From: Dave Tate
Date: Thu, 30 May 2013 00:29:49 -0400
Subject: Has Powerlifting Turned Negative?
To: Team elitefts™ Powerlifters
To Team elitefts™ Powerlifters,
Over the past few days I have received close to a dozen emails asking about or informing me of all the negative stuff that "seems" to be surrounding the sport of Powerlifting. I have written the same replay in several different ways over the past few days. Today I went and looked to see what all this negative stuff really was so I could see how bad it really was.
Twice today I was asked about a couple of the items and twice more I sent two other replays -- each saying close to the same thing.
I decided I would clean these emails up and create one that I would send to anyone else who emails me - then I figured why not just be proactive and send this to you all because I REALLY think people are missing the big picture and would like to share what that means to me with you.
So here you go. This is as cleaned up as my writing will get without having someone edit it. So if soothing looks off - ya, I spelled it wrong, forgot a word, or made some other error. The meaning of the message is still the same.
As always Thank You all for what you do for elitefts.com, your team and myself.
Go with wise men and be wise: but he who keeps company with the foolish will be broken.
Follow me, this proverbs quote does have meaning here.
It's all "a matter of perspective"
When I tell people that I think the sport today is BETTER than it has ever been in the entire history of the Iron Game they look at me like I am insane but I honestly believe it's true. Nothing you see today, in the negative tone, didn't also exist years ago. The difference is the speed of communication. I can remember being told a lift was high at a meet when I was in the gym back in 84. This lift would have been at a meet the weekend earlier and the news came from a phone call - but in my gym the lift was high as a kite! Or a lift would be in PLUSA and showed the lifers squat high (in a picture) and BAM! it was "skyscraper high", the meet director was giving away gifts! The worst was when the meet write up in PLUSA stated the judging wasn't good and the guy who did the write up was at the pool all day flirting with all the lifters girlfriends - never even seeing the squats.
All the same crap you see today just different means of communication. Way slower - but the same. An interesting point here (due to speed of communication) was the news latest longer. That high lift in the picture was high until the next months PLUSA came out -- when you got to see the next high squat. If the write up said your squat was a tad high… well… you were a high squatter until the next write up hoping it said your squats were good. Most of the time there wasn't a follow up saying your squats were good so you were listed in the high squat club for life. Today the high squats will be completely forgotten within 2-3 days.
Here are a few other things from "the PRIME years of Powerlifting" that I remembered and confirmed when one of my old training partners stopped out a few weeks back and with Ed Coan and Steve Goggins at this last last seminar (we actually did a video interview on this very topic that will post soon)
1. The one federation politics wee brutal. People would qualify for worlds and then travel only to be told they can't lift for some dumb ass rule they just made up. The judging was also very inconsistent and favoritism was really bad. While all the same things exist today the lifters have a choice - before you didn't and if you were not on the A list you were fucked. There are many stories that I can tell and write in here but another key point to keep in mind is unless you knew the parties involved ALL the information was filtered through PLUSA or the select few people who spoke for the sport (authors in PLUSA, Federation Committee Members, and just people in the know). Meaning, the bad shit had to be FAR worse and I am sure we didn't hear about the majority of the shit that was going on. There are many people out there right now who are reading this nodding their heads because it wasn't what people think it was (those people who were not even born yet). There is a reason why other federations were born. Actually not A reason but MANY reasons.
2. The comradery was OK but not great. You knew some guys because you were in the same meets but you were also competing against them so you never really hung out at all. As a beginner or amateur lifter unless you had big balls you never spoke to a big name lifter and if you did for the most part they would blow you off. I was blew off by a shit load of them but there were stand outs like Louie, Bob Wahl, John Black, Ed Coan, Steve Goggins, John Florio and a few others who did help me out - there were 10x as many that were assholes to you unless you were at their level. They were also rarely seen unless you went to a national meet or they happened to be qualifying in the state meet you were in. At the same time they were intimating as hell. THESE were the guys in PLUSA! All you knew about them was what you saw in the mags (pictures and numbers) and what you saw on meet day.
