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Are There any Certainties in Weightlifting?
Most of you know that I am in Guatemala City, Guatemala coaching Team USA at the Youth Pan Ams. The weather is absolutely perfect. It has been about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, slight breeze, and partly cloudy skies. The hotel is nice, and the food is good.
This U.S. Delegation is the biggest one that I have been a part of with 43 people. I have two assistant coaches and several other personal coaches. I love being around the other coaches. I like to observe the different styles and cues. I like to ask them about programming. I like to watch them taper. I love to notice how very different we all are.
The question is: who’s right? I am not sure. If I had to give an answer, I would say that maybe all of us. Obviously everyone on this trip is an exceptional athlete, or they wouldn’t have made an International Team.
That causes me to wonder are there any certainties at all in weightlifting? I think there are a few. I think that the athletes have to buy in to whatever the coach is saying. I think that the atmosphere has to be one of excellence. I believe that the technique must match the individual.
Preferably the coach would know how to alter the athlete’s technique based on their individual build and strengths. If you can do that, then I believe that you can be a great coach. Some coaches try to force the athlete to fit one certain technique. Every once in a while they will get lucky and find an athlete to fit a specific technique. However I believe that they will lose several great athletes because they don’t understand biomechanics as they relate to the individual.
I would recommend that coaches have the basic understanding of physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, and biomechanics. If you understand these basic sciences, then you can better program for the individual. If you want to be a great coach, you will understand the basics of nutrition and sports psychology.
If you want to be an International Coach, you have to study this sport and all of its intricacies. That’s where I am right now. I feel really blessed to be around Coach Don McCauley on a daily basis. My athletes’ performances have allowed be to be chosen to these International Team, which has allowed me to pick the brains of people like Coach Dennis Snethen and Coach Ray Jones. These guys have been awesome with mentoring me through this whole process.
I would warn all of you about making Universal cues for all athletes. “Head through”, “head straight”, “heels”, “butt down”, “butt up”, or anything else. Some of these work, and some of these don’t. It will always depend on the athlete. You should always be learning and never be satisfied with the amount of knowledge that you possess.
Coaching is a lifelong process. It’s easy to slip into a funk of believing that you’ve “got it”. You don’t! No one has ever got it. There will always be more to learn. You should always have a white belt mentality. These trips always remind me that my white belt is barely dirty. The quest continues!