The best aspect of traveling to teach Kettlebell Sport workshops is seeing the growth of the sport up close. Last October, I taught a workshop in Georgia that was attended by 7 people. I remember Jenn Casey – organizer of the workshop and founder of Georgia Kettlebell Sport – expressing a bit of frustration about the lack of interest in Kettlebell Sport in the area and how she was not sure there would ever be enough participants to host an actual kettlebell competition.
A lot can change in 9 months…
GKS hosted their first kettlebell competition
When I returned to Georgia two weeks ago, GKS hosted their first IKLF BOLT competition. There were close to 20 lifters, including a few who flew in or drove several to attend. The atmosphere was casual, energetic, friendly, and fun. The event was hosted at a gym that has a CrossFit program, and sparked interest in several CrossFit lifters who either participated in or watched the competition. Jenn has a great kids program going at her CrossFit gym, and several of them got on the platform with some impressive technique!
BOLT competition events and my results
The events offered at the competition were double snatch, double jerk, double long cycle, single snatch, single jerk, and single long cycle. With the BOLT format, the organizers get to choose whether to have 5 minute events, 10 minute events, or a mix of the two. Since this was GKS’s first BOLT competition and there were many beginners participating, they opted for all 5 minute events. I had fun competing in 2x18kg Jerk (75 reps), 2x16kg Long Cycle (62 reps), and 18kg Snatch (118 reps).
I loved having kids at my workshop
My workshop the next day was attended by 10 kettlebell lovers, and I had a great time working with everyone. It was my first time having a handful of kids in my workshop, which was super fun (if you know me, you know I absolutely love kids… and encouraging them to be athletic and strong!).
Why BOLT is great for growing Kettlebell Sport
The BOLT competitions are a great way to get newcomers into Kettlebell Sport. No matter what style you use to lift kettlebells – hardstyle, sport, or anything in between – anyone can participate if they know the basic technique for clean and jerk, jerk, and snatch. Being able to put the bell down and/or switch hands at any time throughout the set makes the sport less intimidating to beginners. Often it’s that initial fear about a 10-minute set or learning a new style of kettlebell lifting that stops people from giving the competitions a try. Once people have competed at several BOLT competitions, however, they usually progress to Girevoy Sport as a natural next step.
I’m glad I was able to play a role in making Kettlebell Sport history in Georgia at the first BOLT competition. I’m very proud of Jenn and her kettlebell partner in crime Lisa Frank for being great leaders for the sport and working tirelessly (often a thankless job) to grow kettlebells in the U.S. THANK YOU ladies and keep on keeping on!!
If you’re in Georgia and want to learn more about Kettlebell Sport, please contact Jenn Casey through the GKS website.
Need help building a community of kettlebell lifters in your area? Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see how I can help.