Why I Don't Travel More for Seminars
Greg Everett

Olympic Weightlifting seminar at CrossFit Seattle February 2014
I’ve been giving my own Olympic weightlifting seminars for seven or eight years now. I started helping my coach, Mike Burgener, at his seminars in 2006, and began providing my own when the demand was made known to me. Initially, I traveled a reasonable amount across the US and did fairly frequent dates. If you haven’t been around more than a couple years, you’ll have to believe me when I say the seminar landscape was very different back then. The only significant (by this I mean largely attended and regularly held) Olympic weightlifting seminars were Mike Burgener’s, through CrossFit, USAW's certifications, and my own. Now the number of seminars being held is approaching the total number of coaches and weightlifters in the US. Many are great, and more are terrible. But that’s beside the point.

Since starting, I’ve gotten frequent requests from gym owners, coaches and athletes to put on seminars in their locations or regions. I’ve always done my best to spread my seminars around as well as I reasonably can to help people get to them. My decisions on where to hold seminars are based on a few primary factors: the population of the region, the accessibility to people from outside the region, and the suitability of the facility. Obviously this means that I don’t go to small towns and small gyms—the chances of us being able to fill such a seminar and therefore make it worth leaving my team and gym are small, especially in the current circumstances, when many gyms are regularly hosting short, inexpensive weightlifting seminars by local coaches, reducing the demand for mine.

As the demand for Olympic weightlifting seminars has grown in the last few years, so have the requests for me to travel internationally. I have to regrettably decline these (as I do with nearly all requests from any location), despite the fact that I would love to be able to get our international followers into these seminars. Making these trips is very time-consuming—I can’t do what I do within the US, which is fly in Friday night and fly out Sunday night, meaning I miss only one training day for my weightlifting team. Coaching my weightlifters is my priority, and it’s a lot of work with a dozen nationally competitive lifters and a handful of others. I’m not willing to neglect them in order to take my seminars on an international tour. The reason I’m able to give a good seminar is that I spend time in the gym every day coaching weightlifters and learning how to do it better. Not prioritizing actual coaching and just going on the seminar circuit is, in my mind, akin to the television doctor who dispenses advice without having seen a patient in ten years. I would feel like a fraud, and the experience of seminar attendees would suffer as well.

In addition to my coaching responsibilities, I have many other time-consuming duties to keep Catalyst Athletics running and continuing to provide the best Olympic weightlifting content available. Despite our large reach and popularity, we’re a very small operation—five people, including our facility coaches and trainers. Everything you see from Catalyst Athletics has come directly from me in whole or in large part (even the books written by others were edited and designed by me). This work is what allows us to make so much information accessible to so many people. Yes, it’s great to get 30-40 people in a weekend seminar, but I’ve reached 1,000 times that with my book, and even more with the content on our website. If I had to choose one, it’s obvious which I would.

My seminar schedule for 2014 is set, and I won’t be adding any more dates or locations. If you’d like to host a seminar, you can contact us and we’ll see if your location is suitable. If so, we’ll keep you on record for when we begin scheduling the next round of seminars.

Thank you to everyone who has attended one of our seminars, and to all of you who will attend one in the future. I’m honored and humbled by your support.

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, co-host of the Weightlifting Life Podcast, publisher of The Performance Menu journal, fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American Open champion, masters American record holder in the clean & jerk, and Olympic Trials coach. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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Adam 2014-02-13
Love the television doctor line. Brilliant.
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