Category Archives: Thoughts

Why You Should Consider Becoming an Official

This weekend I tested out to become a USAW National Referee.  Why, you ask?  Well, in case it didn’t occur to you, without officials, there is no sanctioned competition.  I’ve enjoyed competing for many years and it’s important to recognize the efforts of the people who make it happen.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know many officials and witnessed them working hard to make sure competitions are run right.  A few years ago, I noticed the strain this put on a relatively small group of people.  It sounds cool to be a National or International referee, but it does take a good deal of work to officiate at a competition – especially national competitions.  What makes it harder is the small pool of qualified officials to draw from.  This is what motivated me to step up and get my LWC Referee certification and now the National Referee certification.  Eventually, I hope to get to IWF Category 1 Referee, the highest level – able to officiate at the Olympics.

There are additional benefits to becoming certified.  For instance, having a better understanding of the rules of competition and the ins and outs of how a competition is run is a great benefit as a coach or a lifter.  I’ve seen plenty of coaches’ and lifters’ mistakes hurt the athlete’s performance due to a misunderstanding of the rules and procedures followed in competition.   Becoming a referee also enhances a coach’s eye – or a lifter’s eye. That is a huge benefit to aid in perfecting and maintaining proper technique.

Lastly, it’s important to give back.  This is a great sport and, overall, a very supportive community.  I encourage you – yes, you – to step up and join the ranks of technical officials – an integral piece that keeps the sport going.

A word on age

As a master lifter (read.. older athlete), I can speak from experience when it comes to the benefits of weightlifting.  This applies to any physical endeavor – “use it or lose it” – is an absolute truism.  I recently had a good conversation on the subject with my good friend and awesome master lifter, Jim Storch.  Whatever minor aches and pains we get from pushing ourselves to excel in this sport at our age, it pales in comparison to the aches and pains we feel when we don’t workout.  More importantly, as we age we naturally lose bone density.  Numerous  studies have shown that strength training increases bone density at any age, even  if you never trained before.

That said, as you get older, an important part of training – recovery, becomes even more important.  Recovery includes rest, massage therapy (and derivatives), sauna, etc.  If you have a given injury, you need to rehab it and work around it.  “Pushing through” will only make matters worse.  This applies to any athlete, not just master athletes; however, our bodies are less forgiving now than when we were younger.

You CAN continue to improve, especially those of you who started later in life.  Those whose glory days are behind will need to put today’s numbers in perspective.  That said, if you track your Sinclair-Malone-Meltzer numbers, you can see progress relative to age and bodyweight.  Here’s the IWF link to their calculator.

As I get older, my passion for this sport continues to grow.  I truly enjoy the challenge, the camaraderie, and the benefits to my health.  I hope you do, too.

The First Competition

Yesterday, Three of our athletes competed for the first time. All of them performed great, with many personal records tied and surpassed! All of them are new to the sport. This was a great time to enter a meet. There is always anxiety when performing in this setting. It’s important for an athlete to experience this early on, when there is less pressure on how the athlete will stack up against their competition. At this time, it’s all about feeling what it’s like. This is nothing like training in a gym. The competition setting is a great place to hone your skills in overcoming anxiety, using your nervous adrenaline to your advantage, and to learn to focus when your mind is all over the place – a time to build mental strength.

There are other athletes at different levels of skill doing great and having a bad day. There are many teaching points that can be reviewed after the meet. This is the time where the athlete can learn to appreciate having a coach working with them – counting attempts, talking them through this crazy time and, yes, slapping them silly when needed (you’re welcome, Pete). Even though the lifting is an individual effort, the team’s emotional support can have a great impact on the athlete. All these little things are experienced in competition.

After the competition, celebrate! You trained hard and you put it on the line. No matter how long you are in this sport, immediately after competition, the athlete’s mind is racing with all of the things he/she wants to improve to do better the next time. Don’t be too self-critical! We are always hardest on ourselves. Listen to your coach! This is a great time to evaluate your performance and plan to improve it. Do you feel angry about your performance? Use that energy positively, put in more effort, but in a smart way. Hone your technique. The great lifters, lifting what seemed to be ridiculous weight on that platform, didn’t start yesterday. They put the time in and worked at it. There are no shortcuts; you will have to put the time and effort in also. It is absolutely worth it!

Nick, Heather, and Pete – you all rocked it yesterday. You all fought through the challenge and I couldn’t be prouder as your coach. Your teammates and family were there to support you and felt the same way. Ready for the next one?

Greetings

Welcome! This is where I would like to share my passion for weightlifting. The first thing I would like to do is thank everyone who got me started and has supported me through the years.

I guess I should start with Stimpson’s House of Nutrition in Poughkeepsie. They referred me to my Coach and friend, Jim Hanlon over 15 years ago. Jim is a great coach who is the most incredibly generous person I know. He is also a very knowledgeable and skilled coach. My education started with him.

I must also thank:
Tony – a terrific friend, workout buddy and the former Empire State Games Hudson Valley Coach/Weightlifting Chair who turned over those hats to me and continued to support me after I took over. I miss the games.

Leo Totten/East Coast Gold President/Former Olympian – Our team leader and head coach, along with my ECG teammates/Coaches – including Jim Storch & Mike McKenna. Of course, the rock star attached to ECG is Mike Walters – the most amazing masseuse I have ever known!!!

Rob Arroyo – A good friend and Master’s teammate who has joined me for the last few years in competition and supported & inspired me to greater efforts.

Joe Triolo and my friends at Lost Battalion Hall – Joe’s been a great friend and helped me win the 2015 National Master’s Championship.

Additional shout outs to: Dave Miller of Fortius Weightlifting, Osman Manzanares of Nashville Weightlifting Club, Carlos Rivera, and to the next generation of lifters who inspire me to keep going and to share what I’ve learned, like: Nick, Flavia, Jonathon, and Jared Fleming and anyone else I might not have mentioned here.