Competencies in Coaching Olympic Weightlifting

Coaching is a very complex role and it takes months of practise to develop a basic level of competency and then many more years to acquire expertise. It is really unfair to expect anyone starting out as a coach to have an in-depth understanding of how to teach Olympic Weightlifting skill, design training programs or deal effectively with the range of issues that athletes present. The knowledge and skill to be able to operate effectively as a coach requires the individual to be immersed in an appropriate environment for considerable time and hopefully guided by an experienced hand. People learn to coach when presented with real life situations and it is unavoidable that mistakes are often a natural aspect of learning.

Leo Isaac at work during a coaching Olympic Weightlifting.

The assumption that an experienced athlete can transition smoothly and easily into the Olympic Weightlifting coaching role is false. While experience as an athlete may provide some initial confidence, the reality is that any new coach will be surprised by the depth of new knowledge needed. It is necessary to encourage and support people entering into coaching and it may help to focus their efforts on what is achievable in the initial stages of learning. Furthermore, it may facilitate their ongoing development to present a roadmap for Olympic Weightlifting coaches to follow in their journey to higher levels of expertise.

For these reasons, the following elements of competency are presented at three levels of coaching position: Instructor, Coach and Advanced Coach. There are yet more levels of coaching beyond Advanced Olympic Weightlifting Coach. A coach will need to progress further if they are working with high performance athletes and/or manage teams in international competitions.

There is lot to learn!

Level One – Olympic Weightlifting Instructor

An instructor should be able to:

  • Supervise the training environment to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes
  • Follow best practise guidelines for developing the fundamental skills of Weightlifting
  • Promote training practices to reduce the incidence of injury
  • Foster the enjoyment of Weightlifting as a form of exercise
  • Assist athletes to implement training programs effectively
  • Inspire athletes to pursue personal goals
  • Adopt a strong anti-doping stance
  • Provide support and assistance to coaches in a competition environment

Level Two – Olympic Weightlifting Coach

A coach should be able to perform all the tasks of the Instructor (Level 1) and in addition:

  • Design Olympic Weightlifting training programs to meet the needs of athletes developing beyond the beginner stage to compete at local and regional level
  • Identify issues affecting the development of the athlete’s skill, athletic ability or confidence
  • Design strategies to improve athlete’s skill, athletic ability and/or confidence
  • Adjust training programs to cater for the individual needs of athletes
  • Communicate standards and guidelines for effective training
  • Educate athletes to avoid inadvertent infringement of the anti-doping code
  • Assist athletes to plan for key events
  • Coach athletes in a competition environment
  • Create individual athlete competition plans
  • Advise athletes on a holistic approach to training and performance improvement

Level Three – Advanced Olympic Weightlifting Coach

An advanced coach should be able to perform all the tasks of the Coach (Level 2) and in addition:

  • Design and develop best practise guidelines for developing the fundamental skills of Weightlifting
  • Design training programs to meet the needs of athletes aspiring to high performance
  • Develop an annual training plan to deliver athlete best performance at key events
  • Modify training programs to assist athletes recover from injury
  • Manage athletes and teams at major events such as National Championships
  • Providing athlete and coach education workshops in their locality
  • Mentoring other coaches in their locality
  • Taking an active role in developing Weightlifting infrastructure in the locality

The author would very much welcome your feedback:

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