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USA Weightlifting hosts coaches from around the world at 2018 Coaching Symposium

July 20-22 CHICAGO, IL- Weightlifting coaches from across the United States and the world came together in Chicago, IL over the weekend, as USA Weightlifting hosted their inaugural Coaching Symposium. Over the course of three days, participants learned from internationally renowned leaders in the sport industry, including national level coaches, medical doctors, nutritionists and strength and conditioning professionals.

With many thanks to the International Weightlifting Federation’s Development Program, coaches from Canada, Barbados, The Bahamas, Guyana, Uruguay, Aruba, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago attended the symposium. USAW looks forward to continuing to encourage athletes and coaches in these nations as we work together to further the sport of Weightlifting.

USAW also hosted coaches Eduards Andruskevics and Michael Vater of Latvia and Germany, respectively. Andruskevics is a former Latvian National Champion turned accomplished coach. He spoke about the importance of a strict training program while preparing for an international competition using his current athlete, Rebeka Koha’s, schedule as an example. Vater coached alongside Frank Mantek as co-coach of the German national weightlifting team from 2004-2012, producing 2008 Olympic champion Matthias Steiner. He gave symposium participants an in-depth look at the German training methodology.

Other speakers included the Director of Coaching for the USOC, Chris Snyder, and legendary strength coach Al Vermeil, the only person to have held head strength coach positions with NFL, NBA and MLS teams.

Nutritionist and National Champion USA Powerlifter, Dr. Layne Norton, taught coaches how to help athletes cut weight while minimizing a decrease in performance. Robert Panariello, a nationally sought-after consultant spoke about coaching athletes to a return to play and injury prevention. Physical therapist, Dr. Quinn Henoch, also spoke about modifying training to help an athlete to recover from injury, while Dr. Trevor Pfaendtner, an Osteopathic Physician spoke about how coaches can help encourage an athlete’s overall health.

Many of the top coaches in the United States were on hand to share their expertise on panel discussions. Coaches Dave Spitz of Cal Strength, Derrick Johnson of The Kings of Weightlifting, and Kerri Goodrich of Performance Initiatives shared advice about building a business model for gyms that are either for profit or not for profit. Coaches Ben Hwa of Team Divergent, Travis Mash of Mash Elite and Dane Miller of Garage Strength spoke about how they developed their club models. The last panel discussion included coaches Tim Swords of Team Houston, Danny Camargo of Team OC and Kevin Simons of Team Alpha who shared their strategies for developing a performance model that produces elite athletes.

In a continuing effort to encourage clean sport worldwide, USAW welcomed the United States Anti-doping Agency’s Olympic Education Coordinator, Cathlyn Pistolas, who taught coaches how to help their athletes succeed by understanding their rights and responsibilities during the anti-doping process. She shared resources such as the World Anti-Doping Prohibited list (, and the Play Clean Tip Center ( Pistolas warned against the use of dietary supplements, due to the limited regulation of the industry. This presentation was given just days after USAW and the IWF announced a partnership with USADA to combine resources and provide anti-doping education to weightlifters around the world.

Mike Gattone, USAW’s Senior Director of Sports Performance and Coaching Education, along with CEO, Phil Andrews, gave an update on their current performance initiatives, including fostering high performance in a decentralized system. Goals include continuing to improve communication and competition preparation, while earning medals on the international stage. Team USA just returned home after a historic Junior World Championships, where they earned 18 medals, more than ever before. Team USA Women claimed first place overall in the team competition for the first time since 2001.

USA Weightlifting wants to continue to bring its coaches together at an annual symposium. Plans for a 2019 USA Weightlifting Coaching Symposium are in the works.

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