Coaching Coaches

Olympic Weightlifting is probably the most popular it’s ever been, this rise in participation is largely due to Crossfit and their significant use of media to promote it.

There is more and more Weightlifting style events at their games, if you are not proficient at lifting you may not do that well. This has resulted in a lot of Weightlifting coaches being hired into CF boxes for “Barbell” sessions or seminars.

Coaching at these is slightly different to being at my club, there is a different set of people each week. Sometimes there are large numbers in quite restricted time.

The sensible ones book in every week to gain coaching, it works out quite good value that way. It also allows me to build a relationship with them in order to make progress.

There are plenty of “Weightlifting Clubs” at CF boxes with good coaches, not all of us can afford to join though.

As there is an increase in people who participate in Weightlifting there becomes a need for more coaches. Not just at CF boxes but also at original Weightlifting facilities, who have also benefited in the rise of lifting activity. It’s is fair to say that you cannot be a good coach by sitting a weekend course, what you do after is what really makes one a coach. For me, I spend as much time in “Coaching” activity as I did in my career.

I have also probably made as many mistakes in programming and cues over the years, but the willingness to become better over time is very important. Both in lifting and coaching, so I view both of them in the same light.

Coaching decent level lifters is quite personal, for instance you have to know who you can “ball out” in order to get the desired response. Some people do not like being shouted at, you need to know who you’re dealing with in order to coach them properly. Again this takes time, months of contact in fact.

The only exception is our “Elite” level coaches or national team coaches. They can take on and coach lifters having had little history with them, they are selected for the job because of this. It is also likely that the national coach would know the lifters home coach, with the fact that elite lifters are used to doing as they are told and probably quite a hardened individual makes this temporary handover work well.

So along with more people taking up “lifting” we need more coaches, preferably hands on coaches, like the ones that take you to comps.

If a Weightlifting club grows as we all have, you will undoubtedly have situations where two comps are happening. You may even decide to go on holiday (selfishly).

Do all your lifters get enough time with you? Take for instance at my club we could have 15-20 team members passing through in one night. We also have national level, regional and beginner lifters all the facility at the same time.

All of our members are programmed, quite often hitting goals/comps at different dates.

The need for more coaches to share the work has long been with us. When you begin to look at sharing work out anywhere, either at work or at a facility you can quite quickly tell who you can approach. It’s normally the ones that would put someone else’s weights away or joins “gym fix it days”

Some of my lot have been with me over ten years, I get the same people turning up for said days every time.

Shadowing a coach is a pretty good method of learning. It is likely that if you are like me, a “Himbo” you haven’t noticed the person that has been shadowing you for years coaching wise. If you are confident in your coaching this is the individual you send to BWL for certification in order to become licensed.

It is also worth considering that you don’t relate to everyone, I have had some quite nervous lifters that needed particular guidance, which I don’t have.

I found someone else that is good at that, these lifters have now progressed and overcome nervousness to a point that they can cope even with me. Grumpy!!

I have mentioned different tiers of programming. There was a need to program for the general team member whilst individualizing for the national lifters. This has become one of the assistant coaches duties, which frees up actual gym time for myself.

Beginners inductions are still being dealt with by myself, once programmed they join the facility and are guided by assistant coaches. Sometimes me. This system works well as the “newbie” doesn’t have to hope that I am there, they know they have a number of coaches at the club. The lifters also share knowledge as they have always done, I think this makes for a good unit.

You will have to guide these coaches of course, on programming and exercise prescription. Perhaps allow them to make they’re own mistakes (not at the British) so they can learn for themselves

Above all share your workload, before doing too much badly!!