Make Lifts! The Donny Shankle method.

I once heard Donny Shankle say “there are two ways to beat your opponent. Lift more than them, or make more lifts than them.”


This Friday was a long day. I had max deadlifted just 2 days prior and hours of coaching on my feet had made my lower back really tight and sore. I was excited to make it to practice hoping some SMR would loosen things up. It didn’t every pull was painful. Being with a team helps to block out that pain and push you do things you normally wouldn’t. I took about 4 attempts to get to 110 Snatch. Not my usual progression. After missing 110 and really not feeling it, I decided 110 was a good place to start my Clean and Jerks. OOPS. I missed 110 Clean on my first try. Just a silly mental thing. I came back and hit it. I happened to be sharing a platform with Rob Blackwell who was on his way to 160 so a natural progression for him was 130 next. Again, not a jump I would usually take. 130 is typically close to a competition opener for me. Not wise to take 3 lifts to get to your opener, but my back hurt, and it was on the bar. I pretty much smoked it! Made me feel good. I have hit 130 now the last 5 or so times I have attempted it, making me feel very comfortable with it being an opener. 4 days prior I had PRd with a 137 CNJ. My previous comp best was 133 so I had been on a roll. Rob’s next lift was at 140 so it went for me as well. I wanted to lift as much as I could with the fewest attempts as possible. My back was KILLING me. 140 went up and felt easy. A huge relief. After watching the video I saw how incredibly ugly my technique was, as was my 137 a few days prior. But I made the lift nonetheless. It actually encouraged me to know that even with making some mistakes 140 is a makeable lift. Finally getting stronger. My speed and efficiency  has always been what saves me, never my strength.


Here’s the point. I coach a lot of lifters that get so caught up in their heads about the technique of the lifts. Engraining proper positions is important, but the most important feeling to engrain is a MADE LIFT. We need to get used to the feeling of being under bars. We need to get good at creating a positive reward system in our brain. If we are always telling ourselves no, then we will never develop that system.


Have fun, work on getting better. Refine your technique and MAKE LIFTS! There’s no better feeling.

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