Feb 27, 2002

Track Clinic Reflections

“The value of any action lies in seeing it through to the end." -Genghis Khan

This article is in response to the clinic that I spoke at opposite a coach who was an Olympic lifting advocate. This is also a message to collegiate strength coaches primarily. It is time to stop influencing high school coaches to do the Olympic lifts. Collegiate coaches are brainwashing high school coaches into thinking that these quick lifts develop power and explosiveness while ignoring the safety of our athletes. This is unprofessional and unethical.

These may sound like harsh words but I'll tell you just what I told those in attendance at the clinic, "I am not judgmental or argumentative about strength training. I know, we as coaches, all want what is best for our athletes and I honor and respect that. I am passionate about what I believe and mean no disrespect concerning what you may or may not do with your kids in the weight room." However, it seems that many in attendance were turned off as soon as I gave them an alternative idea. Why?

Athletic directors and strength associations should put a stop to this bashing of non-Olympic philosophies for the sake of our athletes well being. Looking the other way and ignoring athletes complaints about back injuries is flat out WRONG. Research that StongerAthletes.com has found that support the use of Olympic lifts are misleading and not scientifically sound. We have not seen one bit of evidence that these lifts are safer than slow controlled movements and are productive in developing power.

The Olympic lifting coach's view point in the clinic indicated that the slow controlled movements such as squats and bench press are the exercises that athletes get injured. “I have never seen a single injury in 13 years when athletes perform Olympic lifts.” However, when speaking with a different coach after the session, he indicated that he had numerous injuries with his athletes when he had them do Olympic lifts. He no longer incorporates them in his program and has the some of the best pole vaulters in the state at the high school level and has coached some of the best in the nation at the collegiate level while not doing the quick lifts. Guys, all this means is that the Olympic lifts are not mandatory for athletic success!

StrongerAthletes.com maintains that programs that involve Olympic lifts are inefficient because of the amount of coaching that is involved to do these exercises with perfect form. The Olympic lift coach responded that it doesn’t require that much coaching.

After the session, a coach approached us and told us about her rehabilitation of her torn ACL, she said that her doctor told her to do Jump Squats to strengthen the area as part of her rehabilitation. Is this sound advice? Come on!

Our previous article indicated that many coaches are closed minded when it comes to new philosophies. [See Be Open Minded] We believe that most coaches in the audience were very attentive and really tried to see our viewpoints. The only individuals that did not try to see the logic in our viewpoint was a local football coach who rolled his eyes at every statement I made and my fellow speaker who advocates Olympic lifts.

All this being said, I really look forward to visiting with many of you at the upcoming conference in Blaine, Minnesota. Hopefully we can share some ideas and strategies for others in our profession to take us and the issue of weight room safety more seriously.

Coach Rody


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