Got Strength Weightlifting Club Pushes Sport Forward

By Phil Johnson | Oct. 01, 2019, 12 p.m. (ET)

We are Got Strength Weightlifting Club of Iowa City, IA and I am Phil Johnson the Head Coach.  GSWC works in partnership with Iowa City Parks & Recreation Dept. to offer the sport of Olympic Weightlifting to our local community.  Our team members come from a wide range of ages, backgrounds, abilities, and simply share a passion for hoisting weights overhead.  Our practice sessions are held in a dedicated weightlifting hall at the Robert Lee Community Center located in downtown Iowa City.  The relationship with IC Parks & Rec has been absolutely critical to the success of our program.  
 
First and foremost it has provided me with an opportunity to focus on what I do best, COACH. The reality of being a business owner is that inevitably you will find yourself involved in every aspect of business operation but for me, the long term goal was always to get myself to a place where the majority of my time/energy was invested in my athletes.  While there are many factors to this equation partnering with ICPR has helped move me in this direction.  
 
Second, in the same spirit as the Iowa City Parks & Recreation Department, our club seeks to reduce barriers to participation in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting.  Our club prides itself on being open and welcoming to any / all who wish to explore what the barbell has to share.  We are privileged to live in a community that overwhelmingly values inclusiveness and hope our actions reflect this virtue.  
 
We have experimented with and plan to continue several community outreach programs including "Learn to Lift" events, visiting local schools, and hosting workshops/seminars. 
 
What makes your club unique?
Im not exactly sure if it makes us unique but our club definitely has a style or a culture (for lack of a better term).  In addition to having a passion for the platform we actively endorse a sort of "athlete lifestyle mantra" which has many components but at its core consists of three basic pillars of eat, sleep, and that monster between our ears.  ...obviously the "movement" pillar gets left out of that conversation because if you ain't moving we ain't talking.  
 
In terms of our practice environment:
I would say EMPOWERMENT is our number one objective.  
Movement quality is very important to us.  (PRACTICE MAKES...PERMANENT!, Slow is smooth, smooth is fast)
 
Our team members obviously make up the team chemistry and it's important that they learn to "trust the process" (i don't like the term buy-in) which should never be assumed and must be earned. Not all relationships are meant to be and the sport of Olympic Weightlifting is no exception.  
 
TEACHING, TEACHING, TEACHING..."slow is smooth, smooth is fast"
 
If I could only use two words to describe our club atmosphere: FUN...and INTENSE 🔥
 
If there is one BIG core belief that permeates our club and has weaved its way into the fabric of our culture it is that "movement matters". 
 
While I hesitate to give advice as we are a club that is still growing and I am still learning / evolving, I would encourage coaches to find mentors who can help them in the process of establishing a club.  I have leaned on / learned from and continue to learn from so many special people along my journey and my hope is that this tradition of sharing, community, and tutelage endures.  

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