Suggestions for USAW
At this point I believe that we have the proper leadership in place with guys like Phil Andrews, Pyrros Dimas, Lance Williams, and Mike Gattone. Now it’s time to get in the trenches, and educate America about the awesome sport of weightlifting. So what are the benefits? Let’s look at just a few:
• Low risk of injury. The last I checked in way like .03 for every 1000 hours spent training. That’s way below sports like soccer and football.
• Improves the Athletes for Other Sports- obviously weightlifting develops power, speed, balance, mobility, coordination, and kinesthetic awareness. All of these traits are beneficial to any other sports that athletes might participate in.
• College Scholarships- we already have some in place with LSU, ETSU, and NMU, and I know that we have plans for developing more. This is exciting. We also need these programs to produce a bit better.
• Stipends- Phil Andrews has done an amazing job implementing the most aggressive stipend program in American history.
• Team USA- parents and children need to know that weightlifting is a pathway to International Teams that are fully funded for young athletes to compete around the world.
These are just a few examples. However who needs to know? We need parents to understand all of these benefits. If they get it, they will support it. This is the same way that I grew my sports performance gym in the middle of nowhere to over 200 athletes. Yeah I contacted coaches and athletic directors, but as soon as I started educating parents, my class times were full. If I can get 200 athletes in my little gym in Advance, NC with the few resources that I have, can you imagine what a solid marketing/educational plan from USAW could produce?
I would start with the programs around the country that are constantly producing, and then work on helping the other teams build their programs. So you take places like Cal Strength, Garage Strength, Mash Mafia MN& NC, Hassle Free, Waxman’s Gym, and Juggernaut to name a few, and USAW assists those programs by implementing the surrounding communities. These are not all the programs that are successful; so don’t get mad if I left you out. I am writing this as I fly to Orlando.
I am simply stating that you start with programs that already have some momentum in their communities. I would look at programs that have solid participation in Youth, Junior, and Senior levels. Yes, the popularity matters whether you like it or not. People get excited about joining teams like Cal Strength and Mash Mafia because of their presence in the strength community. This momentum makes it easier to get through to parents and coaches.
How does USAW help? By developing small team to support those programs with marketing, educational workshops, recruiting events, and networking programs to connect successful programs with strategic alliances. I would suggest ‘at risk’ programs as well to reach athletes that need an outlet that they might not currently have. If we penetrate communities with such outreach programs, it not only helps those communities with a good cause, but it also opens the minds and hearts of the people within those communities. Doing something good always helps to knock down barriers.
Lord only knows the struggles that coaches have with maintaining solid programs. It would work wonders if there were a little more support from within USAW to help keep these programs successful. We could set America on fire with this approach. I am not saying that only the bigger programs should get help. I am just saying that the bigger and more popular programs already have momentum, which would make it a little easier and quicker to make an impact within their communities.
It’s all about working together, and using a little more of a business approach to growth. We have several coaches in America that understand business and growth. Those coaches could be a great source for USAW. Guys like Dave Spitz could really help with establishing a plan for growth, recruitment, and improvement if he were utilized.
I want to end with saying that I have never been more excited about the direction of USAW. Phil Andrews is the best CEO that we could ever want. He’s a leader like we’ve never had. Pyrros Dimas is a winner, and his mindset is no doubt becoming contagious. These thoughts are not to be taken as criticism. I am just motivated to help now that I see the momentum that Phil has created. I just want to be a part of the growth in any way that I am allowed.
To end, here is what I am saying:
USAW creates support groups for successful programs providing:
• Marketing Strategies
• Implementation strategies and assistance
• Creation of educational workshops
• Networking strategies to penetrate local communities
• Assist with creation of ‘at risk’ program
There is something that successful coaches could do to give back as well. We could start mentorships/apprenticeships for coaches that want to be successful. Personally I would help any coach that reached out to me, but a structured program could really help ignite the sport. Guys like Coach Spitz, Dane Miller, and Sean Waxman could assist other coaches in the areas of:
• Business Development
• Program Design
• Competition Strategies
• Social media
• Creating awareness
• Raising funds
A program like this could help others create thriving programs throughout America. Man I am telling you, it’s all about Team USA. Who cares about individual teams? I mean I love my athletes obviously, but I exist to impact USA Weightlifting as a whole. Athletes come to me to get them to Team USA, and that’s what we are doing. My Youth Squad is the one that’s going to turn things upside down starting next year. However if I teach other coaches to do the same thing, the sport of weightlifting will grow exponentially faster.
I hope this sparks more conversation, and more importantly I hope it sparks action. I love what USAW is doing. I want to see this sport catch fire in America.
Coach Travis Mash
Senior International Coach
Coach Mash Mafia Weightlifting