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Becoming a Great Weightlifting Team in America and More
I began coaching weightlifters in 2012. At that time I was mainly coaching strength and conditioning for athletes of various sports. I started with 2 or 3 weightlifters and 150 strength and conditioning athletes. At the 2013 American Open I had two athletes. Earlier in the week FloElite released an article revealing the teams with the most athletes that qualified for Nationals and the individual coaches with the most athletes qualified. Here’s a link to that article:
As you can see, Team Mash Mafia is second only to East Coast Gold by one person. As a coach I had more people qualified for Nationals than any other coach in America. For that I am grateful to be among some of the people that have helped me along the way like Greg Everett and Sean Waxman. I am personally blown away by the results, but this article isn’t just about the accomplishments of Team Mash Mafia.
Here is what I want to get across in this article:
1. I want to encourage all of the new teams out there in America.
2. I want to give all of you some insight as to growing your team.
3. I want to give some insight on what to expect.
4. What does the FloElite Article mean?
5. What more needs to be done?
I know that there are a lot of coaches out there that are just starting out. Maybe you have 1 or 2 lifters qualified for Nationals or the American Open, and then again maybe you don’t have any. I remember the excitement along the way. I remember having no athletes qualified for the American Open in 2012. I remember the excitement of qualifying my first athletes. I felt like king of the world when I had two athletes in 2013.
I recommend that all of you enjoy the process. I wasn’t even a registered team in 2013. When my wife and I made the trip to the American Open in 2013, we were so excited. When we got to the venue, the coaches and the teams blew us away. I realized that we had a long ways to go, but I was determined to get us there. Fast forward just one year to the 2014 American Open, and I was coaching with MuscleDriver USA, and I had over 10 of my personal athletes. All together I was responsible for thirty athletes.
Things can change quickly. That’s what I want all of you to see. There are a few keys that are needed for growth to take place:
• Results! Your athletes have to see results for other athletes to be attracted to you. If you are not getting results for your athletes, I recommend putting some time into learning more about the sport and proper programming.
• Great atmosphere! This is huge. Our athletes have fun. The old school Bulgarian training hall is not the atmosphere that will attract American weightlifter. We play music, and we laugh a lot. This sport is fun, and the athletes should have fun training.
• A concerned coach! It is important that the athletes know that their coach is concerned about more things than just weightlifting. I care about my athletes, and they know it. I work my butt off to provide them with as much as possible, and I want them to be awesome well after weightlifting is over.
• Good conditions! I make sure that my athletes have proper equipment. Our bars spin and oscillate properly. Our training hall is air conditioned because I need optimal conditionals for my athletes, and I do everything that I can to provide those conditions
Today’s world has complete changed the look of sports. Social media is something that all of you coaches need to embrace. I embrace social media to provide the means to support my athletes. Young coaches have an advantage over older coaches in this category. You can get support with your team if people are drawn to them on social media.
The key is to be creative and use your imagination. I suggest that you become a source of education on social media by teaching people the movements and elements of weightlifting that you like most. If you like programming, them portray that expertise on social media. Coach Don McCauley loves technique, so we produce videos of him teaching the different aspects of the lifts.
Here’s the thing. It is not easy. We absorbed a lot of the athletes from MuscleDriver USA after the company filed for bankruptcy. Immediately this meant more expenses, and more athletes to deal with. It happened so quickly that I had to make quick decisions.
We became a non-profit with all things regarding the team in hopes of attracting donations from individuals and companies. This sounds great, but it has been a long road. We are just now starting to get that number climbing, but there is a lot to consider in the raising money category.
I suggest finding one person that is in charge of raising those funds. There are grants out there, but there is a lot of red tape and a lot to figure out. I have tried to do all of the fundraising to date, but now I am looking for someone else to take that over. I just can’t put in the time that is needed.
If all of the people that followed our team gave one dollar per month, our fundraising goals would be met. However getting that message out to our followers isn’t easy either. If we make one post, only a fraction of the followers see that post. It’s a message that we need to send on a regular basis.
Fundraising for our team is more than asking for money. We provide free material every single day in the form of articles like this one, podcasts, free workouts, and educational videos, and that’s not including the videos that we put out for entertainment. Our goal is to give away ten times more than we will ever ask for. Even our donations are met with something in return. This is the attitude that all of you should take when raising funds for your team.
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A team this size will also need a coach that can manage the athletes. Athletes need oversight, and that’s the job of the coach. Thank God that I have Don McCauley because he does a lot of that for the team. A coach also has to manage personalities on a constant basis. There is a culture that has to be formed, and all the athletes need to fit this culture.
It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change my life for the world. I simply want all of you to know how to get there, and then what to do once you get there. It’s the most rewarding career on earth. We get to help these athletes reach their goals, and we get to teach them about life all at the same time.
The FloElite article gives us an idea of where we stack up in America. It is cool to see the growth of all the teams in America. It’s awesome to see guys like my friend Spencer Arnold being at the top of the charts personally and with his team Power and Grace. Spencer is younger than me. I believe that he is around thirty years old, a husband, a father, and a Nationally ranked competitor himself. You don’t have to be 60-years-old to be a successful coach. You just have to know and understand the sport and care about your athletes.
Understanding where we rank in America is cool, but what about the rest of the world? How do we get all of these coaches to combine information and ideas to spark weightlifting in America into the next level? USAW has some good ideas, and it is up to us coaches to embrace our governing body with support and new ideas. Let’s be a part of the solution together.
I am not here to simply be the most popular American coach. Who cares? I am here to see USA Weightlifting become great. If that means giving another coach my ideas, then so be it. I could care less about my ranking in America. That was just a stepping stone to get some respect. Now I want to use that respect to insight change. We need a round table with all of the coaches on this list, and the other great coaches in America for a brainstorming session.
How do we get this brainstorming session? That’s a great question, but I am willing. I believe in Phil Andrews as a CEO. I believe that this is an idea that he might embrace. I am talking about a brainstorming session where these topics are discussed:
• Athlete personal development
• High school and collegiate programs
• Technique (to be discussed and not debated)
I hope that all of you will Please Share this article, and maybe it will spark some ideas and changes in American weightlifting.
*Please Share this article and comment with any questions.
Remember on September 17th-18th we will be hosting the Mash Barbell Picnic” on the Farm. Weightlifting Day 1 and Powerlifting Day 2, but more importantly hanging out together the entire weekend. Check it out below: