Six Thousands of Qualified Weightlifting Coaches, No Champions

Written by | Posted under Weightlifting Voodoo Black Magic Secret | 5 years ago

Zygmunt Smalcerz, Olympic Weightlifting Gold Medalist, and US National Coach honestly about USA Weightlifting conditions and results:


Kendrick Farris was behind Adrian Zielinski by 30kg/66lbs in the Olympics. Americans are third world weightlifting country. They can train in Colorado Springs where they get free room and board, but really no spending money. In their free time, they do odd jobs such as babysitting or working in a restaurant, and these jobs are relatively easy to find. But this is no way to become a successful weightlifter.

adrian jerk

Adrian Zielinski

American weightlifters do not have less talent than in Polish counterparts. If you compare results of under 16 years old lifters from both countries, young Americans outlift Poles. However, as they get older, the situation changes, Poles continue to improve, and Americans stagnate. Perhaps in the US, parents tend to concentrate more on their kids’ education. There is hope that if the results improve, we would be able to get more funding.


As a side note, young Polish lifters generally focus more on general preparation and athleticism early in their career, and only later, after puberty, start lifting heavy weights. Under 14 years old, Polish kids compete only in competitions where they get points for technique, not weight on the bar.


Zygmunt Smalcerz

Zygmunt Smalcerz

We cannot complain about the conditions (facilities) to train weightlifting in the US. We can only complain about lack of funding. If I have $3000 budget for recovery, and 1 hour of massage is $50…

We are one of the worst funded sports, only hand ball is in similar situation.


To be honest, I did a lot of work here in the US, especially coaching the coaches, and teaching the basics. Officially, there are six thousands certified coaches in the US, and only three thousands lifters.

But in reality, most of them just get the certification in order to work in different kinds of sport facilities and weightlifting is some sort of addition to their fitness related businesses.


The olympic trials were performed in March, where 3 weightlifters qualified. This is much too early. The trials should be closer to June – July like it is in swimming or track and field. So weightlifters could have gone to sleep and not do a thing. And this is an approach of some, total lack of professionalism.

kasabijew rwanie gora

Arsen Kasabijev

As a side note, Piotr Wysocki, Polish Junior National Coach and ex-weightlifter (172.5kg/380lbs snatch, 220kg/485lbs clean and jerk, 300kg/660lbs squat) has a negative opinion on qualifying trials himself. Based on my experience, I avoid the trails that decide who will be on the team going to go to international competitions. Those trails tend to burn out the lifters. The goal is good performance at the international competition, not at the trial! Typically, after the trail the lifters loses all air like an empty balloon, and this is not good for lifting. I’ve been avoiding internal qualifying events for the last 2 years and so far I see positive results of this approach, the made to miss attempt ratio has been 70-80% in international competitions.


Another side note, Polish coaching team typically decides collectively who will go to the Olympics based on health, recent performance, and competitiveness of certain weight class (possibility of getting a medal). There are no direct Olympic trials. For example, to qualify for 2012 Olympics, Kasabijev coming back after and injury lifted 140kg in snatch and 170kg in clean and jerk in internal national team test about a month before the games. That is less than 80% of his best result. Coaching is an art! Good coaches can tell who is in good shape and who is likely to improve performance.


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