As I’ve returned from the Texas State Weightlifting Championships and Open, I once again have a chance to reflect on why Olympic Weightlifting impresses me so much. As a parent and overall fan, I’ve learned a lot about this amazing sport; can’t help but to blog about it! Here’s my take….
Olympic Weightlifting is a year-round sport which certainly requires an athlete to be disciplined to stay the road among other sports seasons. The thing is though, it’s not an overload of overlapping; it’s a tremendous benefit to the athlete to weight train consistently and reap the benefits that come while in any other current sport season.
While Olympic weight training can be intense, the time invested is quite manageable. It’s often the case to have training every other day for approximately an hour and a half during the school year which meets the needs of the developing athletes according to their level and age.
The training is adjusted at times to fit, in particular, during football season because of the physical demands given to that sport. Olympic weightlifting certainly isn’t shelved though – its efforts & benefits continue to show in explosiveness off the line and in core strength and power. The football / Olympic Weightlifters are the best prepared ones on the field!
This sport is unique in that it’s highly individual AND team. In fact, the overall support I see from ALL lifters, trainers, and coaches at meets, for example, is something I’ve not experienced before.
Naturally, an individual can only do as much as would be within reach (actually just out-of-reach to stretch towards the next goal) of one’s physical body capabilities – age, weight, flexibility, muscle development, strength – and then individual goals are set. It stands to reason then that not everyone can actually go for first place in their age and weight category but each can go for personal goals, personal records (in training and competition), and best individual totals. It’s the athletes who are nearly equal across these areas and are at a peak through training who are jockeying for first, second, and third overall in their division. It’s true, I’m on the other side of the warm up area, but from what I’ve gleaned, there isn’t underhanded play or trash talking from athlete to athlete or club to club as sometimes happens among sport teams. The weightlifting athletes from youngest to oldest, smallest to largest, are by far the most diverse and overall supportive group of athletes, for each other and for the sport itself, that I’ve ever seen.
The team/club aspect of Olympic weightlifting is similar to any team sport in that there is support and encouragement, the “all for one and one for all” spirit. Team awards are often given at meets. However, the team becomes best through individual bests. It behooves the team to build a strong accountability and individual goal setting system along with pride for the purpose of team.
Each unique club make up defines who they are. Lone Star started at POPCS, so this club is school-aged youth from our youngest lifter in 3rd grade to our oldest school lifter, a junior in high school. You can imagine the possibilities – the role modeling opportunities, the encouragement, the camaraderie, the challenges given lifter to lifter, and the accountability factor among young to older which can all help take a program from good to great if they are in place. How will this happen?
Here comes the ‘coach factor.’
Dedicated athletes are good. Dedicated athletes with strong leadership become great. I’m talking about becoming great from inside to out. This is the training for life stuff, the qualities that one learns that will carry forward throughout many situations in the future, sports related or not. So, you don’t have to guess at what has made Lone Star the great club that it has become – our coach.
Our coach is an influential Christian leader among our lifters. He offers support to the athletes and families beyond the weight room. He is highly respected for running the club the way that he does. Lone Star Weightlifting has been his doing. The care, standards, expectations, and ideals that he sets forth have made this program extremely successful. It is a blessing beyond measure to have him and our Christian school setting where the core of self is grounded in Christ and we learn and live out the faith day by day.
As our coach prepares to move out-of-state, we prepare to hold in place that which he has established. Coach D, you will be missed so very much. Know that your influence will be carried by your athletes for a lifetime!