It was the first day of our squad session today and it was a sterling success. I will write a post on the full weekend tomorrow or the next day. On Wednesday I worked up to three Power Snatches with 90kg and three reps with 124kg in the Clean and Jerk and a triple with 165kg in the Back Squat. I took a day off on Thursday and had an active recovery workout on Friday.
Here is a guest article from Garret Stack which many people will find interesting:
Training the will to win
While on holidays lately in the States, I was lucky enough to meet and train with Danny Mc Dermott and some of his lifters.
I had emailed Danny a couple of weeks previous to flying out inquiring about a place to lift while on holiday. He let me know that I was more than welcome to come over and to contact him when I was ready to train.
I arrived at the facility located in a large sports training franchise on a Thursday evening, Danny arrived a couple of minutes later. I went over and introduced myself and we went out onto the platforms with Danny’s lifters starting to arrive in shortly after that.
The first thing I noticed was the great rapport Danny had with all his lifters who were all quite young 12- 16 years old. It was great to see how enthusiastic all these young lifters were and how much enjoyment they derived from their training.
If they want to compete Danny’s lifters train 5 days a week Mon –Thurs plus a max day on Sat. His overriding emphasis with his young lifters is on technique, as he says himself ‘’ Technique is forever, strength comes and goes. ‘’
Or to quote Tommy Hayden ‘’ Never sacrifice technique for weight’’.
He is also a proponent of getting the kids to begin weightlifting at a young age (at 12 if not before) and is of the opinion that skill in weightlifting will make any kid a better all round athlete no matter what sport they end up in . After all in what sport does it hurt to be stronger, more explosive, with great flexibility?
It is this point of helping to round out the child’s athletic development that has proven to be a good selling point for parents and how Danny sees the future of weightlifting in the US, not having to convert football players etc at 19-20.
One of the problems facing any underage coach is the unrealistic expectation level of parents, especially those living vicariously through their children. Danny’s belief is that children should be taught that sport like life is all about the journey.
He believes that individual sports like weightlifting encourage focus and honesty in the competitor, if you don’t make the lift you can’t look over your shoulder at teammates and blame them!
He has seen obese children lose weight and become healthier, awkward kids gain co-ordination and shy reserved kids gain a level of confidence from their achievements in weightlifting. He enjoys watching his athletes succeed and gets a lot of satisfaction at having a hand in their achievements. He also feels that for everybody, but especially young kids and teenagers, weightlifting gives much more than it takes.
The benefits of a strong mind and body and aspirations achieved instil confidence and belief in the lifter which they will carry with them wherever they go.
Or as Danny calls it they get ‘’the will to prepare to win’’.
Danny’s method of teaching children is technique first - strength second, with emphasis on full ROM movements and good flexibility. He starts with a general GPP program; chin ups, pull ups, dips, skipping rope, box jumps, handstands and push ups. As he explains if a kid can’t move and manipulate their own body how can they be expected to perform a complex lift with a barbell like the snatch or clean and jerk.
His lifters can expect to compete every 6-8 weeks with the main goal to qualify each lifter for the school age nationals.
In order to prepare his kids for the meets Danny controls the weights they lift very carefully. Every Saturday on Max day their numbers will increase incrementally but with something left in the tank. So every week his kids walk away successful but knowing there was more there. The success breeds confidence, the incremental increases breed hunger for the bigger numbers.
Danny’s son Shaughnessy is a nationally ranked - 105kg lifter in the US and is currently at the weightlifting program in LSU Shreveport under Dr. Kyle Pierce . http://www.lsus.edu/weightlifting
Shaughnessy started weightlifting in high school where Mike Burgener noticed him at a meet and told Danny to keep him weightlifting. Mike then mentored Danny and taught him how to coach weightlifting. As well as making the trip to Mike’s gym pretty regularly Danny set up his own garage gym where he coached Shaughnessy and others. He now operates out of a commercial sports facility where he has 4 platforms and equipment to train around 10 lifters at any given time
Danny Mc Dermott if you haven’t guessed is of Irish extraction and very familiar with Ireland, having been here on numerous trips mostly to accompany his daughter who was a competitive Irish dancer. He is involved in the friends of Ireland organisation and has extended an invitation for any Irish lifter visiting LA/Orange County to come and train with him.
Danny’s own background in the strength game started when he was 12 years old. He got a job in Whittier health club, a local gym. He lifted weights to help with Football and Track but by his senior year in High School he had dropped all other sports and just lifted.
He was a successful bodybuilder and powerlifter picking up quite a few titles along the way before injuries to discs in his neck and lower back forced him to retire.
He also had to deal with a heart attack at age 36 which he attributes to his previous steroid use as a bodybuilder and powerlifter . He has quite a lot of information about this on his website
I hope this article is of interest and I hope that I managed to convey a little of my impressions of Danny. I would recommend anyone reading this finding themselves in LA/ Orange County to give him a call and I have no doubt you will receive as warm a welcome as I had .
Thank you for this Garret, I found it very interesting and motivating. Anyone else who would like to write up a training report or a guest article for the blog, leave a comment and your email address; they are always welcome!