BECOMING A RESOURCE
As coaches, we come to learn that in order to ensure the positive development of our athletes, we must look far past the here and now in order guide them along the right path. Often times, this process includes many other contributions to their training environments outside of strictly coaching them inside the gym and the same goes for our community at large.
Our mission statement for Keep Pulling as an organization has always been to differentiate ourselves as an Olympic Weightlifting Resource as opposed to being a facility where Weightlifting takes place. A resource defined as “a source of supply or support,” which to us, in the Weightlifting world, means creating an infrastructure and support system that:
Introduces people to the sport of Weightlifting
Provides classes, courses, and programs that support proper Weightlifting development
Educates and mentors aspiring Weightlifting coaches
Creates opportunities for new and seasoned competitors to participate in the sport
Brings like-minded athletes and coaches together on a regular basis
Ensures a fun and positive experience for all
...and much more.
In order to create this type of environment, we have implemented many different types of programs that are intended to expand our local and statewide communities through Weightlifting training and coaching, Weightlifting meetups, and additional forms awareness and engagement.
WEIGHTLIFTING TRAINING AND COACHING
This is the obvious go-to -- We are specialized coaches that offer a specialized product within a specific athletic demographic, so naturally we will make this service available to those who are seeking it. With any minimal amount of marketing and networking, this offering can do its part organically to attract lifters and clients, though the key is to be inclusive of all ages and experience levels, from novice to elite.
Including our two physical club locations in the Tampa Bay Area and our Remote Coaching Programs spanning the globe, the overwhelming majority of our lifters are at either the novice or intermediate level. We have to remember that the elite athletes make up a small percentage of the overall lifting population and it would be unreasonable to assume that platforms and colored weights will only attract high-level competitors.
Our focus has been, and always will be, developing lifters and athletes within all stages of the sport and this inclusion ensures the growth and popularity of Weightlifting at both ends of the spectrum. Everybody starts somewhere (coaches included) and if we are willing and able to pour as much effort into our beginners as we do our more seasoned lifters, we can ensure a positive sport experience at the very least every single time.
In the Summer of 2013, we held our first community meetup. We put out an open invitation to friends and neighboring gyms in the area to come by on a Saturday and lift together. There was no real “structure” in terms of class direction or coaching, necessarily, but it was done more as an opportunity to bring like-minded people together under the name of Weightlifting.
To this day, we still run our Weightlifting Meetups quarterly. These are free events that we host which have gone from 10 people and a playlist to having consistently over 50 people, a live DJ, and local business vendors on-site. While they are one of our more “relaxed” events, we still aim to make these fun and inviting as it has become an anticipated way for people in our local communities to come together to train and socialize.
Again, the common theme is inclusion -- should any clubs want to try holding similar events in their area, do not be afraid to reach out to surrounding gyms to open a conversation. The focus for these types of events should be providing an outlet and experience for the community as a whole!
AWARENESS AND ENGAGEMENT
Ideally, everything we do as a resource puts awareness at the forefront of any initiative, but one of our favorite events of the year that allows us to bring Weightlifting to the masses is called the Great American Teach In.
Every year, public schools across the nation invite industry experts to speak in the classroom about their careers and/or industry. Keep Pulling has participated at a local magnet middle school since 2016 speaking to kids primarily about small business ownership as it relates to running and managing multiple Weightlifting clubs. We play games and trivia, allow time for Q&A, and give 160+ students the opportunity to try Weightlifting at school.
I would encourage every club owner to check their local school district to see if they offer something similar. The only thing it requires is time!
Additionally, Keep Pulling hosts 3 USA Weightlifting competitions per year, has developed a Coaching Mentorship and Development program curriculum that is an approved internship program for the University of Tampa, and is the sponsor of USF Weightlifting, a student-run University Club lead by students from our Weightlifting club.
These are just a handful of the programs that we offer to encourage growth within the sport of Weightlifting. All in all, coaching is inherently a selfless action as creating a true community should be as well. We often say that “Community is more than just a hashtag,” -- developing a healthy and inviting community begins inside your facility and extends far beyond those four walls!
To learn more about Keep Pulling and our programs, visit us online at: