Coach Mike Burgener called Bill Starr the best platform coach he’d ever seen. Starr could get more out of any lifter when it mattered than anyone else. What does it take to be a great coach (platform or otherwise)?
An article about what’s involved in coaching athletes on the platform at weight-lifting contests—the job title is “Platform Coach”—might not seem relevant to many CrossFitters at first, but think about it: Competition works. That’s why, in my mind, lifting contests are essential to any athlete who is serious about getting stronger. Once I teach aspiring Olympic lifters how to do full snatches and full cleans, plus jerks, I insist that they enter as many meets as possible right away. The same goes for those who express an interest in powerlifting.
Merely having an affection for the sport and a background of competing over a long career does not necessarily make for a good platform coach. Just as there are exceptional and mediocre coaches in football, basketball, and other sports, so it is in weightlifting. Some of the best train lifters in a home gym and never receive much recognition, while some of the worst have a long list of credentials behind their names and have obtained positions as team or national-level coaches, yet they are actually poorly-equipped to coach lifters at major contests for the simple reason that there’s a lot more to knowing how to prepare an athlete for his final training weeks, how to warm up properly, and perform up to the best of his ability than having won a national or international title. In truth, some of the very best platform coaches were unexceptional liters.
Included in the article are Coach Starr’s Six Basic Principles of Good Platform Coaching, including all lifters aren’t created equal, and remember that they are the stars, not you.