Programming is often considered an art and a science at the same time. Different countries have different ways of planning the year of their lifters – in terms of exercise selection, volume/tonnage, intensity/%, frequency of training and focus of training (some are more strength oriented and some are more technique oriented). As anything sports oriented, coaches like to argue over which program is better and/or which country’s influence makes more sense and/or what works/does not work for them in their practice. On the other hand, for better or worse, athletes live and die by that program as if their whole success depends on completing every sets and reps written down.
Better late than never…Happy new year to everybody! For me, 2014 has been crazy with experiences, athlete recruitment, athlete development, programming and travelling for competition and a few seminars. Looking back, it was a great year for myself and for weightlifting generally. Of course, I haven’t been able to post as regularly on here due to all those hours I spent in the gym coaching. Working with so many people, so many different age groups and so many different personnalities, I feel like I bettered myself as a coach. Methodologies are not fixed and learning how to adapt your approach to get your point across is necessary and takes trial and errors (Humans are indeniably biologically different). Here are 5 things that I either learned, dealt with or paid more attention to during last year cycle. I feel like they are good lessons and might change your training, your results and the outcome of your competition.
I had the chance to contact Lydia Valentin – who is arguably one of the greatest female lifter at the moment – through her friend Sayra Yever. I would like to thank her for help in getting in contact with Lydia and for her translation skills. Lydia’s achievements are many in the 75kg- category: 6th at the 2007 World’s, Bronze at the 2013 world’s, 5th and 4th at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics respectively, and after many bronze and silver medals, she also got gold at the 2014 Europeans. This is a rather brief interview were we discussed how she got started, her plans and more.
Without further ado, here is the interview with Lydia Valentin.
Coaching weightlifting is my full time job and I would argue that I could not have a better job. I love weightlifting, I love teaching it and I love working with different people from very young kids (my youngest athlete is 7 years old) to much older athletes. In my mind, recruiting is tied to how people perceive you and if they are willing to trust you. Trust is possible if you know what you are talking about and if you come off as a good person.
Developing a high level athlete of any sports takes time and steps cannot be skipped. A young talented athlete needs proper support from the family as well as proper financial support for all the expenses that can be encountered (food, transport, physio, equipment, etc.). A young athlete also needs dedication and discipline (ie : not missing practice and doing the work). The coach, however, is there to lead the athlete on the right path and to make the athlete reach his/her potential fully. Yet, in weightlifting, many often forget about how important stages are and get carried away with weights.
Small details matter in weightlifting, especially from a coaching stand point. When discussing small details of technique, some may say that it is just geeking out or over analysis. Small details are what explain success or lack of success in our sport. I firmly believe in coaching and teaching precise technique and this requires that I pay attention to tiny details and that the athlete work on making those details second nature (ie ; become technically efficient). For instance, many people have trouble being fast under the bar or have to pull really high and ride it down. More often than not, this is due to improper hip action at the end of the second pull which messes with the flow of the lift.
Training methodologies have evolved since the sport was developed. We could probably say that without any doub training methodologies were first refined as a result of different decisions made by sport authorities in regard to competition. For instance, weightlifting used to have single arm events and abolishing those events must have had an impact on how people trained after it was removed from competition. Hence, dumbbell and one handed snatches have pretty much disappeared from most programs around the world.