Thoughts on the USAW Program Discontinued from OTC

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Thoughts on USAW Program Discontinued from OTC

Yesterday we all heard the news that the USA Weightlifting Program has been discontinued at the Olympic Training Center. There are a couple of ways to look at this. Of course we can all cry the blues, sit around crying, and proclaim that weightlifting is in trouble. Not me!

I look at this as a time for all of us to unite around the country. Weightlifting is more popular than ever before. It’s time that we used the momentum to strengthen the sport. We are lead by a progressive thinker, CEO Phil Andrews, and I believe that he will turn this dilemma into a very positive thing.


Here is why I believe that this is a good thing. There have always been regional programs that have turned out as good or better athletes than the program at the OTC like Catalyst, Cal Strength, LSU Shreveport, former MDUSA, and Team Mash Elite. The advantage that regional programs have is that we are embedded within the communities. We have access to recruit the athletes that will make up the future and present.

If we unite, there are many things that we can come together on:

• Identifying potential elite athletes
• A recruiting program that we can all implement
• Stronger University Programs to entice future athletes
• A well thought out plan to groom these athletes (GPP, Technique Development, etc)
• Camps, clinics, and certifications at these regional sites to create awareness, increase funds to the governing body, and increase funds to the regional site.

It’s time for coaches in America to put aside selfish desires, and look at this issue as a nationwide concern. Let’s come together to build the best program ever. Since when does Americans need a central governing body to make things better? The last I checked, the only things good in America have come from the dreams and hard work of the people. Let’s quit looking for USAW to do all the work for us. Instead let’s remember that we are USAW.

Instead of dwelling on what we have lost, let’s talk about what we have. Thanks to CrossFit, there is more awareness for our sport than ever in America. Let’s look at all the things that we have going for us:

1. The women’s team is the best that it has been in a long time. The pool of talent is deeper than it has ever been.

2. The men’s team is also better than it’s been in a while. We just had a few things go wrong for us at the World Championships or we would have had plenty of Olympic spots.

2. Drug testing is getting better. Hopefully this will deter more and more countries from trying to cheat. The closer that we get to an even playing field will mean a better chance for us to medal at the International contests.

3. People want to learn more about the sport. CrossFitters and General Fitness people know the benefits of weightlifting, and they want to learn more about the sport. This is a great opportunity to help the budget by putting on clinics. It’s also a great opportunity to increase awareness by putting on some Free mini-clinics. Remember these are the parents of potential athletes. They are also teachers, coaches, and board members that can come to learn the beauty, athleticism, and safety of our beloved sport.

4. Strength and Conditioning Coaches- Strength and Conditioning Coaches are more aware than ever about the benefits of Olympic Weightlifting. They know that the snatch and clean & jerk are second to none when it comes to power production, mobility, speed, kinesthetic awareness, and balance. Now they realize that the better they can teach it will result in better results for the players.

Coach Joe Kenn, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Carolina Panthers, sets the example for all of us. He uses Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, highlands game, throwing, kettlebells, gymnastics, and any other discipline that might help him create a better football player, and that will give his guys a better chance of not getting hurt on the field.

Coach Kenn is an expert strength and conditioning coach. He is my go to coach. If I want to get better at coaching athletes, he’s the man I go to hands down. He is humble enough to seek out the experts from all the different disciplines that he prescribes to get better at teaching them. He comes to the Mash Compound every time that he’s home to learn more about the lifts from Coach McCauley and me. He goes to mobility experts to learn more about mobility. He is simply perfecting his craft, and it shows with his players. This creates an incredible amount of trust between him and his athletes. They know that his thirst for knowledge will exist until he dies.

These are the coaches that USAW could help. We could easily begin a relationship between our coaches and the strength and conditioning coaches of the pro, college, and high school levels in America. Once again this could create awareness, while being another source of funds for our program.

These strength coaches are the gatekeepers to thousands of great athletes. No one knows better than the strength coaches if an athlete is a little too short for the next level. Too short might mean no shot at the NFL or Division I, but it means a Gold Medal in weightlifting. It’s all about relationships and cooperation.

5. There are Regional Programs all throughout the country that are not only stocked with great coaches and equipment, but they are also popular to thousands of people. Cal Strength is no doubt the most popular team in America. They started the YouTube thing way before anyone else, and they have done a great job to keep that momentum. Catalyst has done more for the sport than anyone else for being a source of information. Who hasn’t used one of their free programs or checked out their massive amounts of free content.

Mash Elite is quickly building a reputation for some of the best young and upcoming talent in America. We are also a source of Free information. I modeled our business after Catalyst and Elite Fitness Systems. Our training videos are meant to be educational and motivational. We also have three International Coaches on our team.

These regional programs could easily be used to grow awareness, and to educate the country about the sport. These regional programs are exciting to watch, and they appeal to the younger generation. If USAW were to get involved with these programs, the word of weightlifting could be spread like wild fire.

I believe that the dismantling of the USAW program at the OTC is definitely sad for the existing athletes, but overall I would like to look at it as a good thing. I love this sport, so I will be an optimist to the death. If we will just unite the clans (Braveheart), we can do anything.

I believe that we are lead by the best leader in our history, CEO Phil Andrews. I have no doubt that he will turn this into something great. He is a progressive thinker, and I look for him to release a progressive plan in the very near future.

Until then, Team Mash Elite still needs the support of all of you. Our goal to improve the sport of Olympic weightlifting is having progress already. However we still need your help in making our dream a reality. We are also very excited to watch our ‘youth at risk’ program scatter throughout America and the world. Here is a full report of the progress: “Team Mash Elite Update”

Here are the ways that you can help with this dream:

1. Become an affiliate– Our first affiliate ever was Undisputed Strength and Conditioning in Minneapolis, MN. Vinh, Jason, and the team up there is an extension of our team in North Carolina. They coach with us at National meets, and their athletes are a part of our National Teams. We are one big family. For more details about becoming an affiliate email

2. Become a Partner– for more information about that email me personally

3. Donate to the Team– thousands of you guys and gals read these article every day. If all of you donated $1-2 we would be in a much better situation. Click on the link below to donate:

Donate to Team Mash Elite

4. Come to the 3-day Mash Camp July 8th thru the 10th click the link below to find out more:

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5. Volunteer with fundraising, administration, or simply prayers. If you want to help, email us at:

We have big goals. We get it. We will definitely need all the help that we can get. This thing is bigger than three coaches. We need a team. A massive team! We are going to either do this once and for all, or stop talking about why America is terrible on the international scene. This is a chance for all of us to have a part in this.

Please share this with all of your friends!

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