Dealing with anxiety in Weightlifting

For the athlete in Weightlifting, the final 2 weeks before a major competition is a difficult period in which athletes often have a tendency to conjure up all manner of self-imposed roadblocks, issues and limitations. The anxiety produced by the impending competition sets off questioning thoughts about the need for more technical and strength work, and to continue training hard to the last moment. It's a kind of investment protection issue. The athlete may conclude that they just need to invest more energy and effort in training so as to protect what they have already invested so far. Surprisingly, the timing of the last maximal session before competition day seems to vary considerably as a result of different belief systems of coaches and athletes. The variance will likely be between 7-21 days before a major competition. Why such a difference in beliefs should exist is a question worth asking but is not the subject matter of this article. Instead, this article attempts to address the anxiety issue that many athletes suffer. Read More

Developing mental skills

It's 4:00am, the day after an important local event and my mind is too active to sleep. I arrived home yesterday after a 14 hour day of coaching and organising the State Championships in the sport in which I have devoted nearly half a century of life - Weightlifting. Sitting by the home fireplace, I began at last to read and digest the many messages received from competitors, some excited by their performance and some desperately upset. Some messages are easy to answer, some will have to wait as the needed communication is challenging and requires careful consideration. This is the usual situation. Striving for excellence has always been a modus operandi for me. There is always something more to learn, something more to achieve. However, an important part of going forward to is to reflect upon one's past, the successes, the failures, the pivotal moments, the opportunities won and lost. Such reflections, however, often occur at an unseemly hour of the day, hence here I am, before dawn, writing this post. Read More

Continuous Improvement in the Training of the Athlete

The task for the athlete and the coach is to work together to continually improve the training process of the athlete over many years. It is highly probable that when this continuous improvement process comes to a halt, the athlete will no longer improve. From day 1 in the training process, the athlete learns how to train to develop good technique and athletic ability so as to improve results. Initially the learning is fast but as the months and years go by, the rate of learning slows as a result of fewer opportunities to learn something new, or perhaps incorrect assumptions that all the knowledge needed has been learned. To make further improvement then, the athlete and coach must work harder to find solutions to the perfection of the training problem. Read More

Training frequency in Weightlifting: When to add another training session?

I was recently asked "what are the advantages and disadvantages/risks of adding an additional training session per week". I am sure that readers will attest that this is a common question in some form or another. In any club that caters for differing levels of experience and ability, it is likely that there are athletes training as little as 2 days a week and as much as as 6 days per week, and some even 9-11 sessions per week. At every level of experience, it is probable that athletes will ask the question 'should I be doing more?'

The simple answer is of course that it depends on the 'circumstances of the individual athlete' but an answer of this nature does not really help. What's really needed is a number of criteria that the athlete and the coach can consider to determine whether circumstances permit an additional training day.

Here are some suggested criteria for increasing training frequency: Read More

Coaching the youth beginner athlete

Coaches must be aware that the initial learning period of the beginner in Weightlifting is profoundly important and will leave an indelible impression. In the case of coaching children and/or young adults, there is an increased level of responsibility to ensure that the coaching methodology employed lives up to community expectations and provides the beginner with a good start to their career in the sport.

The following guidelines are provided to assist coaches working with children and young adults in Weightlifting:

Read More

Determining platform attempts in a Weightlifting competition

In the final days/weeks before a competition, athletes and coaches will generally discuss and make decisions about the athlete's "competition plan". This process can be quite simple or very elaborate depending on the importance of the competition, the level of experience of the athlete, and whether there is any need for tactics to respond to the athlete's competitors. Read More

A coach’s plea

To my athletes, I would like to take a moment of your time to explain how I might see things differently about training, your training.

Last night was a designated 'heavy' session. I know that you very much look forward to such sessions in the hope that you can push beyond your present personal bests. Last night, many of you were rewarded for your efforts. Well done!

