Episode 5
Running a Weightlifting Club & Learning as a New Coach
September 13 2016
Greg & Ursula discuss issues regarding starting and running a weightlifting club and team, including how to attract the right kind of lifter, and how new coaches can learn and improve.

Also Listen On

Submit A Question

Have a question you'd like to hear addressed on the podcast? Submit it at the link below!

Submit a Question


Andrew Alvarado
September 15 2016
Thanks Greg. This is great. I appreciate what you do. Doing well down here in Hayward, Ca. Take care. Keep up the good work.
Gary Echternacht
September 16 2016
Wished you all would have talked more about the stratification of the coaching world. My physical resume is pretty good, but I must say the most rewarding thing on that resume was coaching my high school throwers. The only thing I knew going into coaching throwers was weightlifting. The rest I had to learn on my own. My bible was a book by Tony Naclerio called The Teaching Progressions of the Shot-put, Discus, and Javelin. In the introduction to that book, there are two sentences that resonate with me:

“As far as track and field is concerned, you, the grass roots coaches, are the future of the sport. Without you, the creative educator, the sport is dead.”

The knowledge, skills, attitude and approach needed for coaching young teens or pre-teens is dramatically different from from those needed by the coach of the weightlifter contending for a national championship, or even those needed for coaching the adult weightlifter for that matter.

Unfortunately what weightlifting values is coaches at the so-called highest level.
First, weightlifting values high-level coaches like every other sport does. That doesn't mean we don't value developmental coaches. Just like in baseball, people value professional coaches a certain way, and they value little league coaches in a different way - each serves his purpose and both, along with evert step in between, are required to get the kind of high level play we see here in that sport.

That kind of stratification is great in a system of adequate population. In throwing, that works - kids typically begin with school/grassroots coaches and progress through the ranks to higher level coaches as their performance levels and ages increase. There are opportunities for this - starting with the Jr. HS PE coach, then the high school T&F coach, then the collegiate T&F coach, and then maybe a semi-pro or pro coach.

We don't have that luxury in the US with weightlifting - it's not an issue of not necessarily believing a stratified system isn't a good idea, it's more a product of necessity. A lifter in the US can barely find a decent coach and place to train at all, often having to move across the country just to work with one, let alone find a series of coaches who can each specialize in a given period of athletic development.

Total USA Weightlifting membership is about 25,000 - that includes athletes, coaches, officials, etc. It's impossible to have a system in place like you're talking about with these numbers and without the kinds of opportunies available in other sports (school leagues, college scholarships, etc.).

That said, there are a lot of our US coaches who manage to start kids at young ages and take them to the senior national and international level, which to me speaks to their greater degree of skill - again, they don't have the luxury of getting to specialize in one period of development, one kind of athlete, one common set of circumstances - they have to be able to do it all. Seems to me that deserves a lot of respect, not your disappointment for our collective attitude, since that's not at all accurate.

Greg Everett
Gary Echternacht
September 18 2016
No disrespect intended for any coach at any level. It takes a great deal of work, effort and love for the sport to coach at any level. Disrespect wasn't my intent at all.

What I think would be interesting is a discussion of the attributes of good coaching at the various levels--say beginner youth, young adult, older adult, and elite adult or any other stratification you might choose--that might provide some guidance to the would be coach. Yes, there are certain attributes of coaching that apply to almost any sport at any level. But there are also attributes specific attributes that apply to different levels within a given sport. That kind of discussion is independent of how many athletes you have in the sport.

I could be wrong, but my sense is that weightlifting values coaching by the coach's ability to develop (or be associated with) elite weightlifters. Nothing wrong with that. I believe, however, weightlifting would benefit from an organized approach to recruiting and developing the very young athlete. Perhaps even Catalyst offers such a program. Perhaps it is the garage gym owner who does it. There are a few I know. What I don't see is that type of program valued in terms of resources devoted them. I mean how of USA Weightlifting's budget is devoted to the support of such? I simply don't know.