Do Your Research!

What makes a person an expert?

There are constant seminars, podcasts and articles with individuals stating that they have the key.  Whether that be helping you move better,  keeping you healthy, or getting you stronger, how do you figure out what is good information and what is just a sales pitch to get you to buy the product?

I was recently coaching a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Coach Certification.  We normally see all ranges of professionals, from Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches to CrossFit Coaches, but regardless of their background they all usually have some type of background in the Olympic Lifts.  During the lecture Ursula asked if anyone knew John Garhammer since a majority of the research that she was quoting was from John, not one person raised their hand.  I casually asked who knew of Jon North, and everyone raised their hands.  This, my friends, is a problem.

So, what is it that makes an expert an expert? And who gets to decide?  First thing, if someone states that their way is the only way, RUN!  Not only is this a sign of pure ignorance, it’s down right dangerous.  Second, just because a company states that someone is an expert, means absolutely nothing.  Third, you need to do some of your own research.  This is essential if you are serious about becoming more educated and a better athlete.  I have always been a huge advocate of educating my athletes. I want them to not only understand what they are doing, but why.  I believe that making this connection is a valuable tool for any coach/athlete.  Now this does not mean that all information coming from  self proclaimed experts is wrong, but you must be critical (even skeptical) of  anything that is presented in a dogmatic fashion.

I’ve specialized in Strength and Conditioning with a focus on the Olympic Lifts for a long time ago, so that is what I feel the most comfortable giving people advice on.  If you’re needing work on CrossFit specific work capacity or sprinting technique, I am going to send you to Coach Aaron.  The same goes for Aaron when one of his athletes needs work on weightlifting.  That is what makes a great coach, being able to know what your knowledge is and not letting your pride get in the way of giving your athletes the best overall package.  I pride myself on the fact that for nearly nine years I have been in this industry and I have constantly surrounded myself with coaches that are better than me.  That way I have a lot of professionals that I can reach out to if need be.

I want to challenge all of you at CrossFit Austin/SouthSide Athletics to empower yourselves.  Do your research, and makes sure that the research you read is thoroughly proven.  Below I’ve included some fantastic articles/research on the Olympic Lifts that I wanted to make available.

-Coach Thomas

Garhammer, J. and B. Takano. “Training For Weightlifting”. In: Strength and Power in Sport  (P.V. Komi, ed.), THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OFSPORTSMEDICINE, Volume 3, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, England. Chapter 16, pp. 357-369, 1992.

** Garhammer, J. “Weight Lifting & Training” (Chapter 5, pp.169-211). In: Biomechanics of Sport