What is your name and age?
My name is Steven Gordon, 28 years old.
What are you working with/as?
I am a full time coach and gym owner.
Do you have a motto or any catchwords?
My motto depends on the situation, sometimes ”Tough times never last, but tough people do” which is a great quote. And a more recent one I heard which I love is ”Always stand guard to the doorway of your mind” which is extremely powerful in all time.
When did you start kettlebell training? Why and how did you start?
I started kettlebell training nearly 5 years ago now. At first it was just a form of training that was interesting but also good for my sport of muay thai. The sport side was 4 years ago when I was introduced to it, from that moment I was hooked.
Maybe more interesting, why did you continue doing it?
I continue to train in kettlebell sport because for me it is both a simple and complex journey to self improvement both physically and mentally. You learn so much at first about the body, understand certain movements and how to constantly strive for better quality movement.
Mentally it teaches you how to stay calm when you are tired and hurting. You have to be able to focus on your mind on different things at different stages of the set.
I’d say without kettlebell sport I would have no where near the understanding of the pyscological aspect of sport as I do now.
What kind of education do you have in coaching?
My education in coaching has taken the self study pathway really. I started with the usual personal trainer starting point, then went onto sports therapy. But since then I have become more involved in strenght and conditioning doing qualifications and workshops with top snc coaches in the UK as well as spending alot of time learning from various top russian coaches for kettlebell sport.
I believe this blend has helped me and athletes improved greatly.
As a coach, what is important to be like in order to get the best results from your athletes?
Being a coach is a difficult job and I wish I could say I was perfect at it but far from it. To get the most from the athletes for me first and foremost they have to believe in the process. This happens by getting results not just in the gym but also in general life.
It is a fine balance, you have to be hard but empathetic. You have to push but not push to the point the athlete breaks down both physically and mentally. You have to be open minded and listen to your athletes.
Take note of not just the training side but what happens outside the gym because ultimately this is where the real progress is made.
You also have to educate your athletes on why. Why do they do this certain exercise, why is training sometimes lighter, those kinds of things. This allows them to become not just independent but interdependent. Meaning they understand they can do it alone but together we will go further and we need each other to drive forward.
What are your own strenghts as a coach?
Id say my strengths as a coach are that I care. Some times too much but ultimately everything is about my athletes. I also make time to try and understand what my athletes are going through. If I can master this then I have the ability to remove all obstacles in their way to reach their goals. Maybe one day haha
What do you feel about single/double bells for women? What do you prefer as a coach?
For me I have gone back and forth with the whole doubles singles argument.
I prefer coaching doubles as the main reason people start kettlebell sport is to get fitter and healthier. Maybe a new challenge or whatever.
So with this in mind I am looking to build balanced strength throughout the body, many people who come to my gym have sedentary jobs which means bad posture and tightness. With doubles we have building a good solid base whether it be lifting 2 4kg bells or 2 8kg, no matter what it is they have to have good allignment and posture to progress with 2 bells. This for me eliminates compensatory moves that can occur with single bells, but ultimately it comes down to what the athlete enjoys.
You can only offer advise you can’t force people to take it. If that were the case I am sure all kettlebell sport coaches would have more students haha
How do you think the future will look like for the sport (GS)? How do you think it will be for you or your athletes?
The future of kettlebell sport wow thats tough. Recent championships has seen it grow in the number of participants which is great. As long as this continues then we have got great times a head. I think if the sport continues to grow it has got to do so in unity. Work together as one. I will leave that one there haha
The future for my athletes and myself is great. It can’t be anything else or we wouldn’t try haha but seriously as long as my athletes have the fire in their bellies to push themselves for the best results possible that is all I can wish for.
Have you entered any competitions? Do you want to share your results?
This year I have a competition a few weeks (6th march) where myself and my athletes will be aiming for qualification for team england. At the last world championships I did a pb of 48 so at my next competition if i can do 49 then that is an improvement 🙂
What/which are or were your personal goals in training? (long-term/short-term?)
My personal goals in training are short term to continue my pursuit of just getting better. Long term 80 reps its that simple.
What/which are your goals for your athletes? (long-term/short-term?)
My athletes goals vary widely. Some want MS, some want CMS and some want to just be happy not keep improving on the platform. Specific goals change depending on what is happening outside of the gym. We can only focus on what we can control and sometimes life can be difficult so when this happens we have to adapt in training.
Which discipline do you like the most and why is that?
The discipline I like the most is longcycle, why? Because I just like how it feels, really nothing special just feels good for my body and my training 🙂
What do you think is the most challenging in training?
The most challenging depends on what you find challenging. Techniquely snatch is the most challenging, physically longcycle and both techniquely and physically is jerk. I admire all biathlon lifters as these guys are true all round athletes.
Do you have any training tips to share?
Tips for training, how long we got haha. The few that are probably the most important, do it consistently, strive to become the most efficient lifter you can be and enjoy it. The biggest difference I have found when it comes to training is really take time to strengthen the core and improve trunk stability. I have really spent time working on this and I can notice a big difference in not only me but my athletes as well btw corework doesnt just mean planks and sit ups 😉
Do you have any funny anecdotes from competition or training that you would like to share?
European championships St Petersburg 2014. I was staying at Eurofitness gym, sleeping on a massage bed that no wider than I am.
Anyway, I was at an IUKL meeting the night before I lifted and all my stuff was still at eurofitness on the otherside of St Petersburg. Sergey Rachinsky told Sergei Merkulin to bring it across for me as I had no time to go there and back before I lifted. Problem was Merkulin forget to get my stuff!
So here I am at the venue, no lifting gear no nothing. Sergey found me some shorts, I borrowed a belt from BJ Bliffert from America, Lifting shoes from Igor Sporalic from croatia and Sergey gave me another tshirt. So think of the worst case scenario before a big competition and that was it but thankfully the kettlebell sport community is awesome and my friends from around the world came together and helped me out!
Moral of the story, take your lifting gear EVERYWHERE with you haha
Who (or what) inspires you?
Inspiration comes from lots a different people, my athletes inspire me a lot because just get on with.
In terms of specific lifters Id say along side the greats Annasenko, Vasilev, Densiov, Merkulin, Belyaev, Rachinksy the list goes on but for me my kettlebell brother Nils Lundgren from Norway is the biggest inspiration. A humble guy who leaves everything on the platform and pushes the boundaries to the limit.
Which exercise is your favourite?
Favourite non kettlebell exercise is the front squat. For me it just has some many benefits and you know you are working when doing them. The body just links up so well in a front squat. Being able to stay tall and transfer that power from your legs into the bar is an awesome feeling.
Have you got any exercises that you hate doing, or that your athletes hates doing? Which one and why is that?
I wouldnt say their is any one exercise that I truly hate doing. Stir the pot is an exercise where I can annoyed as its so simple but so hard haha. One thing that makes my athletes heads drop is when they see Antons pancake circuit in the session as that is just hard haha
Is there ever anything that makes you not prioritate trainingday?
Their isnt many things that stop me training really. If I have to do it at midnight then so be it. I see it as a necessity to train. The only time I haven’t trained is when my body has ruled my head and just said stop.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not ”kettlebelling” or coaching?
Family time! 100% spending time with my family is my favourite thing to do. Playing games with my daughter, watching films with my girlfriend or having a meal with my parents. The simple things in life are always the best 🙂
Steven is a very talented coach and athlete att TU Nova fitness in UK. We are very grateful to get to publish this interview with him and hopefully you will get inspired by his words. We wish Steven all the luck in the future. Check here to watch a video of him.