Having the right people in your corner is invaluable. Nothing quite says “I’m not going to let this get in the way of my success” like having a strong support team around to help you out. Being the best is only valuable if you can keep it; being surrounded by people who want to help you reach your potential is everything.
But who decides what is potential? Who finds the strength to reach for the stars? Who inspires you to do better? These are the sorts of questions that you need to ask yourself before putting together a powerlifting support team.
Is it possible to do this alone? What is your plan B? Who is going to be there to help you if plan A doesn’t work out? This is what you need to consider before committing to a group of people who you don’t know that well, but who you’ll rely on in times of need.
What type of support team are you looking for?
First and foremost, you need an athlete. Someone who can workout with you, help you find the right training partners, and give you an outside perspective on your training. They should be able to push you to your limits and bring out the best in you. If possible, they should be able to connect you with local powerlifting clubs to get involved in competitions.
If you can’t find an experienced athlete in your area, it’s perfectly acceptable to reach out to a coach or trainer who specializes in using sport psychology to guide your training and help you find the right motivation to push through those tough moments. Just make sure that they have sufficient training and experience in actually coaching powerlifters. If possible, have them train with you so that they can get a better idea of how you work and what adjustments they need to make.
In some cases, you might need an assistant coach. Someone who isn’t involved in direct instruction but can work with your trainers and athletes to provide an extra set of eyes and ears during practice and competitions. If you’re looking for a more permanent position, an assistant coach who can eventually take over head coaching responsibilities is a great choice. This person could potentially work their way up through the ranks to become a head coach themselves one day.
Besides the other members of your support team, you also need a physician. At some point, you’re going to need to take care of yourself during workouts and competitions, and a doctor who specializes in sports medicine can help guide your choices in terms of what fitness gear to use, which exercises to avoid, and when you need to take a break from training. They can also help monitor your recovery process and advise you on what exercises to do post-injury.
What if you don’t have access to a physician? If you’re in a rural area, it might be difficult to find a general practitioner who is familiar with how to properly treat a powerlifter. In these cases, it’s acceptable to reach out to an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports injuries. Just make sure that they know what your goals are and how you intend to go about preparing for competitions. If needed, they can examine you and put together a treatment plan that will get you back in the gym as soon as possible. They might also have an assistant who can take over some of the tasks so that the surgeon can spend more time with you and your training team.
Finally, you need a nutritionist. While you can get by just fine without knowing how to cook, everyone needs to eat. A nutritionist can help you find the right foods to fuel your training and competitions, as well as advise you on how to prepare and store them so that you have quick and easy access whenever you need them. If you’re not sure who to go to and don’t want to waste your time searching for a phone number, visit the website for the American College of Sports Medicine to find a list of accredited nutritionists in your area. Most professional sports teams have nutritionists on staff who can either give you advice and make recommendations on your own, or they can do research for you and find the best items to fit your needs and objectives. In either case, having a nutritionist on your team can be invaluable.
Choosing your own path is something that all high school and college athletes experience. But once you’ve decided on a sports career, the road is paved for you to become a professional athlete. It’s up to you how far you want to go and who you want to help you get there. There are many different paths that you can take to achieve your goals, and having the right support network is a crucial part of making it all happen. The sooner you start thinking about who you’re going to tap into to help you get there, the sooner you’ll start seeing results.