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Approaching the Bar: Creating a Strategy and a Plan

Recently, I overheard a conversation with a competitive weightlifter describing their coaching support. In a nutshell, they defined a weightlifting coach rather simply as having two primary responsibilities- technique and programming. My experience as an athlete taught me that this was a relatively narrow view about what a good, competent coach really offers. It became apparent to me that there are some that don’t understand there is a huge difference between a coach being competent in providing weightlifting instruction and programming, and having the experience and skill to help guide an athlete’s career. Over my weightlifting career I was tremendously fortunate to have four remarkable coaches- Tony Ciarelli, Michael Cohen, Bob Morris, and Dr. Kyle Pierce- each having coached multiple Olympians, and each uniquely defined for me what a weightlifting coach’s full value is to an athlete. What I learned from all of them is that a good weightlifting coach will not only help design a program to make the athlete stronger – physically and mentally – and ensure the lifter is moving correctly and consistently, but they will also be responsible for helping to create a strategy and managing a lifter’s game plan to achieve the athlete’s short term and long term goals. The strategy informs the game plan. And the game plan informs everything from the design of the training program to the tactical approach for calling attempts in competition. Whether the goal is to make the qualifying total for the American Open Series or a national championship, or to make a Pan Am team, a World team or even the Olympic team, the coach must be capable of developing a performance plan, and be prepared to hold an athlete accountable to be disciplined to train, recover and prepare in a way that makes it attainable.

Key takeaways: 1. Partner with your coach to develop a short term and long term game plan in support of a long term strategy. 2. Be disciplined and ensure your own decisions and actions align with your goals.


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