Training in China By: Coach Ivan Rojas, of Risto Sports
From 08/11/2010 to 08/18/2010 I had the great opportunity to visit different teams in China and work with them. The first team I visited was the Beijing team where I saw very impressive lifters and even so there’s always the language barrier we spoke the International language of weightlifting. It’s amazing anywhere you go in the world you’ll be able to communicate through weightlifting: Snatch and Clean & Jerk are international words that every body understands anywhere in the world.
Seeing an 85 kg lifter doing 160kg in Snatch and 200Kg in C&J is a very common thing in China.
I stayed at the hotel that hosts many athletes from different sports that are recruited to go to Beijing as resident athletes. This center equivalent to our OTC is called the Talent Retention Center and it’s one of the headquarters of the weightlifting national team. The part of the lifting team that lives there was in the south of China in a Training Camp and I thought for the upcoming worlds in Turkey. They told me they were focused in the Asian games…how so? I asked and I was explained that the importance of competitions is as follows:
1.- Olympic games
2.- Asian games
If a lifter wins the Nationals they receive a big prize ( a house) and if they win the worlds nothing.
All of these athletes are professional athletes and are treated as such.
The base of the national female team is the Army team where I Spent some time. These ladies (I’ve posted videos) are extremely disciplined and they are officers of the Chinese army , their coaches are high rank officers (colonels). I found out that the voleyball coach was a general.
Words can’t describe how amazing seeing these training sessions were. All the ladies start with a long warm up and lots of strechting exercises. They start with the bar and progress with little jumps and lots of reps. When they reach 85% to 95% of the planned goal of the day and if they missed a lift, they go back to the bar and start again. Nobody talks and training is monitored by a head coach,an assistant coach, the team administrator and team manager.
I was informed that I was the first American coach ever to witness their program (don’t know if this is true), Wes Bartnett had visited them; but not witnessed their training. After the first part of the session I was very politely asked to wait out because they had a meeting (as If understood what they were saying) and invited me to re-enter the gym after.
Since it was a weekend I noticed that a lot of relatives arrived to visit the athletes and a few were invited to see the training and most waited oustside.
I noticed that the manager of the team would smile at me a lot and was extremely nice. After workout the Coaches invited me to dinner (huge banquet) and through a translator they said I was their guest of honor. They asked me what I thought of their training and also what I would adviced them to improve their training!!!!!my answer was that I was there to learn and become a better coach. They asked me If I could please tell them how we coach American Football Players strenght conditioning….this got me by surprise and I told them the general thing we do with College Players. They started asking lots of questions and taking notes ( I saw myself giving a presentation). The manager sitting next to me and still smiling said trough a translator that he remembers me from different international competitions in the 80’s and 90’s. I was also invited to the house of the head coach and met his very nice family. The head Coach was a very different person at home; a very loving father and husband. In Beijing real state is extremely high, but this coach owns a very fancy apartment that matches the car he drives.