The Problem with Succession In Weightlifting - Fitness, olympic weightlifting, coaching, interpersonal communication, competitive sports, officials


I wish to discuss an issue that I see creating within the weightlifting world, that of succession. I’ve observed through my officiating in Canada and the USA the greying of our management. Many prime officers are properly into retirement age whereas the era that ought to be changing them is usually lacking in motion. An identical state of affairs exists within the teaching division. A minimum of there are some viable candidates there, however their seasoning will take time. A disaster might be looming if new our bodies can’t be discovered rapidly sufficient.



Every human group, together with these in weightlifting, faces the truth that the group will ultimately both want new managers or else face extinction. We see this when some gyms survive the exit of their founders or dominant personalities whereas others find yourself folding and thus sending their members to as soon as rival gyms. This has additionally occurred on the organizational ranges of the game, from native one all the way in which to worldwide ones. I’m positive readers can consider quite a few examples.


This actuality is impartial of the outgoing managers’ successes in constructing the game. Since weightlifting golf equipment or governing our bodies are just like household run enterprise in some ways they usually face the identical challenges when it’s time for administration change. Similar to an ageing patriarch, the leaders of those organizations could have been in power for many years, usually to the satisfaction of the opposite members. “Let George do it,” appears to be the default angle amongst many.


With the huge improve in weightlifters lately and their related gyms and governing our bodies the priority for succession is or ought to be, paramount as these teams age and/or broaden. The issues related to succession could be checked out when it comes to two primary individuals, these of the founder and the potential successor. The previous could or could not have truly based his or her gymnasium or been the native committee’s first chair. In the event that they had been a long-time subsequent incumbent they may, for our functions, be related in nature to a founder.


The Position of the Founder

The founder as probably the most influential particular person within the group. Years in the past he arrange his personal gymnasium and it has been profitable over these a few years as its acknowledged coach. He may also be concerned within the native weightlifting group, and even increased, no matter its terminology. Within the course of, the founder has accrued a lot status within the sport. He’s the “go to” particular person for weightlifting within the space. He will get comfy in his function and doesn’t discover the passing of the years. Why fear, there’s all the time one other 12 months in him, at the very least.


Ultimately, even he has to confess that his days, or at the very least years, are numbered. Well being scares, grandchildren wanting extra of his time, a spouse ditto, or new pursuits can deliver all of this on. Those that could have served as his assistants for years are actually getting impatient, wanting extra say within the gymnasium’s enterprise. Extra ominously, what with the entire CrossFit influx-ees to the game there are actually others exterior the founder’s gymnasium who’re changing into opponents. That’s not what he’s used to.


The founder intuitively is aware of that “one thing is gaining on him” (as baseball nice Satchel Paige was fond of claiming) and he should face a future with a decrease profile within the sport. On the identical time, there’s resistance to the thought. He could also be resentful youthful coach can have a totally developed group simply handed to him that he took years of exhausting work to construct. He has finished this eternally, why does he must step apart. “Why am I now not ok?” he would possibly surprise. “I’m not that previous!” additionally is usually on this combine.


Ultimately, mates and kinfolk of the founder could certainly speak him into planning for his successor. It appears like an ideal thought, particularly when the founder has not but handed over management to anybody but. In due time a successor is chosen, maybe a very long time understudy, maybe a gymnasium outsider. Whoever it’s right here will usually be a transition interval the place each are concerned in administration quite than a sudden full change. For some time, this can work properly. The youthful coach has a lot of great new ideas, she or he has been to many seminars and conferences so has loads to contribute.


The founder could take pleasure in this, particularly at first. After years of doing all of it himself another person helps with the load—however watch out for the “succession blues.”The founder usually will then have second ideas. The successor will then be undermined as the truth of an ever nearer everlasting change-over looms. She or he can even be discouraged and might even see a transfer elsewhere. Then everyone seems to be again to sq. one once more, with no progress made.


This presents two damning options. If the founder resists passing the torch, his would-be successor can, one, attempt to push the founder out prematurely. That seldom works. Or, two, the successor can resign and maybe be part of a competitor’s gymnasium. That is also not excellent from the founder’s standpoint.



Briefly, the founder’s real looking acceptance of his or her sporting mortality undergirds and fosters the succession planning. Rejection of this actuality will solely frustrate it. Our sport wants progressive new leaders so we can not afford to alienate anybody prepared to shoulder these burdens.


The Perspective of the Successor

The founder might imagine that his gymnasium is a viable enterprise and might simply be handed off to others. A gymnasium is a gymnasium in spite of everything. However successors know that this isn’t essentially true. Maybe the gymnasium depended closely on the founder’s persona and networking. In that case, it will not be as useful to a successor. The gymnasium’s status could then must be rebuilt. There’s a silver lining in that cloud for the successor although. This may happen when the phrases of the switch are determined if the gymnasium is being offered. In that case, solely belongings can be transferred, not any administration experience, and usually at a cheaper price.


The successor’s future won’t simply rely upon his or her technical knowledge of weightlifting however can even contain a posh combine of economic, managerial, and interpersonal expertise, together with funding concerns and different exterior components. That is very completely different from what the founder may need skilled in less complicated instances.


To disregard these parts is to courtroom catastrophe. Sustaining the group on the founder’s degree won’t be sufficient. Any enterprise can not stand nonetheless and nonetheless have long-run success.


This mixture of success components affecting the successor generates the necessity for experience past that which resided within the founder alone. That is the place an efficient and skill-diverse exterior gymnasium advisory committee in addition to exterior consultants could be helpful. The previous is actually a membership or gymnasium board of administrators. The narrowness of a single jack-of-all-trades coach is prone to generate a false sense of safety as time goes by.


The Problem with Succession In Weightlifting - Fitness, olympic weightlifting, coaching, interpersonal communication, competitive sports, officials

Photograph of Coach Butch Pierson teaching at a Precision Barbell Club seminar


Thus the stage is ready for the successor’s dilemma, a tough set of circumstances that has bedeviled leaders for as lengthy from historical instances to the current. We see it in Outdated Testomony story of Saul and David, Britain’s King Henry II and son Richard Coeur de Lion, and in Shakespeare’s King Lear. You’ll be able to add many extra fashionable politicians to this checklist. The previous guard discovered themselves unable to let go even after selecting somebody to succeed them. In fashionable instances even in sports activities organizations, the succession story performs out with related themes.


The Position of Trendy Sports activities

In lots of instances, weightlifting appears to have been organized round dominant, even entrepreneurial personalities. This was nice for the promotion of the game in its early days and for many years afterward. Immediately, nevertheless, the added complexity of recent sport calls for new expertise, ones not essentially present in lengthy incumbent leaders. It’s tough to be an knowledgeable in all areas. It could be that the talents wanted immediately should not what was obtainable in years passed by. If this is so, and it isn’t all the time so, a lot of our leaders would profit from shifting over and heading to their membership’s board the place they may proceed to affect weightlifting at a dignified degree.


No matter who takes over the membership, it’s all the time time to get again to the gymnasium.