Most weightlifting coaches and most participants (athletes, official, or club directors) have to debunk myths or beliefs about the great sport of weightlifting. While there are many beliefs that can find roots in the history, most negative – but popular- beliefs often rely on hear say, a misunderstanding of the sport of weightlifting, or anecdotal evidences. One such belief is that weightlifting is not good for children and teens as in it can stunt their growth, injure their body because it is ”not mature enough”, or that the sport is not a positive one for athletes their age. I would like to change this perception of our sport, as not only do I not believe that this sport is bad for children – but empirical evidences actually support the participation of children and teens in weightlifting.
I wrote this short essay to help shed light on the belief that weightlifting is a bad activity for children and teens. I used data from scientific inquiries rather than anecdotal evidences. I give my approval to any coach or club who wants to use/share this essay at their club or with parents of children they coach. All I ask for is to be credited for it (I.E : don’t remove my name). Thanks.
I can not put words – or select actions- for every coaches involved in this sport and can only speak for myself and I refuse to subject myself to the use of anecdotal data only to justify my actions and beliefs. Injuries, for instance, can happen in any sports and any lifestyle activities such as driving a car or crossing a street. The role of the professional coach, however, is to be conscious of the risks and reduce all risks to the minimum.
Like any fields (whether professional or sporting fields), some people know better than others which means that some people understand better the reality of their fields and what to do. For instance, when working with young individuals, it is your duty as a coach to create age specific programs that results in technique education, balanced development of the body, improved psychological ability (self esteem, good sportsmanship, and appreciation for hard work) and adequate development of athletic attributes. All of that has to happen in a supervised and safe environment. This is more than my firm belief, it is also my motto. Moreover, I think that overlooking these aspects is failing to do your job.