What is ‘Voodoo Weightlifting’?
Edward Baker’s training philosophy was largely inspired by his coach and mentor John Coffee. Voodoo Weightlifting is a term to characterize John Coffee’s coaching style.
When starting a new training cycle for a lifter, John developed a general idea of the direction of the training. John would have a plan for training, and then as the training was carried out John would constantly adjust along the way to be in agreement with the athlete’s CURRENT (as opposed to initial) physical state. John would refer to this is as catch-as-catch-can, but a more accurate term would be a Bayesian philosophy.
A Bayesian forms a hypothesis, or a guess, and will reformulate their initial guess as more evidence is known. It’s a fine line to tread to determine whether nothing, something, or everything should be amended as more information is known, and that’s where experience comes into play. One bad training day or meet shouldn’t automatically refute the validity of a training cycle, and conversely it would most likely be worth re-examining a training routine if the lifter is becoming too acquainted with injuries. Assess, and reassess!
The Origin of Voodoo Weightlifting
By Bob Takano
John Coffee and I are bonded through out love of weightlifting, but we definitely do not coach in similar styles. Our personalities are different and so are our coaching styles. Given my background as a biology major, it’s not unexpected for me to invoke scientific principles in my coaching. John not so much. In fact John relies almost entirely on his instincts and I actually have followed John’s example and learned to become more instinctive in my coaching.
Anyway when once faced with the task of describing John’s style, the only term I could come up with was Voodoo Weightlifting, since the term “voodoo” implies an avoidance of empirical truths or a collection of non-fact based beliefs. Hence I dubbed John as the chief practitioner of Voodoo Weightlifting and now Edward Baker is moving ahead to immortalize the term by using it as the name of his weightlifting gym in honor of John.