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Youth Pan Ams Final Thoughts and some Coaching Insight
Let me just say that this team is amazing. We ended up with 23 medals for Team USA. No one expected this except the members of this amazing team. We grew so much as a delegation winning together and losing together. I am not just talking about athletes and coaches. I am talking about parents, athletes, coaches, and all support staff including family members.
It was truly a special thing to be a part of. A couple of the nights I was able to hang out with some of the parents, and it was a blast. I got to explain to them more about the sport. Parent relationships are crucial for the sport. If the parents are more informed about the benefits of the sport, they are more likely to support it and recommend it to their friends. We need to spread the love of the sport every chance that we get.
Friday our 77k boys took to the platform and demonstrated their skill in an impeccable manner. Jacob Hamby set a competition PR Snatch of 112k and barely missed a massive 116k Snatch. Josh Piasecki took Silver Medals across the board ending with a lifetime PR Clean and Jerk of 156k/343lb.
The 85k men were next, and they put on a show as well. Marc Vanchiasong set a PR total and walked away with 4th overall. Cole Bramble put on a performance earning all Silver Medals with a PR Snatch of 121k and a PR Clean & Jerk of 147k. Guys this was a 14k Competition PR, and the scary thing is that he has another year of Youth Competitions.
Saturday was the final day of competition, and it highlighted our 69+ young ladies and our 94+ young man. This was both of the young ladies first ever International meet, and they were a little nervous. However they hung strong to score points for the team. Shay Carlock took 6th overall with a 78k Snatch and a 105k Clean & Jerk. Kaitlyn Jarret took 4th overall with an 82k Snatch and a 105k Clean & Jerk. The word amongst the coaches is that these two might have more potential than anyone around the country with a little solid coaching.
David Urovish took home the only Gold Medal for Team USA in the 94k+ Class. This young man is a true competitor. He crushed a PR Snatch of 120k, and a PR Clean & Jerk of 145k. Our plan was to go 140k-150k-160k, but we didn’t need that to win Gold. This forced him to take a massive jump to 160k for a lifetime PR, and he gave it a solid try. I believe that he is an easy 130k/170k lifter within a few months. He is so explosive.
Our Girls Team placed 2nd overall, so I was unbelievably pumped about that. The men took 5th overall because we had to withdraw a competitor. If we had been able to allow him to compete, we would have taken second even if he had placed last in his class. Overall our team was 2nd in the Medal Count, so to me that’s the most important. I am very proud of all these young men and women.
That leads me to make a confession. I wasn’t 100% on taking the Head Coach position for the Youth Team. I am comfortable coaching my Junior and Senior Teams. I thought that I was going to be babysitting mainly, and boy was I wrong. In one week, I came to love those kids and their parents not to mention the other coaches. We were a team. All of us!
We won those medals together, and those dang kids taught me a lesson. The youth coming up in USAW are not joking around. They have big goals, and they are focused on achieving those goals. I thought that I was doing them a favor. Man was I ever wrong. It was a blessing being a part of the Youth Pan American Championships. At the end of the contest two of the other coaches/parents told me to look around at all the smiles on the athletes’ faces. A tear came to my eye as I realized the true meaning of coaching once again, and that is to help athletes realize their dreams.
When you see a youth athlete smile ear to ear from their achievements, at that moment you will know that you are exactly where God wants you. It wasn’t just the winning that was exciting. It was the moments shared with the athletes outside of competition. I had a chance to talk with them about their futures. I got a chance to coach them on priorities. All that I can say is thank you to USA Weightlifting for allowing me to coach this amazing team.
I have been the head coach of three International Teams this year, and I have memories from those competitions that will last a lifetime. I have had the chance to coach athlete to Gold Medals, American Records, and some World Records. However that’s the easy part. I have consoled athletes during disappointing performances as well. I have coached athletes coming up 1 kilo short of a medal.
Look that’s the real coaching folks. It is easy to coach an athlete that’s crushing everyone. However, what do you say to the athlete during a not so perfect performance? What about an athlete that’s winning, but lacks respect for the other athletes. Coaching is about way more than just winning medals. We are helping to shape these young men and women for the future, and not just in weightlifting.
Weightlifting is so much more than just picking up some heavy weights. It’s overcoming adversity. It’s learning to represent more than yourself like your family, friends, hometown, and in this case your country.
Weightlifting is about setting goals, planning for those goals, and executing that plan. Weightlifting is about putting in that daily grind. It’s perseverance. It’s life! It’s our job as coaches to teach these lessons each and every day.
I pray that all of you will be given a chance to coach an International Team. When you do, I want you to be prepared to do way more than win. I want you all focused on growing our young men and women to make this country a better place. It’s a big responsibility, and we owe it to the kids to be prepared to deliver as coaches.
I will never forget this experience and this team. USA Weightlifting has a bright future in store with these incredible young people coming up. I pray that God will allow me to be in their lives for a longtime to come. I want a front row seat when these young people battle it out for Gold over the next several years.
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