By Bob Takano—Member, USAW Hall of Fame

The current American weightlifting community is abounding with courses, some geared toward athletes but with a large percentage directed at coaches.  The first courses were offered by USAW and started back in the 1980’s.  They were directed at individuals interested in developing their coaching proficiency to the point where they could produce competitive weightlifters.  Times have changed, however, and the majority of coaching candidates want to learn coaching techniques in order to serve their interests as Crossfit instructors and strength & coaching coaches.  This has created a thriving market that needs the courses, and consequently many different instructors and organizationshave developed courses that could be easily consumed in a weekend and a certificate could be awarded.

What’s Missing?

None of them however contain a hands-on component where a new coach can job shadow an experienced coach and subsequently attempt to coach and teach weightlifting to athletes.  In order to add this important next step to the education of new and aspiring coaches, we’ve developed a coaching internship directly focused on the needs of new coaches entering either the strength and conditioning or weightlifting realms.

The Practicum

Many people anxious to enter these fields have never actually watched an experienced coach work with athletes.  Our interns get to watch me and interact with me as I coach athletes at a wide range of ability levels.  One of the keys to successful coaching is to know how much or how little to coach, and this is best learned by job shadowing an experienced coach.  I have coached thousands of weightlifters and other athletes over the years and as such have developed the coaching instincts necessary to make my coaching most effective.  Watching this process unfold is invaluable for new coaches.

All interns are given the opportunity to teach the lifts to new lifters and to point out technical errors to more experienced athletes.  This is perhaps, the most important opportunity that they are afforded during the internship.

The Setting We Offer

Our facility is dedicated to weightlifting coaching and strength and conditioning.  The majority of athletes are involved in competition or are considering it as an end goal.  Our facility is stand alone and not shared with other distractions occurring simultaneously. 

Our Community

The intent I’ve had from the inception of our programs has been to develop a community of competitive athletes guided by a staff of coaches and interns dedicated to improving their coaching skills.  With both groups supporting each other I feel we’ve developed a unique atmosphere where coaching education can flourish and expand. 

Guided Coaching Instruction

When our interns begin to coach beginners they are provided with a list of the most effective learning exercises, rep and set schemes geared toward learning and the consistent supervision of our veteran coaches.  This guided instruction provides a great deal of experience as to the most effective strategies for coaching weightlifting to a wide variety of athletes.

The Program History

We started the internship in 2014 shortly after we opened the Takano Athletics gym.  Our first intern was Sam Chang who went on to complete his degree in exercise science and has been coaching weightlifting and strength and conditioning.  Quite a number have gone on to open their own gyms and/or start their own weightlifting programs.  They include Clancy Benton, Aaron Black, Fred Callori, Shannon Franklin, Arlene Alpuerto, Harrison Wolf and Jenny Schumacher.  

Aaron, Jenny, Shannon, Harrison, Fred and Clancy have been taking athletes to national level events.  Shannon has teamed with another intern, Arbi Megerdomian, in coaching two national champions, while Fred has coached a bronze medalist at Nationals.  Aaron has coached a youth national champion and is currently strength coaching the Air Force women’s Rugby team.

Brandon Chien is now the coach at the Eleiko training center in the Bay Area and Oktay Huseyin is now the strength and conditioning coach for the Irish Tennis team.  Julius Teuber has been coaching strength and conditioning for Hannover 96, a German first division soccer team, and is moving to Rome to pursue a Master’s in physical activity.  Norbert Keshishbanoocy is working on his Master’s in Strength and Conditioning at Edith Cowan University in Australia while simultaneously doing strength and conditioning at a variety of programs. 

Grazzi Favorato was one of the supervisors in the weightlifting training hall at the Rio Olympics this past summer and is now opening up her own coaching business in Sao Paulo. 

I feel remiss as I’m sure I’ve omitted some of my interns’ accomplishment, but I think that it is obvious that the internship provided them with the confidence and enthusiasm to pursue their goals even more vigorously.  Others of the 30 that have matriculated from the program are in search of more opportunities and I’m sure that the list of accomplishments will grow. 

If You Are Interested

We’re looking for people who know how to perform the snatch and clean & jerk with some proficiency, and with some experience at coaching sports.  Teaching skills are also highly regarded. 

We will expect you to spend 100 hours at our facility actively coaching athletes.  You can do this in portions of at least 10 hours per week, although many prefer to temporarily relocate to the area around Woodland Hills and finish their hours in 2 ½ weeks. 

It is also highly advisable that you read my book Weightlifting Programming as this topic will be tested at the end of the internship.  

If you are ready

Please click on the following link for complete details and application. -