How do I become a Good Olympic Weightlifting Coach?
Is this someone you’ve asked yourself? Perhaps this has crossed your mind as you compare yourself to the coaches around you. Furthermore, is this question important to you? I suppose if you’re reading this article, then it probably is.
I wish I could say, you will become a good weightlifting coach if you… as if there was a universally finite list. There isn’t. The question is subjective to your own internal value hierarchy, which can change at any moment in time.
For example, if you place strong emphasis on the technical aspects of Olympic Weightlifting, then you might gravitate towards coaches who have read all the books, seen and analysed every lifter from every country.
On the contrary, if you place strong emphasis on a coach’s ability to communicate, then you might gravitate towards coaches who have a diverse range of clientele.
Let’s return to the title question – how do I become a good Olympic Weightlifting Coach?
Determine the value hierarchy that is important to you first – and identify the areas in which you are weak. Then, aim at improving each area.
Personally, I place high emphasis on the technical, communication and experiential side of coaching. Allow me to explain.
The technical elements of coaching for me encompass technique understanding and programming considerations (balance between performance and injury mitigation). Hence, I know I will be closer to a good coach if I have a strong understanding of the technical elements the movements. I should be able to understand programming approaches depending on the cycle my lifter is in. For example, I start all my lifters with a pre-screen because I place injury mitigation at the top of my technical hierarchy. You can read more about that here.
Secondly, being able to communicate your ideas is arguably the most important component in my value hierarchy (although I struggle to determine which is definitively more valuable). As technical as one can be, an inability to convey this knowledge renders ones’ knowledge largely useless in the context of coaching. Not only should you be able articulate your ideas clearly, but you should be able to do so across a variety of dispositions.
Apart from being able to articulate your ideas, I believe another sign of good communication is the ability to persuade. Many times you will encounter disagreeable lifters (although they are being coached by you). The art of communication is the ability to persuade without coming across authoritarian.
Third, a good coach is in tune with the experience the lifter seeks. Not every lifter will seek an Olympic Weightlifting Coach for the sake of competition. Some will approach you because they want to ‘try new things.’ Some will approach you because they ‘want to be out of their comfort zone.’
Others may come to you for validation purposes stemming from a lack of self-confidence. By understanding what the person in front of you truly seeks, you are better able to tailor your coaching style to improve their experience. In twenty or thirty years, most will remember the experience they had with weightlifting, not how technical the snatch and clean and jerk were.
You might disagree with the points from this article and that is completely fine. You will disagree because your internal value hierarchy is different to mine and if so, then you are already on your way to becoming a ‘good’ Olympic Weightlifting coach as long as you are aiming to be exceptional at your value system.