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Adam Mattiussi is a great up and coming 77kg lifter from England. His best result in competition was a 131kg snatch and a 165kg clean and jerk at the 2014 Under 23 European Championships. This peformance ranked him 7th in the competition. He has a degree in Strength and Conditioning Science from St Mary’s University and is studying for a postgraduate degree in Sports Rehabilitation. Here we discuss how he got started, how he worked around injuries, touch briefly on the Britain system and much more.
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.
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.
Most weightlifting coaches and most participants (athletes, official, or club directors) have to debunk myths or beliefs about the great sport of weightlifting. While there are many beliefs that can find roots in the history, most negative – but popular- beliefs often rely on hear say, a misunderstanding of the sport of weightlifting, or anecdotal evidences. One such belief is that weightlifting is not good for children and teens as in it can stunt their growth, injure their body because it is ”not mature enough”, or that the sport is not a positive one for athletes their age. I would like to change this perception of our sport, as not only do I not believe that this sport is bad for children – but empirical evidences actually support the participation of children and teens in weightlifting.
Assistance exercises are often debated and debaters tend to have a wide range of opinions. I have encountered and discussed with coaches and athletes that defend how useless they think assistance exercises are just like I have encountered coaches and athletes that are so much into assistance exercises that the main lifts just does not get the required attention to make it better. In my discussions, I have noticed that people have different thoughts about different assistance exercises when, actually, I don’t think we really need to single out an assistance exercise more than the other one. The most common argument for the use of certain exercises over others, is specificity. I don’t think assistance exercises need to be that specific to be useful and here are my thoughts on this matter.
In Part 1 of this essay, I covered various strategies and ideas for recruiting young individuals in the sport of weightlifting. I went over the role of the coach or club manager in the recruiting process and on how to sell the sport to young athletes. In part 2, I will go over talent identification and talent screening. I will go over key abilities that I think are good indicators of talent for weightlifting as well as discuss the general concept of talent and personality.
Finding new athletes, especially kids and teens, is of extreme importance for the competitive success of a weightlifting club and overall success of the coach. The coach or the director of the club always has to be on the hunt for new talent and figure a way to keep the kids that are already members of the club. While Crossfit seems to have a positive impact on the promotion of the sport of weightlifting, it tends to attract mostly people of the 20-30 years old age group. In some cases, some of the newly converted athletes can make it and be successful (think Morghan King or Rachel Siemens in Canada). Your best bet for producing a champion or extremely good weightlifter is still about getting kids from the 9-12 years old age group to try weightlifting and keep them in the sport. In the first part of the essay, I’m going over a few ideas of how to recruit and how to approach recruitment. There are many good ways, but I am going over those that I have tried and have worked for me.