But as we head towards the next competition, there are some things I want you to keep uppermost in your mind. Read More

Talent Identification In Weightlifting

Nature versus Nurture in Weightlifting

It is accepted theory in Weightlifting that genetics plays a substantial role in the ultimate performance of the individual (12, 33).  A typical belief is that Weightlifters of the highest performance levels have a greater ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibres (29). Similarly, a common opinion in the Weightlifting community is that certain anthropometric characteristics strongly influence success such as shoulder circumference (38) and shorter height and limb lengths (34). Furthermore, many researchers have found that Weightlifters as a group are amongst the most mesomorphic of all athletes (25).

How does Weightlifting sit in the nature v nurture paradigm

Figure 1: Relative contribution of nature (natural ability) and nurture (influence of environment) on success in Weightlifting

However, environmental factors also play a highly significant role in success in Weightlifting. These factors include the coach’s leadership skills (8), the coach’s knowledge and effectiveness (7), the culture within the training environment (22) and the degree to which the athlete develops a sense of belonging or relatedness to their sport and their training colleagues (30). These factors will affect the motivation of the athlete to pursue training over the many years of deliberate practise (10) at increasingly higher levels of commitment needed to attain high performance. Furthermore, environmental factors will impact on the athlete’s ability to cope with the psychological pressures of extreme heaviness in critical moments in competition and training.

For these reasons, success in Weightlifting should not be considered as predominantly dependent on genetics as is a popular view, but instead on a relatively equal contribution of genetics and environment as portrayed in Figure 1 above.

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Articles for Coaching Weightlifting

There are currently 44 in-depth articles current available on this website for coaches and athletes in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. More articles are written on a weekly basis. The following table provides a listing of free and subscription required articles (SUBS).  A subscription may (a) One Month or (b) Full Membership.

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Article  Category  Free  Subs
A coach’s plea  Coaching  free article
Training principles  Coaching  free article
Coaching the youth beginner athlete  Coaching  free article
Determining platform attempts in a Weightlifting competition  Coaching  free article
 Writing training programs  Coaching  free article
 Teaching Weightlifting skills: 10 objectives  Coaching  free article
 Talent identification  High Performance  free article
 5 decisions for high performance in sport  High Performance  free article
 The path to high performance (part 1)  High Performance  free article
 The path to high performance (part 2)  High Performance  free article
 The path to high performance (part 3)  High Performance  free article
The affects of Weightlifting on the cardiovascular system Physiology  free article
 Homeostasis and adaptation Physiology  free article
Neural adaptation Physiology  free article
Muscle fibre types Physiology  free article
 Muscle anabolism  Physiology  free article
 Concurrent strength and endurance training  Physiology  free article
 Muscle co-activation and strength  Physiology  free article
 Proprioception  Physiology  free article
 Daily energy and energy efficiency  Physiology  free article
 Weight loss and making weight  Physiology  free article
 The hardest step  Psychology  free article
 The inner journey  Psychology  free article
 The mindset of the Weightlifter  Psychology  free article
 Snatch technique – key concepts explained  Technique  free article
 Learning the technique of the jerk – key objectives  Technique  free article
 Understanding the pull trajectory  Technique  free article
 Qualitative analysis of the snatch  Technique  free article
 Key issues in the jerk explained  Technique  free article
 The dip phase of the jerk  Technique  free article
 The jerk balance  Technique  free article
 The split squat  Technique  free article
 Conversations with athletes  Training Methodology  free article
 The 21-day training cycle  Training Methodology  free article
 Exercises for improving the snatch  Training Methodology  free article
 A comparison of different training scenarios on rate of improvement  Training Methodology  free article
 Russian squat programs – how well do they work  Training Methodology  free article
 Gold standards in Weightlifting  Training Methodology  free article
 The rest interval between sets  Training Methodology  free article
 Training intensity for pulls  Training Methodology  free article
 Do you train hard? Training Methodology  free article
Training Intensity Percentages as Used in Weightlifting Training Methodology free article

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