In the view of the author, the following 10 objectives are critically important in teaching weightlifting skill to beginners. The initial learning of the beginner in their first 10-20 training sessions will have a very significant impact on their long-term technical competency, confidence and ability to perform under pressure.
Coaches should teach the beginner athlete to:
Objective #1: Lockout and stabilise the bar above the head
Athletes have differing levels of ability to achieve ideal receiving positions due to flexibility limitations. However, it should always be a coaching objective to teach the athlete, from the very first moment of learning, to be able to hold bars motionless above the head and remain in balance. Successful achievement of this objective has long-term implications for the confidence and safety of the athlete in performing limit or near limit weights.
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It is inevitable in any sport such as Weightlifting that separates competitors into bodyweight categories that the participant will be faced with the proposition of manipulating their normal bodyweight up or down for a competitive advantage. More often, the proposition involves the athlete in weight loss and ‘making weight’ to compete in a lighter category than their normal bodyweight would allow. The weight loss will in some measure require the athlete to alter their normal diet over a period of days/weeks and/or implement various dehydration strategies during the last 24 hours before the weigh-in. Ideally, the athlete is able to reduce to the required bodyweight by obtaining, and observing in a disciplined manner, qualified nutritional advice so as to minimise detriment to performance. However, apart from the difficulty in obtaining qualified advice, efforts to reduce bodyweight do not easily achieve success for a variety of reasons. These reasons include a lack of support or understanding in the athlete’s home or work environment, insufficient athlete knowledge or motivation, dealing with emotional consequences of everyday life, the need for socialisation and difficulty measuring bodyweight accurately and timely. Moreover, attempts by an athlete to change their body mass meet with the body’s own regulatory mechanisms that alter metabolism to resist bodyweight loss (O’Connor and Caterson, 2010).