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Q&A with Head Powerlifting Coach Freddie Myles

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 10, 2022 in Weightlifting

VIDEO: Q&A with Freddie Myles

Back in December, Freddie Myles was introduced as the first head coach in the history of Concordia University Powerlifting. Since then, Myles has hit the ground running with recruiting and selling a program that will begin competition starting with the 2022-23 season. Myles discussed the excitement of building a program from scratch and what the response has been like in recruiting during this Q&A.

Q: Fill us in on what the transition as far as arriving at Concordia and getting your family settled. What has that all been like for you?

Coach Myles: It was definitely a fun adventure with the family coming out here. We moved from California where I had a gym. We moved just last month and the roads were covered with snow to get out here the main way so we went down south, all the way to the bottom of California through Arizona, New Mexico and up through Kansas and Oklahoma. It was a really fun experience for my family – this big road trip that took us four days through all kinds of snow to get out here. We’re excited to be here in Seward. My family loves it here. The kids are enjoying school so it’s been a good experience. Before this, my gym in California that I had since 2005 we had competitive powerlifting, Olympic weight lifting and also strength and conditioning. I wanted to get into the college coaching scene and when I saw the job here at Concordia I jumped at it. I’m familiar with the Concordia System having got my master’s at Concordia University in Chicago. I was excited when I saw this job possibility come up in Nebraska.

Q: I don’t know when the last time was that you competed in a weightlifting competition …

Coach Myles: It’s been a little while. It was nationals in 2013 the last time I competed. I still regularly lift, but I haven’t competed since then. That’s quite a few years ago.

Q: What got you into powerlifting? It’s not necessarily something everybody does growing up.

Coach Myles: My first introduction to it was my high school track and field coach. I was a sprinter in track and field and he was a competitive powerlifter. I would talk to him about how to get faster and he told me you need to lift weights as well as do the track workouts. I told him, I don’t really know anything about lifting weights. He invited me to train with him in the mornings before school. I would go in and train with him and he taught me how to lift weights. The first goal was getting faster for track and field. I fell in love with the idea that you could work really hard with these movements and continually progress and get yourself stronger. That kind of sucked me in having that measurable progress for yourself.

Q: What excited you about this opportunity to start a new program from scratch here at Concordia?

Coach Myles: It’s a unique opportunity to be able to start something completely from scratch. I can put my own stamp on this thing and have things how I want to do it and create a program that I think is best. I’m quite honored for the university to have that trust in me to create a new program here at Concordia. I hope it will be very successful and lead to many kids setting personal records, winning national championships and maybe making it on international teams. That would be great.

Q: You’re already deep into recruiting and working on putting a team together for next year. What’s the response been like when you’ve interacted with recruits? Where do you see the pool of your potential recruits coming from?

Coach Myles: So far I’ve had quite a few from Nebraska and the response has been really good. I had a kid visit (Wednesday) from Nebraska and he said he loved it here. He really liked the atmosphere here with his first visit, how nice the professors were, how professional everything was and how nice the kids are on campus. That’s been the response I’ve gotten from others as well. I’ve had kids from Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Florida that I’ve reach out to about the program. It’s probably mostly concentrated in the Midwest but also outside the Midwest – Texas too.

Q: I’m sure there are a lot of people who have never seen a powerlifting competition in progress. How can you explain what it looks like when you’re at one?

Coach Myles: There are three lifts in powerlifting. The first lift is the squat and you get three attempts on the squat. The goal is to ascend and have a bigger weight with each attempt. The highest weight you make gets recorded as your score. Then you move on to bench press where it’s the same thing. You get three attempts trying to get the heaviest weight possible. Then the last event is the dead lift with three attempts at that as well. The cumulative score of those three lifts is added together. That’s how you compete against others – whoever gets the biggest total within their weight category wins. There are lots of weight categories. Some of them for women are under 100 pounds and a whole bunch of classes all the way up to exceeding 220 pounds. The men’s goes from 115 pounds all the way up to 340 pounds. There’s quite a range of size of athletes that can compete in powerlifting for both genders. When you go to a competition, they’ll set up the stations in middle of like a basketball court. The audience will be able to sit there and watch people do their lifts. They rotate through in a round-robin setup. Athlete A goes and does their first attempt on the squat, then Athlete B does their first attempt and then Athlete C, and then they rotate back around to the second attempt with A, B and C.

Q: For some of the competitions you’ve been to with good crowds, what is the atmosphere like? Have you seen it where people really go nuts when somebody completes a big lift?

Coach Myles: There’s lots of cheering. The unique thing about the sport is that even if someone is from a rival team, the people are very supportive and encouraging for the people to make their lift. It’s different from other sports where that wasn’t present. Everyone is rooting for that person to make that lift and lift this big weight. If someone is attempting a big lift, you’ll see the crowd cheering for them and telling them they go this and it’s a light weight.

Q: In terms of recruiting, what are you looking for in a student-athlete?

Coach Myles: I’m looking for a kid that obviously has talent and wants to pursue powerlifting at the collegiate level. I want them to be a good fit at Concordia, have a major that we offer and be able to see themselves being successful here. So I’m looking for kids who find Concordia to be a good fit and are looking to keep their powerlifting career going at the college level and are serious about that.

Q: What is your vision for what this will look like in terms of a competitive level and how big the program can get as far as quantity of athletes?

Coach Myles: I would like the program to get large on both the men’s and women's side and get it to the point where we’re competitive nationally, known nationally as a place where great powerlifters are produced and we regularly are in the running for titles at the national and regional level.

Q: Anything else you think is worth adding?

Coach Myles: I’m excited to have this program grow and honored to be part of Concordia and to create a great program here.