5 Things That Don’t Impress Weightlifting Coaches

Posted on Posted in Olympic Weightlifting

As coaches, we come into contact with a wide range of people and personality types. It is in our nature to inherently want the best for people which is why we became coaches in the first place! It falls on us to guide athletes to success and also support them through their inevitable failures. But on the flip side, it’s also in an athletes nature to want to impress or make their coaches proud. Fun fact: we are always proud of our athletes no matter what, but don’t be surprised if you get some push back on:

  1. Unsolicitedly telling us your maxes.
    Don’t get me wrong, we are definitely interested in your Weightlifting experience, but everyone has maxes. We are more interested in the way you move: your tempo, bar control, patience, habits, etc. so we can begin to create a visual inventory of your lifts. Not that we give coaching preference to those who are more advanced by any means, but we can generally identify the athletes who spend time fine tuning the details from the ones who work up to a heavy single every time they touch a barbell. Yes, this sport is about lifting weight, but the number is the result, not the focus.
  2. Using the word “Bulgarian”.
    Here we go! “But they did XYZ so it must have worked.” Yes, to a degree, but think about the amounts of lifters who went through that program that it DIDN’T work for. Not that we’re suggesting that anyone less than an elite athlete with a genetic predisposition for dealing with overtraining and 15+ years of sport school experience can handle a true Bulgarian-style program, but romanticizing an excuse to destroy yourself just doesn’t make any sense. Have fun while you can, but I’d bet money that most people who follow a Bulgarian program or Smolov squat cycle probably jump between the two and never finish either one…which leads us to our next point: commitment!
  3. Doing everything and doing nothing.
    Weightlifting is a gigantic commitment, but so is ANY sport that requires you to develop a skill. “I’m ready to buckle down and focus on JUST Weightlifting and go to XYZ meet/nationals/the Olympics.” OK, cool — let’s get started, but just having access to a program doesn’t automatically make you better — however, working through a program with a coach does make you better! You have to put in the work — there are no shortcuts. If there were, we’d all be at the Olympics. We don’t care if you want to get better at Weightlifting or Field Hockey, but you need to fully commit to something to actually get better at it.
  4. Squat jerking because “that one Asian guy” does it.
    Believe it or not, Asians have names too. I’ll say the same thing I say to everyone who wants to try the squat jerk — Make AT LEAST 40% of your lifts in training, and you can continue doing it. I used to say 60%, but that seemed a little insensitive and 40% seems way more attainable. Yes, I keep track. No, we’ve never had anyone that has ever made 40% of their lifts in training with a squat jerk. #KeepMissing
  5. Overcomplicating what you saw/read/watched on the Internet.
    The age of information has given us access to a wealth of information…but if your coach is standing in front of you giving you live, personalized feedback, anything you read about the square root of your bar path relative to the gravitational pull of the harvest moon during the age of Aquarius means absolutely nothing. Close your browser windows and open your ears because coaches are there to help YOU!