Our weightlifting team, East Coast Gold, was developed in 1992. It started as a small, four-man team that was fun but not real impressive in numbers. But, we had the core of great athletes who made it possible to build and develop from there. Now we are one of the biggest teams in the country and we are very active in many USAW activities. We have created lifters and coaches throughout the entire east coast (and beyond) with satellite centers and various sites for training and coaching education. It is a plan that is working!
The team was developed on the premise that the INDIVIDUAL athlete would profit from being on a team. This would be from a lifting standpoint as well as a financial and social aspect. By providing team support, the athlete could perform better if they didn’t have to be concerned with many of the small details that the team could help alleviate. From working in the warm-up room, to developing workout plans, to offering nutritional advice, to helping with rooms and flights, the team is there for the individual. It has turned out that many lifters were seeking such support and wanted to benefit from the team concept. By having the team take care of many of the extrinsic factors, the athlete could really focus on the task at hand – lifting bigger weights!!
As it turned out, the premise sort of snowballed into a much larger picture. After a period of time, the individual was still number one on the priority list, but the team itself was beginning to take on a larger role. Doing well in team competitions became an integral part of the strategy. This improved the individual even more! The motivation of performing for individual improvement as well as boosting the team seemed to help the lifters reach higher heights.
The social aspect of performing with a team is an incredible boost to the lifters as well. Many lifters are out there training alone and have no support at all. By being a member of a team, they are able to train and compete, knowing that no matter what happens, their teammates are there to help and support. This means so much for the individual performances.
There are many awesome teams in the U.S. I feel we are fortunate enough to be counted as one of them. It is because we put the athlete first that the team has succeeded. We continue to grow and prosper and, even though, we are a really large team, through constant communication via the web and team newsletters, we all seem to stay in close touch with each other. We like to view it as a very large family!