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Senior Pan Ams 2017 Update 2:
Rooming with Coach John Broz
Yesterday was a great start to the week for Team USA. Our 48kg, Kathleen Winters and Alyssa Ritchey, girls kicked things off yesterday in a big way. Both girls went 5 for 6. Kathleen won Bronze in the Snatch and 4th overall. Alyssa won Silver in the Snatch and Bronze overall. Those are some big points to get us started. The main goal for this Pan Ams is to score points to qualify the most people for next year’s Pan American Games, which is the Pan American Associations Olympics. We are definitely set up to score some major points with this amazing team.
The training hall was quite the adventure yesterday. There was a typical Florida downpour yesterday, which was so forceful that it flooded the air-conditioned training hall tents. I waded ankle deep water to get to the training hall, so my shoes were soaked. So the question is was I upset by all of this?
No way! This is just typical Pan American shenanigans. I am use to it, and I have come to expect it. I thought the experience was quite raw. The platforms were dry as well as the equipment, so we were able to train with rain pounding the tents and water flowing in between the platforms. It was like training in Venice, Italy well kind of like training in Venice anyways. A lot of the other athletes avoided the training hall, so Nathan Damron and I were able to train alongside Coach Kevin Simons and Harrison Maurus with the place pretty much left to just us. We ended up having a great time.
This is another example of persevering through less than optimal experiences. The key is maintaining complete focus on the task at hand, and that’s exactly what Harrison and Nathan did. Listen a sport utopia doesn’t exist at least in this world. I heard Kevin Doherty explaining to one of the other coaches to only focus on the things that you can control. He went on to explain that any energy wasted on elements that are out of our control is simply wasted energy that you will never get back. These are wise words from one of America’s greatest coaches.
The rest of the night was spent talking with my roommate Coach John Broz. Man this guy is filled with weightlifting history and knowledge. I have never met a guy that loved the sport of weightlifting more than Coach Broz. He lives it.
He caught me up to date on the politics of the sport. It is pretty mind blowing when you start to get deep into the sport. To date I have stayed on the outside of all of that focusing on my athletes. However the longer I am in the sport the more that the politics draw me in whether I want that or not.
We have had some major ups and downs this week with the Brazilian Federation causing a lot of the madness. We were told that nine men and women were going to be able to compete, which is totally outside the lines. The news alerted one of my athletes, Brian Reisenhour, that he was going to compete. Originally he was put in as the alternate, and we were ok with that. He was still at the venue getting the experience. However when he was told that he was going to lift, both of us were super excited. Later we were told that the ruling was changed to only one extra athlete was being allowed, so then Team USA had to choose either an extra man or woman. The coaches went with an extra female. Needless to say the emotional roller coaster was hard to stand especially for Brian.
It’s not the coaching staff’s fault. It is the Pan American Federation’s fault along with the Brazilian Federation. Coach Broz and I are going to film a more in depth account of what happened later today, and I will post it on my YouTube. We will get that posted by tomorrow, and then you guys can hear the whole story. It has been pretty crazy. As a coach I am just trying to remind Brian that he is only two years into the sport, so this is just the beginning. I promise that he will have many Pan American and World Championships in his future.
Coach Broz and I also discussed handling youth athletes. We were on the same page when it comes to the training of youth. If you get the opportunity to work with a truly talented youth weightlifter, you have a responsibility to prepare that athlete properly. You job is to set them up to be the best Senior athlete possible. It’s not necessarily to make them the best youth or junior athlete. That might happen, but it’s not priority number one.
Here are the priorities with coaching youth:
1. Perfecting their technique with hundreds of perfect reps. The key is attention to detail not the weight on the bar.
2. General Physical Preparedness is key number two. Your goal is to prepare their bodies for the training that is ahead of them. Squats, pulls, presses, pull-ups, rows, dips, and overall conditioning is in the cards for these youngsters.
3. Competition is mainly to prepare them for the platform. The goal is 6 for 6, perfect technique, and adherence to the rules of competition. You also want the athletes to get use to competing on the platform in front of judges, audience, and lights.
I want them use to making lifts, and I want their confidence to soar on the platform. So far my athlete Morgan McCullough is 17 for 18 in National meets, and 12 for 12 in the last two. That’s the way that we are going to keep it for as long as we can. I want him to go on stage expecting to make the lift not hoping to make the lift. I hope that makes sense to all of you.
Well I am of to experience Day 3. Who knows what adventures await our team. You guys will find out tomorrow. Remember you can catch the live stream right here: