Diagnostics Never Ends

Bob Takano
Olympic Weightlifting

Whenever we get a new athlete into our program, the first task is to perform a diagnosis of the athlete’s assets and liabilities for the performance of the snatch and clean & jerk. Whether the diagnosis is performed by me or one of my assistants or interns, we write down the results in Evernote. We don’t often refer back to these notes, but the process causes us to focus on determining the most immediate problems that we have to address. Very few of our athletes are what would be called “naturals”. Almost all of them have items in need of remediation.


The majority of the early problems have to do with mobility, but there are frequently problems with body awareness, balance, and explosiveness.


Interview and history

At some point in the early introductory period I like to interview a new athlete and find out something about their history. I am particularly curious about sports history because this gives insight into what qualities are already present and their motor learning patterns. It also provides me some points of reference by which explanation can take place. If the individual in question is interested in becoming a competitive athlete, I also like to find out about performance background. People with a background in the performing arts understand the performance paradigm and have less trouble adjusting to competitive athletics. Occupation and educational background are also factors that influence the individual’s psychological development—a factor that cannot be ignored in the training of an athlete.


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