Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Representing here and abroad

Our athletes are now tapering for the National Competition at Jad Marinovic’s Kettlebell Athletica gym in Melbourne on December 1st. It is an appropriate time to pause and consider the journey they have made thusfar ; as I have mentioned before stepping up to the platform is one thing ; in reality this is just the icing on the cake of months of dedicated training.

We are not professional athletes.  It is often a struggle to maintain focus , schedule effective training sessions and manage various niggles which result from competitive preparation efforts. The slings and arrows of erratic job rostering , travel , personal and family illness , family commitments and the like are problems we all face – and indeed are our constant life companions. Whilst the bootcampers love to say “drink a cup of cement and harden up!” the whole process should be embraced but not unduly suffered.

Sport is after all a pursuit of health , albeit in a competitive guise. Participation in training and competing are what defines the educative process , and are as important as winning or setting records. For in our competitions there is no money . Just glory – and respective from peers. Privateer racing driver Alain de Cadenet made a career based on this philosophy and punched well beyond his weight against well prepared and highly financed teams.

Thus far , Australia has punched above its weight in international GS competitions. On a per capita basis and given our geographical remoteness we have achieved much in a relatively short time. Our international results are on record here (male only at this stage, female to follow very soon) . I would like to congratulate on behalf of all members this month’s efforts of David Tabain (32kg KB , 1st place with 81 jerks + 139 snatches) and his protégé Josh Dean  16kg KB , 1st place with 134 jerks and 196 snatches at the IKFF nationals in Detroit USA. These boys have made the sacrifices , put more than a fair bit of money and effort into reaching the venue and certainly brought home the bacon.

Time flies! Just over a year ago Edward Perrett and Roger Saheli were in Ventspils Latvia competing strongly in the IUKL competition . Both returned , further invigorated for the sport.

Collectively we can feel very proud of these GSAA journeymen. They certainly understand the bigger picture as far as establishing GS an as official sport in our country.  Hopefully you will all stick to the task and dare to dream as David and Josh have done. Whether you are glued to a desk all day , spend your week cajoling clients in a gym,  dig holes in the road for a crust or run around after small children – all roads lead to Rome. The common pathway is focus and dedication.

To those athletes who through unforeseen social circumstance or injury have driven off their road to the competition, know that what got you on that road in the first place will pull you out of the ditch! We look forward to your continuing contributions in 2013 and beyond.

To those who are about to compete , stay focussed and don’t be tempted to overtrain now. The work has been done and unlike exams , cramming will not achieve very much. My best advice is to take stock of all niggles , get some massage work and maximise mobility. Stay relaxed as possible , eat well and get plenty of sleep. Your rewards await! Medals for 1st , 2nd, 3rd place but most importantly , the reward of strutting your stuff in company of colleagues! 

Paul Tucker

Monday, 19 November 2012

General update

In 2012 GSAA has adopted a wait and see approach to the evolution of competitive lifting. In late 2011 the committee voted to adopt the new IKSFA ranking system . In the latter half of 2012,  the full rules and regulations of competitions conducted under this banner were released.

We believe these ranks and rules provide a robust framework for advancement of our sport in Australia. The adoption of multiple levels of achievement allow a novice to sample the sport whilst acquiring necessary skills to progress up the ladder. Some natural ability helps , but fundamentally the diligent hard working athlete can achieve great success. Not everyone can be , or indeed has the personal circumstances that allow performance at the elite (aka professional)  level. But as with other individual sports , it is now clear how we can assess our progress and compare our performances to our particular demographic.

Of course , as with other lifting sports and indeed sports such as competitive martial arts , there are different organisations with differing rules of engagement. Competition between organisations is healthy , and gives an athlete choice. Although one may hope for a common “political endpoint” , the reality is that organisations have to market and distinguish themselves .Thus various technical points may attract or detract athletes of different nature.

Since its inception , GSAA has aligned itself with the IUKL stance on promoting KB sport to the highest level. The ultimate prize is a spot at a future Olympics. Clearly at such an event , there will be one set of rules . Until then , we will be subject to ongoing changes in rules and ranks as the sport evolves around the world.

We should embrace these changes as being healthy for the sport. As noted there is plenty of choice for an athlete whether he or she wishes to compete regionally, nationally or internationally.

Growing the strongest Australian athletes should be one of several goals ; these high achievers inspire others across all ages to have a go and be their best. In many sports , egotistical behaviour can spoil the game for others. Kettlebell sport does have a habit of knocking egos flat. It is however important to water one’s own ego to a point of confidence in one’s own ability. And indeed be proud to demonstrate that to colleagues in the sport and the wider audience.

Kettlebell sport can intimidating , but if realistic time schedules and ranking schedules  are adopted it is a given that the sportsperson will acquire remarkable physical and mental qualities. And of course , there is the excitement that accompanies a relatively new activity and sport , and the feeling that one is playing a part in history.

To date we  have been buoyed with the level of support for our Association and its ideals of encouraging a challenging but healthly sustainable sport for anyone with a bit of drive. A steady as she goes approach ensures we can come to terms with the sport’s global evolution. Make no mistake , this sport is still very much in a building stage and the only way to ensure continued growth is to foster friendly participation according to , and striving towards high ideals.

Nobody is perfect , everyone is busy and the GSAA system remains volunteer driven and run. Even if and when significant sponsorship arrives , those with a administrative interest will have their work cut out. As will those strong people who choose to compete in this satisfying , frustrating yet ultimately hugely rewarding sport!

As always , best of luck with current and future plans!
Cheers , Paul Tucker