British Weight Lifting

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World Class Programme Update: Elite Squads kick off

World Class Programme update from Performance Director, Tommy Yule

This month saw the start of the new Elite Squads for men and women at Loughborough University.

The elite squads are for the top-ranked British lifters who have the potential to progress and represent Great Britain at major senior international events. Lifters are not only invited based on their current performance level but on their character skills (hard working, positive, focused, motivated, accountable, respectful and honest).

The main goal of the elite squads is to have a critical mass of the best lifters training together to create a motivating training environment. Secondly, it is an opportunity to explore factors limiting progress and to find ways to support the lifter and their coach.

The first squads are a start point and they will develop once there is evidence of how productive they are and there is a greater understanding of what is required to support performance. The squads are for the lifters and with their full engagement we will learn what works, what doesn’t and what else should be done to maximise the chances for them all to keep progressing.

The number of lifters in each of the squads is limited to 8. The first squads saw Natasha Perdue, Emily Godley, Rebekah Tiler, Faye Pitman, Mercy Brown train together on the 7th December and Sonny Webster, Shaun Clegg, Jack Oliver, Christos Michaelas, Adam Mattiussi & Cathal Byrd training on the 14th Dec.

The coaching on the squads is led by BWLs Head Coach, Tamas Feher. All personal coaches are invited and it was great to see Ed Halstead and Andy Michaelas in attendance on the female and male squads respectively.

Support on these squads will grow, but these squads saw the start of a strength diagnostic project delivered by the English Institute of Sport. The maximal strength capability in three key positions of the pull (start position, bar at knees and bar in the power position of second pull) was measured by an isometric pull. The maximal force generate was recorded. The explosive strength and power capabilities were measured through a series of maximal effort jumps with different loads. Longitudinal data from these tests will be collected to shed light on how training actually change fundamental strength qualities related to weightlifting performance. Ultimately, the point is that the information is used by the personal coached to inform some of the decisions that are made around training, such as exercise selection and loadings.

Alongside collecting information on strength, the lifters’ snatch and clean and jerk were captured on video and analysed with weightlifting software that provides details of the biomechanics of the lifts including the force production at the three key positions, bar path and bar speed.

In addition to the strength diagnostics and technical analysis, nutritional support was provided where lifters had to the opportunity to ask advice and have their body composition measured.

UK Sport World Class Performance Conference (WCPC)

Tamas Feher and Tommy Yule attended the annual WCPC which took place at the Midland Hotel in Manchester last month.

The conference theme was about how to focus minds and efforts to continuously break new ground with a view to creating a stronger and more sustainable high performance systems. Presenters from business, entertainment, education and sport shared insights into their philosophies into maximizing progress and achieving success.

The common theme was that success is founded on creating a culture in which people are empowered to discover what they have to do to achieve what they want and have the motivation and energy to continuously find ways to work with others to improve.