Effective Weightlifting at Heart of Coaches Education Course Held at BMA


From January 6 to 7, Burke Mountain Academy’s (BMA) Ronnie Berlack Center was the stage of a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Course for coaches.

The workshop was led by Chris Polakowski, a Senior International coach associated with USA Weightlifting. Polakowski has worked with multiple Olympic athletes and Crossfit champions.

BMA’s high performance staff and coaches took part in the workshop and were joined by roughly 20 coaches from Stratton Mountain School, St Johnsbury Academy, North County Union High School, University of Vermont, and Bryant University.


“Providing continuing education for our coaches not only improves our technical competence but most importantly improves the safety and physical development of our athletes,” explains Darrell Gray, High Performance Director at BMA. “The Burke coaches involved included sport coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and our Athletic Training staff. This multidisciplinary approach provides great cross-pollination of ideas and methods for working with both fully able athletes and those who may be returning from injury. In addition to performance improvement, Olympic lifting is plain old fun!”

The focus of the course was teaching and demonstrating the Olympic lifts, both the Clean & Jerk and Snatch, to new athletes. Olympic lifts are highly technical in nature but provide great power development and improved athleticism.

“Following this course, BMA coaches will be Level 1 Sport Performance Certified, which is strategically important as we continue to push the boundaries on bridging the gap from injury to full participation,” added Brad Wall ’97, Athletic Program Director at BMA.

Since being officially designated a US Ski Team High Performance Training Center in December 2016, BMA has hosted various coaches’ education workshops. Information on our next workshop planned for February will come out soon.