One Size Does Not Fit All


This reallybothers me and it is so typical. This is an email from a concernedparent. He nails it! I share his sentiments. My daughter hurt her backlifting in college and has never been the same since (She was taught tolift by a great Olympic Lifting Coach, Rich Lansky, so she had afoundation. Maxing after practice or performing technical lifts whenthey are fatigued is insane!

Hello Mr. Gambetta,

Aspeed and agility trainer that my daughters work with referred me toyour website and a recent article you wrote on Olympic styleweightlifting.

I have a daughter that plays soccer at the University of xxxxx andduring the winter and at other periodic times they have the teammembers weight lift using the Olympic style weightlifting. They aresupervised by a trainer (but I am not convinced she knows what she isdoing).

Mydaughter is 5′ 8″ tall (our article mentioned that the Olympicweightlifting needs to be modified for taller people … don’t know ifthis qualifies as taller).

Ourspeed and agility trainer (who also played soccer) is not convincedthat female soccer players that don’t lift year round need to beintroducing external weights to get stronger.

Duringlast winter, my daughter nearly suffered a back injury doing theweightlifting. She experienced pain on and off for 5-7 weeks butappears to have survived without permanent injury. A couple teammatesalso appear to have suffered minor back injuries.

The trainer also encourages the girls to “max out” which I think is for the trainer’s ego, not the athlete’s benefit.

Mysuspicion is that guys are much better athletes are stronger andgenerally develop proper technique than do girls and therefore, Olympicweightlifting might be better suited for guys and football players thanfor other sports.

I am not convinced that it is appropriate for female soccer athletes to be doing this style weightlifting.

Iwould welcome your comments on Olympic style weightlifting for femalesoccer players and what alternatives, if any, would accomplish the samegoal but be safer.

Discuss entry

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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