CrossFit Protocol in Decatur, AL is quickly becoming a home away from home. The people are friendly and welcoming. Life is a little simpler in the deep south, and Drew and I love it. However, don’t mistake “simple life” for “simple mind”. In my experience, the people in Decatur are innovative, and they are constantly in search for knowledge. Alex Viada and I are working with the owner of CrossFit Protocol, Scott Shirley on a new product that might just change the life of many coaches throughout the US.
In this article, Adam Hill, one of the fine coaches at Protocol, gives you his insight on building a new weightlifting team. This guy has spent quality time with me learning the ins and outs of being a top weightlifting coach. He’s building some solid lifters in Alabama, and I look forward to working with their program for years to come. Give this short article a read and you will find some cool nuggets that apply to maybe more than just weightlifting.
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4 Tips for New Weightlifting Coaches
As a short introduction, I earned my CrossFit Level 1 in February of 2014 and was instantly drawn to the Olympic lifts. Despite the fact that I have a fused right ankle, I loved performing the drill and lifts. However, I quickly realized that my true gift might be in coaching the lifts. For over a year I have been actively pursuing as much knowledge as possible about the Olympic lifts. Over the course of the year I have coached my first meet, coached a qualifier for the 2015 American Open, and coached that athlete to a 25 overall finish at the 2015 American Open. While I still consider myself extremely new to coaching weightlifting, I have taken note of some very important lessons that I would like to share. I truly believe if you do these things you will continue to grow not only as a person but also as a better coach for your athletes. In order of importance:
4. Do whatever it takes.
I truly believe that once you have decided that you want to pursue weightlifting coaching you have to do whatever it takes. This includes recruiting athletes to lift, making time for your athletes’ questions, supporting athletes in any way possible, watching videos, and most importantly seeking out those with more knowledge than you. It is vitally important that you are committed to your athletes and are willing to show them the support that they need. Whatever it takes also requires you, as the coach, to admit when you don’t know something and seek out answer for your athlete. Never make up an answer because you can’t admit that you don’t know. Find someone you trust to ask. If you are truly committed, your athletes will feel that and perform better.
3. Find support:
Sometimes coaching weightlifting can seem like a secret fraternity that you have to pledge into and no one wants to help. They want to mock new coaches that haven’t “put in their time.” If those are the people you are looking up to, find someone else, and quick. I have been overwhelmed at the help that I’ve received over the last six months. All of the coaches who have helped me have an abundance mindset and want to see weightlifting grow to unprecedented levels. They want to see America as the best and are willing to help new coaches. Now, finding support isn’t an overnight process. However, reaching out to a fellow coach with more experience than you will make you a better coach. I have found that most are willing to help. If someone says no, then move on to someone else. Eventually you will find someone.
2. Make a pilgrimage:
If you aren’t lucky enough to be surrounded by top-level lifters then you need to get your lifters around the best you can find. Sometimes this requires a field trip and many miles. However, if you surround your lifters with better lifters they will not gain knowledge from other lifters but they will raise their performance level. As a coach, pay attention to how the coaches coach their athletes, how they support their athletes, and how they love their athletes.
1. Listen. Listen. Write. Think. Then ask your questions.
Listen to those who have coached longer than you, or those who are mentoring you. When they speak, listen. Write down everything they say. Think about what they’ve told you, things that you should try with your athletes. Then ask a question. As a coach, one of the hardest things for you to deal with is when someone asks for advice; you begin to advise, only for that person to interrupt you with their own answer.
If you are seeking to become a better coach it is imperative that you listen to the best. Surround yourself with the best support system and most importantly, listen. Really try to understand before you question what they are expressing to you. Trust that they know more than you and are trying to help you be a better coach. In short, don’t be that guy that no one wants to deal with because you question every answer they give you. Just listen for a while and try to learn as much as you can.
Adam is also the owner of Fearless Lifting. Check him out at:
or on Instagram @fearlesslifting