Erich Meyer played competitive volleyball in college before he graduated with his teaching degree and moved back to the Creston Valley. It has been a natural fit for him to coach the Prince Charles Volleyball teams for the past two consecutive years alongside the other Physical Education, Health and Grad Transition courses that he teaches at Prince Charles Secondary School (PCSS).
It was also during his time in college that he trained with a well-respected strength and conditioning coach that first introduced him to Olympic Weightlifting, and now he wants to share that sport with the students at PCSS.
“Team sports aren’t for everyone. I wanted to offer another option for those kids that might be interested in something more individualized,” says Coach Meyer.
Strength training is becoming more popular with programs like CrossFit gaining visibility in recent years. Noticing that several students were already weight training at home, Meyer signed up to do some professional development last fall and pursue the idea of starting a club team at the school.
The pro-d session was a workshop on how to coach specific lifts and just happened to be taught by Olympic gold medalist, Christine Girard, who became the first Canadian gold medalist in female weightlifting at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Following the workshop, Meyer set about applying for funding to equip the school with an initial set up of bars, a squat stand, rubberized plates and the building materials needed for platforms. With a generous donation from the Creston Valley Gleaners Society, the weightlifting club is now meeting twice a week after school.
“My goal for this program is to grow it, increase interest with students and build the facility up,” explains Coach Meyer. Currently, a core co-ed group of eight Grade 10-11 students meet regularly, but he has had up to 18 signed up. While weightlifting is not an official BC School Sport, he is hopeful to be able to take students to club competitions in the future as the students progress in their training.
Coach Meyer plans to run the club year-round next year and not limit it to a single season. “There are opportunities with this sport to take it to an elite level, but I really just want the kids to be active with their extra-curricular time, build confidence and feel good about themselves.”