Your question was "what would you do different?" That's what I would do. You posed a question describing an impossible feat (time travel) so I didn't limit myself to the possible.
Don't give up yet; it was a joke.
here's one article for you - http://www.pendlay.com/Converting-to...ing_df_43.html
You're already doing the first best thing, and that's working with a weightlifting coach (I'm assuming that's what he/she is - you didn't actually specify what kind of coach).
Spend time, as you've started to, perfecting the basic positions. Without this foundation, it won't matter how well you understand what your coach wants you to do, because you won't be able to do it physically. Build up the volume and weight very gradually to give your joints time to become conditioned so that by the time you're on an actual program, you're not slowed or stopped by tendinitis and the like.
And you're on the right track thinking that the best way to go about becoming a weightlifter is to spend as much time as possible with weightlifters. It's one thing to read and watch videos; it's another to be immersed in the atmosphere and the culture, and the latter is invaluable.