3 Reasons You Should Learn How to Olympic Lift from Wil Fleming
Wil always gives me grief for being the one lifter who got away. At a gym with primarily Olympic weightlifters I dabbled in bodybuilding and am now competitively powerlifting. Besides a couple cleans here and there and snatching no more than the trainer plates, I’ve never been a weightlifter. But let me tell you, if that time comes I know exactly who to go to—Wil Fleming.
When I first became an intern at Force a little over a year ago I had so much to learn and I was like an excited puppy moving from one thing to the other with more curiosity and drive to get better with every new thing I learned. Olympic lifting was no different. It was so hard to coach, so hard to master, but so rewarding to learn. I remember attending my first weightlifting meet at Force, and being so impressed by not only the lifters incredible talent but of the coaching and the atmosphere. Everyone was encouraging, supportive and gave everything they had on that platform. It was addicting. Even though I don’t weightlift, I apply everything I learn from our Olympic weightlifters and Wil to what I do and how I perform in my sports.
Here are 3 reasons why you should learn from Wil:
- His passion and love for the sport is contagious
I don’t know anyone who loves a sport more. You can just see the excitement on Wil’s face when he’s coaching his athletes or when he’s at a competition and they make a lift. It has been almost impossible to say no to him every time he watches me lift and says that I’d be pretty good at weightlifting—he had me on the verge of competing in March. When I had my first one-on-one session with him (which is like coveted because his time is so precious) I remember feeling like the coolest person ever getting to throw weight over my head, it was exhilarating. He has this way of making you feel like you can succeed no matter what and he has taken so many athletes and turned them into nationally competitive lifters because he has built an environment where lifting is pretty darn cool and it’s a ton of fun.
2. His knowledge about competing stems way farther than technique and physical performance
Wil is without a doubt knowledgeable about the technique and physical aspect of lifting. He can take a kid who has been corrupted by bad form at high school weights and improve their technique ten-fold. He has almost an artful approach to the way he teaches and it’s only something that can be experienced first hand. He can take you from feeling like an awkward giraffe to a somewhat athletic specimen in a 30-minute session but there’s something about the way he approaches weightlifting that’s different. When I have questions about cutting weight or about your mindset while lifting the first person I ask is Wil. He’s had so much experience competing that picking his brain about these things is interesting and eye opening. We recently just had a conversation about how he prepared for his Nationals meet and all the success he had there speaks for itself (if you didn’t know he’s a Masters Nationals champion and record holder). We discussed his mindset and the way that preparing his mind for that meet made all the difference. We discussed how he maintained weight around his competition weight so that he was strong at lower weights and didn’t crash cut. And we discussed just being positive during training and not overdoing it. These things often get overlooked in the grand scheme of things but they are what distinguish champions from the rest of the pack.
3. He cares
Who wants to be coached or who wants to learn from someone who doesn’t genuinely care about how they perform? I can’t think of a single person. Wil genuinely cares about his athletes. He cares beyond their numbers and beyond their performance to what they’re eating, how they’re sleeping, what their stress is like in their life and how all these factors affect their lifting. Wil has been more than a boss to me, he’s been a mentor and in some aspects a coach as well but I always know that in any aspect he cares about me as a person. He makes sure all his lifters are cared for in this same way and he makes sure they know just how important they are. From his program design to his coaching he gives each person exactly what he or she needs and nothing less.
Come learn from Wil. I am not an Olympic weightlifter but I find something new I can apply to my lifting and my endeavors just the same. But if you are a weightlifter, become even better.
Learn from someone who has won multiple national titles both juniors and masters, lived and coached at the Olympic Training Center, participated in the Olympic trials and coached multiple athletes at the national level. Learn from someone who puts fun and development before anything else and who makes it his personal goal to make everyone the best lifter they can be.