Coach Edna on Weightlifting Bar Fundamentals

Coach Edna stands with ten athletes dressed in weightlifting uniforms holding up a sign that says American Muscle Powerlifting, Long Island, Special Olympics, New York.

Coach Edna, on the far proper, with the powerlifting group she coaches.



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Coach Edna Fletcher is aware of concerning the energy of sport firsthand from her days taking part in basketball. As a black feminine athlete, she has additionally felt the sting of exclusion. For instance, when she requested that extra assets, like weight coaching, be added to her basketball group’s practices, she was laughed off the court docket.

Now, Coach Edna is a pacesetter within the inclusion motion utilizing her experiences, abilities and pursuits as a Particular Olympics New York (SONY) coach. Whichever sport her son Daniel participates in, Coach Edna coaches—that’s eight sports activities up to now! She at the moment coaches the American Muscle powerlifting group that consists of three feminine athletes and 6 male ranging in age from 16 to 35. In some sports activities, basketball and powerlifting, she has continued her coaching to change into a referee or official.

As a mum or dad, coach or fan, all of it comes again to the athletes as opponents and people in accordance Coach Edna.

“I reside by this motto: There isn’t a such factor as incapacity, slightly various levels of skills.”

Coach Edna Fletcher, Particular Olympics New York Coach

Coach Edna working with an athlete on squats.

Coach Edna working with an athlete on squats.

For Coach Edna, which means starting with the fundamentals. As a SONY powerlifting coach, she helps every new group member learn to method the bar. For the grip, she has them observe putting the bar in the course of their palms earlier than greedy it tight. “The bar is central to the three powerlifting disciplines I coach: the squat, deadlift and bench press.” She feels that utilizing the 45-pound bar with out extra weights is a good way to construct approach and power.

For the standing lifts like squats and deadlifts, she coaches athletes to face with their legs shoulder-width aside. “This provides them a robust base for steadiness.” However for bench presses, she has them tuck their ft underneath the bench a bit as a result of “the intuition is to push up by way of your ft even if you’re laying down. That’s a superb factor.” Elbow and extension angles are additionally very important.

Coach Edna says there may be one other talent that has nothing to do with muscular tissues. “Listening to and following the judges’ instructions takes observe. It is crucial as a result of the Head Decide has a frontal view of the athlete and ensures that the right weights have been loaded onto the bar accurately. Then they provide the command to elevate.”

Coach Edna says anybody thinking about turning into a Particular Olympics coach ought to know that the athletes are desirous to study. “Meet them the place they’re and ensure they depart with a smile.” Robyn Armando, Vice President Advertising and marketing & Group Engagement, says Coach Edna’s method is far appreciated. “She is a staple within the SONY group. She makes use of powerful love, however she adores each considered one of her athletes and has the largest coronary heart.”

*Statistics from the Special Olympics 2021 Global Reach Report


Coaches educate the abilities, angle, values and spirit that outline a real athlete. They’re position fashions and character-builders each on and off the sector of play. Particular Olympics coaches go even additional—they assist athletes with mental disabilities to find their very own strengths and talents. They encourage them and problem them to construct upon these strengths and enhance daily.