3. NOBODY shared shit for training advice. All we had was PLUSA and most of those programs were made up by the writers for the magazine and not what the guys were really doing. - or - if the guys did send it into PLUSA they just made some shit up so they could get the exposure in the mag. They did not share how they trained. This was like a cardinal sin. It just didn't happen because they didn't want their competition to know and then beat them.
This is not shit I'm just making up because like so many readers online I was a beginner at the time and this is what I saw (the perception of a beginner). I wounder if this is the same perception beginners have today? Keep reading...
1. Lifters know meet results AS THEY HAPPEN. We used to have to wait 4-6 weeks to see meet results.
2. Lifters know and can access the best lifters in the world no matter WHO you are - and the majority will respond in kind. They have been "humanized" by being online. They are seen as "real people" and not superhuman beings that you only saw on meet days and in the magazines. They are just like everybody else, just stronger and wiser about their training.
They are also willing to help!
3.The comradery is WAY better than it has ever been - Think of how many top lifters you know, email and hang out with. When you go to a meet you know almost everyone and everyone gets along (key point) AT THE MEETS - where is REALLY MATTERS everyone gets along great albeit Raw, Multiply, Training Style, etc. This is because the ones who create the most noise are so few and/or do not compete. This is not to say there are still not assholes at meets and egos that are out of control but if they stay with it those egos will fade - the weights eventually will humble everyone.
3. Training knowledge and information is insane right now. There is so much of it that it can be argued that there is to much. I think it's better to have to much than not at all - or just made up BS. With very little money and/or effort you can find great training information, programs and advice that can help a beginner all the way up to the most advanced lifters. In many cases you can have advanced lifters (or just friends in the sport) look a video of your lifts and tell you want you are doing wrong -- and have all this done in less than one hour. I used to have to drive 2 hours to have someone look and help me with technique. So technical advice today can be gained for free within minutes while when I was coming up it took an entire day to get the same advice (assuming you knew the right people and were within a couple hours driving distance).
4. There are also WAY more lifters than ever before. There were some years that PLUSA couldn't run 100 lifters deep in the top 100 and the women's were always hard pressed to fill a top 20 list. There are now top 100 lists for raw, multiply and single ply. Meets are now within driving distance for almost any beginner - multiple times per year. I was lucky to come up in Ohio where the sport has always been popular. This wasn't the case with many other states.
Today there are more lifters who have greater access to training info and top lifters than ever before. They ALL get along at meets GREAT with better comradery than ever before and to be dead honest - maybe better than any other sport in the world! The ease of entry to the sport has also never been better. Finally you know how your friends are doing in their meets while the meet is going on. When you step back and look at the forest instead of the tree the sport is bigger and better than it has ever been in the entire history of the iron game.
What I am trying to say is step back and look at all the GREAT things there are in the sport. They are ALL right there in front of you. For many I think they are so close to them they can't see it. Maybe it's just being taken for granted because they think it's just the way it's always been.
Well… it hasn't.
There will always be critics, negative BS, and those who want to toss others under the bus. This is part of sport, business and life. I choose not to be a part of it. This is why I will not watch the news on TV, rarely read my newsfeed or forums. I only visit sites that will help me or elitefts become better. I honestly do not have the time to waste with stupid shit I have no control over anyhow. I'd rather spend my time making sure elitefts is living up to the vision we've (YOU) have all worked so hard to establish. You have built a team known for it's strength and for helping others and passing on. This has been done through your lifting but more importantly through your Character, Integrity, Sportsmanship and Teamwork.
I know that most of you don't even read the negative crap anymore and are now wondering what the hell this is all about (no need to look) but I felt compelled to send this anyway because there is another side of this entire email. That is, when I do get emails about this stuff I always know it's never one of you who started it because you are better than that. You know it's better to spend the time helping others than tearing them down.
This makes me proud to have you all representing elitefts!
Founder Elitefts.com Inc.