Last week, I attended the Level 1 Strength Coach course at Eleiko in Halmstad, Sweden. My expectations before the 3-day course were sky-high, as Eleiko is the number one manufacturer of weightlifting equipment.
The course conductor Anders Lindsjö did a great job on making the at times complex information accessible for everyone regardless of experience level. His approach on coaching is very straight-forward and combines decades of practical experience as top-level weightlifter and coach with impressing insight into the fields of coaching and psychology. I personally really liked his “no nonsense” and very holistic view on spotting and feedback and enjoyed that I didn’t have to spend hours with a broomstick overhead while having my “snatch technique” picked apart. On this course you’re allowed to lift “real” weights up until a point where corrections are actually needed.
In regards to coaching philosophy, I found his references to Søren Kierkegaard very inspiring. One example could be:
“To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner, put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and the way he understands it.”
The focus of the course was definitely how to become a better coach and not how to improve your own technique. For me this was a perfect match, but it is something to be aware of before signing up. That being said, the course did include a lot of practical sessions – but like Anders said ” you lift for your fellow course-participants – not for your self “. Seeing someone lift and having to give them feedback is the absolute best way to develop as a coach.
The only drawback to this course was that it’s hardly something that stands alone. The course covers the fundamentals behind the olympic lifts, but not the actual snatch and clean & jerk. In that way, it serves as an annoyingly efficient ‘appetizer’ that leaves participants hungry for the level 2 course.
Overall, I was very pleased with the course and the level of both location and coaching was outstanding. Eleiko proved once again why they are the best at what they do: they are truly passionate. The enthusiasm for weightlifting from both the Eleiko staff and fellow course participants was inspiring and made my stay in Halmstad a great learning experience.
Good points that I took home from Eleiko Strength Coach:
Always instruct your trainees at the level they are at right now. If you try to give out instructions that are far beyond their knowledge or experience you are really only doing this to boost your own ego.
Don’t coach people on weights that are “too easy” (if you are dealing with somewhat experienced lifters). The major errors normally only show when people are pushed out of their comfort zone. If a lift looks easy and feels easy for the person doing it, don’t spend time correcting small irregularities.
Nobody’s perfect ! If you take time to look at different world-class lifters, they are all extremely proficient at solving the task of lifting REAL heavy shit – but none of them are performing the lifts in the same way. Small variations in grip width, foot stance, set-up position etc are all compensations done to match the lifter’s temper, mobility and different lever arms. To be a great coach you must be able to distinguish ‘nice to have’ from ‘need to have’.
Check out Eleiko’s educations here: http://www.eleikosport.se/education/Course.asp?PageNumber=3&Course_Id=60&CourseCategory_Id=6