In June, the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy paid a visit to the Olympic Training Center to learn more about the benefits of Olympic weightlifting implemented into his athletes’ trainings.
Eventually the club would like to host a few sanctioned USAW competitions; therefore to generate more excitement among their athletes, the Academy took its skiers and snowboarders down see how some of America’s top weightlifters train first hand.
Rob Worrell (RW), director at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, answered a couple of questions about the group’s visit.
Could you describe everyone’s general reaction to visiting the OTC? Did it “build some excitement” like you had hoped?
RW - The boys were very excited about what they were able to witness. For myself, I love to observe how other coaches/sports run a training session. I love to evaluate/compare how other programs operate compared to our sport or conditioning program.
What did you think of the athletes you saw?
RW - We observed various types of bodies at this training session, which is really cool about Olympic lifting. You have heavy weights to flyweights. Also you had athletes who were competing in other sports (current and past), so it’s great to see opportunities to be involved in more than one Olympic sport.
What was your impression of the facilities and coach Zygmunt?
RW - Very simple, but yet very specific/practical facilities. No fluff or special machines. The video program which was delayed was very impressive. Coach Zygmunt was very to the point, not a lot of useless words. He gave quick tidbits on where he made adjustments, which is how coaching should be. We liked how he got everyone got quiet when a big lift was happening, and then the team camaraderie when the attempt was successful.
What are some of the things you learned on your trip to the OTC?
RW - Your sports training is very specific, get in, get down to business. Very much the same as our training for ski racing. Not a lot of auxiliary lifts or drills, just plain old lifting.
Do you feel that the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy and your athletes will be able to implement any of the lifts or exercises you witnessed at the OTC into their own training?
RW - Most definitely. I like how it wasn't a lot of different, crazy exercises. There are very specific lifts to your sport and the athletes spent the whole session on the same lifts. Lots of lifting was done.
Do any of your athletes do any of the current exercises you witnessed? If so, which ones and what particular aspect of their sport do you think the exercises help them in?
RW - Yes: Clean, squats, snatch, overhead squats. The Olympic lifts take courage and commitment. Very much the same mentality it takes to ski down the mountain fast.
Besides being able to sanction USAW competitions, what are some of the advantages for Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy to become more competent in Olympic lifting?
RW - We need more strength and flexibility in our athletes so that’s our main objective. As far as competition: Competition drives training, so I figure if we can compete in lifting, then we will be more committed to the lifting in training.