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Old 11-18-2014, 09:50 AM   #1
Michael Houghton
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Default Middle School PE Program

Not sure where to put this, so admin please move if its in the wrong section. I'm a middle school PE teacher in Menifee, CA, and am looking at trying to start some kind of elective weightlifting class here. The issue right now is going to be equipment. I can teach the lifts, and I know I will have buy in from the students, but would love some advice in any area. Specifically, what kind of equipment would be necessary. To start I'm looking at PVC pipes, weighted PVC pipes, and maybe some training bars. Eventually I'd like to get bumper plates and some squat racks. The obvious problem with schools is money, so that would be a year to year type of deal for aquiring more stuff. I could easily see this turning into a full elective weightlifting class. My principal is up for it, he's just telling me that convincing parents is going to be a tough sell. I heard Greg talk about this on his podcast with Travis Mash, and i think that even the high schools would love to have kids coming in knowing how to lift properly.

Any advice at all, or places to look for help would be welcome. Its just the very beginning stages of this thing but I'm looking forward to getting rolling.

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Old 11-18-2014, 04:28 PM   #2
Blake Barnes
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I agree with the principal, it's going to be tough to get the parents to see that it's not a dangerous sports when done properly.

You could probably bring it up in some sort of PTA meeting setting to get the idea around. If you have the opportunity, you could give a presentation that shows a video of other middle school-aged kids doing the lifts and enjoying themselves.

Also, you could try and do a field trip to some gym or something where experienced lifters train and the kids could watch them, then become excited about doing them themselves.

I think no matter what you do, it's going to be a lot of work but it's definitely doable.
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:03 PM   #3
Javier Sanjuan
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I agree with what your principle's concerns and Blake's suggestions. I had a similar idea, one that I actually carried out: I did a clinic at the local Boys and Girls Club, which ended up being pretty successful. I'll share my thoughts and lessons learned from this event.

I think a small demonstration with an associated presentation at a local PTA or school assembly would do wonders. Having children who are currently lifting (be it from your club or from a nearby club) with those who've been in the sport and benefited from it (the older crowd, be it weightlifters or other athletes), you can show not only the movements being correctly performed, but present how these movements are taught in the early stages to better develop athletic performance through the testimonies of those that have been in involved with the movements.

It will be critical to show that you have a solid understanding of athletic development, that at your potential audience's young age (pre-pubescent middle schoolers), you're trying to ensure that -- above all else -- they have proper technique and not trying to unjustly push their weights. At that age, they should still be in a stage of development suited for (dare I say) general physical preparedness, i.e., they're still trying to learn coordination and continuously adapt to their ever-growing body. That's not to say that some won't show extreme potential and advanced development, but they should be afforded every opportunity to continue to develop all areas of physical aptitude rather with an opportunity to enjoy weightlifting.

I also presented my own experiences and how I wished I found the movements associated with weightlifting sooner in my athletic development. As a wrestler, my development could've been that much better - I would've been stronger, faster, and more aware of my body. While wrestling is very individual and mentally demanding, I could've also mentally developed myself a little more had I ever competed in a weightlifting meet or two.

This could be a daunting task, but with a little rehearsing and refinement of the material that you want to present, you can get this down to about 20-30 minutes in order to ensure that you aren't losing the parents' interest. They should have every opportunity to ask questions without feeling restricted by time.

Here's a video of a local coach and lifters in my area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVP3Fb-NMSc

Here's just a video of children lifting at a competition. I think it would be important to note that they're not lifting anything heavy, but that they're focused on being technically proficient: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX8ClqbO5OI

I hope this helps,
Javier A. Sanjuan
Olympus Barbell Club

Dear God, please help me lift heavy and be awesome. Thanks. Amen.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:03 PM   #4
John Janecek
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Email me at school and I'll help you. I've had Olympic lifting in middle school athletic programs since 2002. Its not that tough to do.
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #5
John Janecek
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And that email would be jjanecek@lisd.org
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