Building a Youth Program in America

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Building a Youth Program in America


The Mash Elite Weightlifting Program is about to undergo major changes. We fill that we have done a great job at building a Junior and Senior Program. However we still want to make both of those programs better. We are working on completing possibly two University Programs, which will attract the awesome Juniors from around the country.

We are also building stipend programs, profit sharing systems, and recovery programs. Our goal is to eventually provide a program better than the Olympic Training Center, so that we can recruit and build athletes that are viable threats to medal at International competitions. Really I just love the sport, and I want to see it grow.

If we build a program better than the OTC, then maybe the major powers of USA Weightlifting can take from it. Then we will have influenced the entire sport for the better. With today’s world of Social Media and the awareness created by CrossFit, we finally have enough influence to attract companies and individuals to invest. We can now use the free market economy in the US to form a great program, and we simply want to be that catalyst.

When you form University Programs, stipend programs, and profit sharing systems, you now have a tool to attract the youth of America. If you ask any major high school football player about their future plans, about 80% are going to say that they want to play college football. They have hope of a future in the sport, and that hope drives them to be the absolute best that they can be. The competition and drive formed by the hope of a future in the sport is the main reason that America is dominant world wide in our big money sports like basketball, American football, and baseball.

I love coaching youth. My main goal this year is to rebuild the youth program at Mash Elite. My main focus has been on my Junior and Senior teams, so my youth program is down to three really good athletes. It’s time to build an unbeatable youth team to match my older teams.


Most coaches believe that the most important aspects of a good coach are their knowledge of coaching. I agree that knowledge referring to programming, coaching technique, and having a good eye to spot mistakes is important. However, I have met several great coaches with all of the prior mentioned abilities, and yet they only have one or two athletes.

They are missing the boat. If you want to be a successful weightlifting coach, you have to be able to recruit and attract new athletes. You also have to be able to keep them. This is where you have to do a personality check on yourself. The key is to be honest. You might want to ask multiple friends or family what kind of personality that you have. You could even take a personality test. There are several online that you can buy.

If people are telling you that you are grumpy, dry, and/or boring, then you need to straighten up. I believe that people can change. I know that I have changed 100% from a selfish athlete to a guy that loves his athletes and wants them to succeed. Guys and gals, if people don’t want to be around you, then you will never build a successful program.

You also need to ask yourself why you are in coaching. Are you in this to make yourself look good or to be a famous coach? If so, you are in it for the wrong reasons. I coach because I love my athletes. I want to be a part of their development as an athlete and person. I want to see them do well, but that has nothing to do with my identity. I simply want to help them reach their goals like I did in my athletic career.

Now if you are a coach for the right reasons and with the right personality, how do you grow your youth program? This is a question that I have been asking myself. Some of you might have a core group that could help with word of mouth. Most of my athletes moved from somewhere far away to train with me, so they don’t have local roots. It’s like starting at square one, and that’s exciting to me.

Here are my ideas to grow the program:

1. Free Clinics– I will invite members from the local CrossFits to learn more about the sport of Olympic weightlifting. The clinics will be designed to create awareness in the community, and I will show them the programs that I have been working on. The goal is to spark interest in the parents to let their children try it out.

2. Target Marketing with Facebook and Instagram– Facebook and Instagram allows you to target geographical areas, ages, and interests, so I will boost posts explaining our program and the sport. I will also create ads inviting the local people to our free clinics.

3. We are using local media outlets to publish articles about our program and its accomplishments. This will also create awareness. Most of us assume that everyone in our local areas simply know about our programs. That isn’t close to true. I have one of the most successful teams in the country, and there are plenty of local people that don’t know about me.

It’s all awareness. CrossFit has already introduced more people to weightlifting. Now we have to create awareness of our program, and educate folks on our intentions. My hope is that the programs we are building will attract athletes and their parents.

Weightlifting in America is changing right before our eyes. I want to help pioneer this change. I want to be a part of the growth, and I want to help provide these athletes with a real future. Finally, I want to see athletes in America winning some dang medals. It all starts with attracting the youth in the country. Let’s do that together! Next time I will talk about specific training protocols for youth.

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