It’s Not About You

I’ve spent a lot of my life as a weightlifting competitor. Today marks the 50th anniversary of my first garage total, way back in 1965. Naturally, during the course of my competitive career I’ve had the opportunity to advise plenty of other interested parties in how to get started (and continue) in the sport.

It was only in 2009 that I entered into formal coaching and USAW certification. One of the things I noticed quickly was a tendency of some youth coaches trying to move up the rungs of the coaching ladder by having their charges attempt weights they weren’t ready for; I saw it twice at local meets.  It was greatly upsetting for me to watch this, for it served no valid purpose and subjected the kids to risk of injury. Like all sports, the body grows into the sport. There’s no way to shortcut it.

I can remember calling a friend some years back during an A.A.U. age group nationals he was attending. When he answered, he told me he and a fellow coach had gone to the beach to decompress because they got so upset watching the terrible technique of the young competitors. This was an earlier indication of the same thing I saw four years later; kids not educated in bar movement and/or attempting weights that were too heavy.

While watching the live feed from the recently completed Youth Nationals, it would appear that things are way better now on average, with the A sessions very good.  Coaching courses and weightlifting seminars have improved the educational level of those entrusted with the care of young athletes, and it shows now.  Even a coach who is a complete novice has access to video via social media for at least an excellent visual of basic mechanics of the very best in the sport until they can attend a coaching course. This bodes well for the sport’s future development.

So, while things have changed, the temptation remains. If you need one more lifter to qualify for a bigger event and it means you can move up a notch, what attempts will you select? Coaches beware…it’s not about you.


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