American weightlifting has reinvented itself over the past few years as new clubs and coaches have emerged across the country. Unfortunately, throughout this process some of the old names and pioneers have been overlooked. One of those is John Thrush. Read more
In the world of sport, I doubt there is anything more loathed than national governing bodies. On the one hand, they have a difficult job since no matter how hard they try, it is impossible for them to make everyone happy with limited resources. But on the other hand, they often shoot themselves in the foot before they start to do anything. This is why it has been surprising for us to her near universal acclaim for what is going on at USA Weightlifting. On this week’s episode CEO Phil Andrews come on to discuss the organization’s strategy to grow the sport and some key lessons he has learned in three years on the job. Read more
Take a look at high level sport and the top teams often do not have much separating them physically. In the end it often comes down to the team with the mental edge. And just as athletes train their physical skills, they must also train their mental skills. World class weightlifter Mona Pretorius has competed on the international stage in three sports and studied sports psychology. She joins us on this week’s podcast to talk about the mental side of sport and training mental skills. Read more
Play is often disregarded as a form of training, but it is a lost art that can be a valuable tool in developing athletes. Over the past few decades, the rate of play has drastically declined among children worldwide. James Marshall has put this point front and center in his approach to long-term athlete development. On this episode of the podcast Marshall joins us to discuss play and how it can be incorporated into more formal training sessions. Read more
It takes a special athlete and coach to achieve success at multiple sports, but that’s just what Wil Fleming has done. Being successful at multiple sports requires an ability to dial in training, and target programming to the specific needs of an athlete. On this episode of the podcast Fleming joins us to share the lessons he learned as a national championship competitor in both hammer throwing and weightlifting, and how that has shaped his approach to programming. Read more
One of the sad realities in life is that training at age 40 is just not the same as training at age 20. The sooner we accept that, the better we can plan training for experienced athletes. On this week’s episode weightlifting coach Matt Foreman joins us to discuss training as a masters athlete, his own experiences, and the mental side of staying focused as the years go by. Read more
Knowing where you are going as a coach is essential, but you also have to know how you are going to get there. For example NFL players need to be explosive and need to train explosivity. But how should they do that? Olympic lifting? Jumping? Medicine ball work? Something else? Each method has its benefit, but they all come with costs too and as a coach you have to search for the ways to get the most benefit for the lowest price. And on this week’s episode we start by taking a look at this analysis with Arizona Cardinals strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris. Read more
In the athlete development process Olympic style weight training has occupied a large role. This has both good and bad implications. Olympic style weight lifting is a training method that is excellent for developing power. Competitive Olympic lifting consists of two movements, the clean and jerk and the snatch. The derivatives of those movements are what make up the majority of the training exercises. There is no question of the inherent value of these exercises as a tool to raise explosive power, but the method must be kept in context and reconciled with the overall goal of the strength-training program. Read more
Over the last two weeks I’ve compiled a lot of great information on Olympic weightlifting for throwers. Weightlifting coaches provided their feedback on variations of the lifts for throwers and lifting technique. Elite throwing coaches Dan Lange and Don Babbitt discussed how they implement Olympic lifting in their programs. And I reviewed Greg Everett’s book Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, which provides great teaching progressions for each lift. But in all the great advice each coach gave, one thing was barely mentioned: speed.
I was reminded of this while reading through the final draft of Anatoliy Bondarchuk’s new book Olympian Manual for Strength & Size (available for pre-order here). The book will be published by Ultimate Athlete Concepts in the next few weeks, and unlike my book they are good about meeting deadlines. Jake Jensen has been working diligently on the translation and in my opinion it is the best translated book by Bondarchuk so far and covers a diverse range of topics that he has never written about in English before. I’ve also helped edit the work, which helped me make sure it addresses some of the shortcomings in prior translations.
The coaching roundtable on Olympic weightlifting started last week off by discussing lifting variations and lifting technique with some top Olympic lifting coaches. For this final part I thought it would be best to hear from throwing coaches and see how they actually implement Olympic lifting in their training plans. I was able to talk to two of the top coaches in America, Don Babbitt and Dan Lange, to get their input on the topic.
Don Babbitt has been the throws coach at the University of Georgia for eighteen years in which his athletes captured 12 NCAA titles, and 68 All-American honors. Chris Hill (javelin) and Jenny Dahlgren (hammer) also set NCAA records under his guidance. In addition, he has worked with athletes like Olympic champion Adam Nelson (shot put), Reese Hoffa (shot put), Breaux Greer (javelin), Jason Tunks (discus), Brad Snyder (shot put), Andras Haklits (hammer) and many other international champions.
Dan Lange has the honor of being the only living American to have coached an Olympic hammer throw champion. In 24 years as throws coach for the University of Southern California, Lange’s athletes have won 8 NCAA championships and 58 All-American honors. His most successful athletes have been Balazs Kiss, 1996 Olympic champion and NCAA record holder, and Adam Setliff, who he worked with post-collegiatelly as he qualified for two Olympic finals in the discus. Lange also worked with Kevin McMahon for a season.