The Weightlifting Bandwagon

Leo Isaac, Olympian, Weightlifting CoachIt seems to me, as a practitioner of 40 years, that there has never been a time in the history of Olympic Weightlifting when the sport was as popular as it is now. It’s hard to estimate the participation growth but a figure of 10 times more people engaging in the sport than 40 years ago is probably very conservative.

In not only the capital cities of Australia but also in regional cities and towns, it is probable that you could find somewhere to pursue training in Olympic Weightlifting. For many Fitness centres, the inclusion of classes in which customers learn to Snatch and Clean & Jerk has become a standard element of the business model. It’s an amazing sight to see significant amounts of floor space covered wall-to-wall with people performing Power Snatches or Power Cleans, or Overhead Squats, or some kind of strange looking Jerk.

But due to the participation explosion, and also the competition between fitness centres, there now exists a thirst for tips on learning technique and knowledge of training methodology on an unparalleled level. This has created another phenomenon – the rise of the visiting guru from overseas to run Weightlifting workshops here in Australia. Such is the marketability of Weightlifting, it seems, that ordinary folk will pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars just to spend a few hours in the presence of the guru from Russia, or Germany, or Greece or USA, or … the list is endless.

No doubt brushing shoulders with someone who has lifted two and a half bodyweight in the Clean & Jerk has a remarkable effect. The seminar participant  will appear at training the next week with increased motivation, insight into how it all works, and ready to apply the secrets of success in their training.

But then reality hits.

In the cold light of day, what the participant actually needs is a COACH, I mean a real coach, that is someone who has studied the sport thoroughly over time, knows the journey well, is connected with other practising and dedicated coaches, and puts their life and soul into nurturing people in this noble sport of Olympic Weightlifting.

By all means spend your money on seminars, it won’t do you any harm, but realise that the money your spend on just one encounter with a visiting guru would likely cover your expenses to:

  1. Be trained for many months or even a whole year by a credentialed Australian Weightlifting coach or
  2. Fly interstate to one of the Weightlifting High Performance Centres in Australia and be trained by a credentialed coach for a whole week.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against seminars. There is a thirst for knowledge and it should be satiated. I would love to see seminars in which people interested would have opportunities to learn the science that underpins the sport from dedicated professionals at an affordable price . What worries me is that persons truly interested in Weightlifting need more than just a few hours in the company of a guru.