Path to High Performance: Part 3

The first article, Path to High Performance: Part 1, provided a discussion about Technical Mastery and the paramount need for good quality coaching to avoid developing persistent errors of technique. This second article, Path to High Performance: Part 2,  discussed the magnitude of the training regimen required to achieve the superb physical adaptation of athletes who compete at the highest level. This third article discusses the LIMITATIONS OF THE TRAINING ENVIRONMENT, a challenge faced by athletes, and one that is very difficult to overcome.

The progress of any athlete is subject to the attributes of their training environment including coaching, facilities and equipment, level of competition, training culture and support services. No training environment is perfect and therefore there will always be some limitations that impact on the athlete’s progress.

There are no universally accepted benchmarks that enable coaches and athletes to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the training environment in which they operate. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, coaches and athletes will tend to view their own training environments positively and see no reason for change. Such a view presents no problem when the object of training is for fitness, fun, friendly competition and/or socialisation. However, if High Performance is the goal, then close attention has to be paid to ensuring that all attributes of the training environment are as good as they can be. Read More

Do you train hard?

It was my original attention to write a page on the principles and practise of how to undertake serious training for the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. I mean the sort of training that a person would need to do to compete at the very highest level i.e. the World Championships. My motivation to write such an article stems partly from meeting and wanting to help so many talented people in Weightlifting clubs and Crossfit boxes who, despite their love of lifting, seem to have doubts about their own abilities and what they could achieve. Furthermore, my motivation arises from wanting to see the standard of Olympic Weightlifting in Australia go forwards.

So instead of writing a laborious article on the principles of training for high performance, I have decided that what is first needed is a more "straight from the heart" appeal to members of the Weightlifting and Crossfit communities. If you have a real love for lifting heavy weights read on. Read More

Developing a new culture for weightlifting

There are presently 188 nation members of the International Weightlifting Federation spread across the entire globe from the tiny populations of Pacific Islands to the might of China, reputed to have a population of weightlifters in the hundreds of thousands. In some nations there are great legacies of state sponsored sporting systems that, for decades, have produced results in Weightlifting that we continue to marvel, while in other nations results are achieved through the largely unaided effort of individual coaches and athletes.

 Where does your nation stand in the global pecking order of weightlifting nations? Do you have grounds for hope that weightlifters in your nation are making headway on the international stage, or do you come from one of the many nations permitted just one male and one female participant at the Olympic Games? How can a weightlifting nation move from being among the inconsequential into to the big league? Is this possible and is it really worth the effort?

A new culture is needed for the sport of weightlifting

A new culture is needed for the sport of weightlifting

Achieving such a change in international status Read More

The Path to High Performance: Part 2

In Path to High Performance: Part 1, the article identified four challenges that an athlete in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting will face. These challenges are:

  • The pursuit of technical mastery
  • The magnitude of the training
  • Limitations of the training environment; and
  • Self-imposed performance limits

The article followed with a discussion about Technical Mastery and the paramount need for good quality coaching to avoid developing persistent errors of technique. This second article discusses the magnitude of the training regimen required to achieve the superb physical adaptation of athletes who compete at the highest level. Read More

The Path to High Performance: Part 1

If any athlete starting out in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting should aspire to reach a high performance level, they will face a succession of challenges through which their destiny will be determined. The beginner athlete will possess little prior knowledge that adequately prepares them for these challenges. They must seek knowledge from all sources including coaches and athletes in their immediate training environment, coaching staff in other places wherever possible, and all forms of literature and electronic resources. And yet there is a scarcity of literature that deals directly with the topic of High Performance in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting save a few good texts that have emanated from Eastern Europe in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This article seeks to assist by identifying four challenges that will surely present to any athlete who would tread the path to High Performance in Olympic Weightlifting. These challenges are:

5 Decisions for High Performance in Sport

Okay, so you love Weightlifting and you really want to be a part of a future Australian team to the Olympic or Commonwealth Games! If you have any chance of achieving such a goal, you will need to make some tough decisions.

Decision 1: Can you devote 30 hours a week to this goal?

Before everyone throws up their hands and says “What!”, consider the following. If you want to be a High Performance sports person, then your training is your job. You will need to train 8-10 sessions per week, each of which will take approximately 2 hours. As a more serious athlete, you will spend more time warming up and more time on flexibility. So 2 hours per session is not unreasonable. You will incur a significant amount of travelling in order to attend training. If you live close to the gym, you might be lucky to keep travelling down to around 4 hours per week. The remaining 6 hours a week will be a combination of many factors including visits to the physiotherapist, injury management, planning training, monitoring training, discussions with your coach, and travel to and waiting around at competitions. This does not even take into consideration that you may need extra sleep. Read More

Leo Isaac – Olympic Weightlifting Coach

Leo Isaac at the 1980 Commonwealth Championships

Leo Isaac at the 1980 Commonwealth Championships on the way to a new Commonwealth Record in the 67.5 Kg category

This website has been developed by Leo Isaac whose  career in Olympic Weightlifting spans 40 years as an athlete, coach, coach educator and administrator. He is an accredited Level 3 (National) coach and recently (2015) completed a Masters in Sport Coaching through the University of Queensland.

He is currently active as a Weightlifting coach in Hobart, Tasmania, and as a leading coach educator for the Australian Weightlifting Federation.

Academic

  • Masters in Sports Coaching, University of Queensland
  • BSc (Hons), Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management,
    Loughborough University, England
  • Grad Dip Teaching, University of Queensland

Voluntary Roles Currently Held

  • Member of the High Performance Program Panel of Australian Weightlifting Federation
  • Director and Head Coach of the Weightlifting Academy of Tasmania
  • President of Weightlifting Tasmania Inc.
  • Coach Education Program presenter for the Australian Weightlifting Federation

Overseas Coaching Appointments

  • Head Coach, Australian Team, 2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia
  • Head Coach, Australian Team, 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  • Head Coach, Australian Team, 2017 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Gold Coast, Australia
  • Head Coach, Australian Team, 2016 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Penang, Malaysia
  • Head Coach, Australian Team, 2016 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Suva, Fiji
  • Head Coach, Australian Team, 2015 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships, Pune, India
  • Coach, Australian Team, 2014 Pacific Cup Weightlifting Tournament, New Caledonia
  • Head Coach, 1991 Junior World Championships, Wolmirstedt, Germany

Professional and Voluntary Roles Previously Held

  • Former National Coaching Director of Australian Weightlifting Federation
  • State Administrator of Queensland Weightlifting
  • NSW Coaching Development Officer

International Appearances

  • 1979 European Championships, Varna, Bulgaria, 9th place, 67.5Kg category
  • 1979 World Championships, Salonnica, Greece, 10th place 67.5Kg category
  • 1980 Commonwealth Championships, Cardiff, Wales, 1st place 67.5Kg category
  • 1980 European Championships, Belgrade, Serbia, 8th place 67.5Kg category
  • 1980 Olympic Games, Moscow, Russia, 14th place, 67.5Kg category
  • 1982 EEC Championships, Lommel, Belgium, 2nd place, 75Kg category
  • 1982 Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, Australia, 4th place, 75category
  • 1985 World Championships, Stockholm, Sweden, 9th place, 67.5Kg category