home and it’s good. We DID; however; have a chance to spend some time with our Midwest throwing family down in Rockford thanks to Jason Clevenger dragging out his cabers; standards, and gear just so we can practice some key events we can’t do at home.

Mainly, Sheaf and Caber. For me, most Caber practices come at the Games. As in, you’re up, toss the Caber. It’s coming along, I still tend to rotate at the last second and don’t know why but it’ll come. At this point, I’m still finding confidence in the picks; adjusting the caber and trying to turn. AT practice, I may not even toss every one. Cuz that’s hard and it wears me down and chances are that I want to go practice something else tomorrow.

The Sheaf is another matter. The reps don’t seem to wear on me; they don’t hurt my shoulder, and they’re kinda fun. After a Sheaf-tastic session, I get more of the feeling like I’ve hit some light power cleans. A bit tired but can recover quickly after some good food and a good night’s rest. This past weekend, I had one thing I wanted to work on and that’s the “flick” or “block” at the end. As long as I stay relaxed, keep pushing up and get that nice flick, I do okay. Stealing my husband’s fork was uber helpful too. More on that later.

In general, when I throw or lift in a session, I want to work on one thing. When I get it down, I want to hit it consistently. For example, I’ve been working so hard since Iceland on my stones. More specifically, getting my hip turned while keeping my torso back for a good push. What I realized in Enumclaw after watching the Pro’s and the Elite womenz was even though I was getting my hip turned, I wasn’t pushing. I wasn’t practicing the right thing. Now, I turn and get a nice push which automatically gives me the reverse. AhhhhHaaaaa.

There are many other things that need to come together for a truly great stones throw, but I won’t worry about that today. Today I need to consistently get my legs involved and that will improve my numbers by a little. Because if I try to fix it all today, nothing gets fixed. I get frustrated; I tighten up, and nothing is accomplished. I don’t have time for “nothing” to be accomplished. I’m 48 and still feel that next year will be my breakout year after I get a whole off-season to finally practice the right things to impact my throwing.

This is also why the majority of the time I train or practice alone. When training with others, especially less experienced in the coaching realm, they want to fix EVERYTHING today. Which is why I love throwing with Jason and Dan Lucansky. Jason will ask what I’m working on that day. He knows I don’t want to be bogged down with every single cue on the planet. If I hit a good toss, I’ll try to repeat it. If there’s something helpful to that single issue, he’ll say it. If not, he won’t. Quite honestly, knowing when to shut the fuck up is a sign of a maturing coach.

I told him about my Enumclaw PR of 23′ so after Matt and I hung around 18′ to warm up we went to 20. My bag hit the bar at least 14 times and at one point, even sat up there before coming back down on the front side. About a 1/2 hour later, one thing Jason was talking to Matt about caught my ear. He talked about the 3-tine forks and their advantages. I suddenly remembered that my PR was on Big Daddy’s 3-tine fork. Huh. I walked over ,grabbed Matt’s fork and my bag, stepped out a bit and it sailed far over the 20′ bar. And that brings us to the “Jules just got a new fork and her hubby needs another one” part of the post. I guess while I was throwing, Jason asked Matt if he had named the fork. When he said he hadn’t, Jason says, ‘Well, it has a name now. It’s called “Hers.” ‘ Heeeheee.

True story.

Now, I will be the first to admit that there are many people out there who are able to practice multiple things and incorporate them all at once. Sure. They’re called Olympians and I’m not one of them. Nor are the people I work with. I don’t do well working with people who want fast results. This isn’t PF and this isn’t a 12 week program. Mastery takes years, talent, commitment, resources, and a whole lotta luck. If you want immediate results take up something else like Ironing or Vacuuming where you get the perfect crease or the perfect vacuum lines right away. Sport? Not so much.

It’s not just practice. It’s knowing WHAT to practice. What will get the biggest bang for your buck right NOW until you learn more? If you don’t know the answer to that question, find someone who does. Pay them well and be a good and patient student. Enjoy the ride. Cuz when they help get you there, you’ll all be better off for it.

I won’t be a Rock Star. I will be a legend.

Freddie Mercury

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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