I am looking forward to the Learn to Train 7 Seminar with great anticipation. So much so, that I'm ready to leave right now! I just hope that nothing stupid in life will get in the way like work, illness, or anything else. I am excited to get to meet the elitefts™ staff, with whom I have only corresponded, as well as the lecturers, who are not only great lifters but also great teachers, as well. I am also excited to meet the other elitefts™ team members like me, who are there to help and assist.

I am not however, like the others. Not that I am special. It's the other way around. I am not mainstream powerlifting. I am just a little old man who, while having lifted heavy weights for a very long time, only got into the sport of powerlifting a few years ago. While I have had a modicum of success in my age group and weight class, there are not too many crazy little old men like me. In fact, my children are older than many of the members of the elitefts™ team. Other than the love of lifting heavy weights and the joy of competition, we don't have a great deal in common. When others talk about their music, I don't know what they are talking about.

When the group trains in the mornings of the seminar, what do I do? Every person on the elitefts™ team lifts hundreds of pounds more than I do.Their warm ups are more than my PRs on all three of the lifts. Almost everyone lifts in gear; I don't even own any gear. Should I even go to the training sessions? Will I be embarrassed if I go? Will everyone spend too much time taking weight off the bar as to be annoying? I don't know the answers to these questions but I do know that I am going, come hell or high water. I would not miss the opportunity to learn from and observe some of the really great people in our sport. I will attend the training sessions with great anticipation and do the absolute very best that I can, and then some. After all what else can I ask of myself?

As coaches and trainers what else can we ask of our athletes or trainees? Articles are written about training techniques and methodology to assist our athletes and trainees to be the best they can be. We debate about the work, the amount of the work, technique of the work, and schedule of the work. We discuss ways and methods of warm up and cool down. We discuss nutrition from the time a kid thinks he wants to be an athlete all the way until he is a little old man like me. We are involved in determining whether an athlete is born or made, whether genetics or training plays a greater role in the development of an athlete. To be truly great, certainly both genetics and training are essential ingredients to reach the highest level of any sport. However, to be truly exceptional, neither genetics  nor training will propel one to elite classification in any sport, without the will, the desire, the drive, the uncompromising ability to do the absolute best of which you are capable at all times.

I played football with a young man of exceptional genetic ability. He could do almost anything on a football field, or any other field for that matter. I heard a coach say that he could be great if he wanted to. Over the course of a few seasons, sometimes he was and sometimes he wasn't. It occurred to me later, that what the coached said was the absolute worst thing that could be said about an athlete. Why wasn't he good all the time? Where was his desire and his will to be the absolute best he could be. Those of us with lesser ability but with the gut to be our best; we’re day in and day out better players. He could not be counted upon to give 110 percent effort, 100 percent of the time.

We have a quarterback with the Carolina Panthers who is as genetically gifted as any athlete I have ever seen. He won national championships at every level he played. He is physical phenomena; 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, strong as a bull, swift as a deer, and has a rifle for an arm. He could play any football skill position he desired. It is that desire that I question. He unquestionably has the genetics. He has had great coaching, yet he barely makes the top-20 in quarterback rating. Why? I cannot be inside his head. However, it is my considered opinion that he has not had to exert indomitable will to this point. Everything has come too easy. Now he is playing with the best of the best. Everyone is genetically gifted and all the great ones have tremendous will, desire and gut. Without it he can't rise above mediocrity. As coaches and trainers, don't we have an obligation to help to see that our athletes achieve their potential? Are there studies on how to instill the desire necessary in every great athlete? In addition to the Xs and Os, don't the great coaches have that innate ability to motivate their athletes to greatness?

One of the great things about powerlifting is that we are a community of one mind. There are no casual powerlifters. We all strive to be the very best we can be to achieve our genetic potential. Our coaches help with technique, programming, and cues. There is not the need for motivation. Without the proper motivation, we would not be in the sport. I don't know if I will ever achieve my genetic potential. I don't know if I have enough time. I can only give it 110 percent effort. I wish I had started sooner.