It’s not every day that a coach has an opportunity to be present at a national level USA Weightlifting event. In this case, Coach Ben will not only be present, he will also be assisting as a coach. A few years ago I had the opportunity to represent Raleigh CrossFit and USAW as a coach at the USAW Regionals in Saint Louis as Coach Alex took the big stage in her first elite-level event. I am therefore very excited for Coach Ben to have the opportunity to do the same and soak up all of the energy and mountains of experience as he attends the 2016 American Open Championship in Orlando, Fla. this weekend.
With this unique opportunity, Coach Ben and I wanted to be able to share what led him to have the chance to see some of the nation’s top lifters and then to follow up afterward. This provides a glimpse into what the event is and all that it involves. He will be our eyes into that world for a few days.
Please read more below about some initial questions and answers leading up to the event.
Tell us why you will be attending the 2016 American Open.
Aside from my interest in the sport of Weightlifting, my best friend (Robyn) qualified as a 53kg female lifter. A large slew of friends and acquaintances from New Mexico have also qualified and will be in attendance.
Is this the first event of its kind/magnitude you have attended?
This is the first National-level USAW event for me.
Editor note: Ben has competed in and coached at several local weightlifting meets.
How did you decide to attend?
Robyn and I started lifting together, and both promised that if either of us made it to the national stage, we’d be there in attendance. It works out in my favor because I was one of her initial coaches, so we are keeping that tradition going and I’ll be assisting her and her full-time coach in the training hall.
Editor Notes: Ben initially started coaching Robyn at Duke City CrossFit in February 2015, and then later at Bear Canyon CrossFit when they both switched gyms. He helped coach her jointly with Grayson (USAW Lvl 2) at her first 3 meets in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM, as well as a non-USAW fundraising mock-meet leading up to 2015 University Nationals, which he was not present for. Ben also competed alongside and coached her at the 2016 Eastern Carolina Open in Greenville, NC this past March.
Robyn is currently a Black Box Brute Squad member and trains and is sponsored by Bear Canyon CrossFit in Albuquerque, NM.
What aspects of the event are you most looking forward to?
On a personal level, I am looking forward to seeing a good chunk of my good friends from NM. On a professional level, the opportunity to have access to the training hall, where the best lifters in the country will be warming up and competing, is pretty incredible. Imagine rubbing shoulders with Katrin or Matt Fraser for example.
What “coachy” things are you hoping to achieve while participating?
Observing elite level coaches and athletes in action.
This is a unique experience to have as a young weightlifting coach. What does that mean to you?
I’m still a very novice coach in the grand scheme of things. These types of events provide a massive learning opportunity, and I intend to soak up as much as possible.
What kind of preparation are you doing as a coach before leaving and while you are there?
Keeping an open communication channel with Robyn and her coach/my friend, Grayson. I have to re-familiarize myself with all of Robyn’s numbers, what attempts she plans to take, how much wiggle room there is for leaderboard switches, how training has been going, current injuries, etc. It’s a lot, actually. Coach gets to play errand boy during the day of competition, too, so making sure your athlete has all of their food/equipment/security blankets in place bears consideration.
After your experience at the Open, how would you like to see your new knowledge put into play at Raleigh CrossFit?
Like any other learning experience, I don’t doubt that I’ll fold new techniques/mobility tips/warm-ups into my repertoire. That’s what makes for a good coach. Fitness/Weightlifting is constantly evolving and it’s absolutely up to a coach to stay abreast of what is going on.
For more information about the event and to follow his friend Robyn and others on the scoreboard, click on the links below.
Robyn will be on team “Black Box Brute Squad” if you want to follow the live stream, click HERE. She begin lifting at 800am, Friday with the 53D session.
Qualifying Totals For The Championship