Written by Sarah Strong
As a competitor and a coach, I have been to many meets over the years. For newer lifters, or even some experienced, competing can be nerve-racking. When we’re nervous, we tend to overlook some preparations for the competition. I have noted some common mishaps and how to avoid them in order to make your meet run smoother.
Picking openers that are too high. If it’s your first meet, I advise to pick opening numbers that you could rep for three reps on a BAD day. You can make bigger jumps from there, but you do not want to fail those opening lifts because it sets a terrible tone for the rest of the meet and increases your chances of bombing out. No one will remember your opener; they will remember your total. Don’t fret over picking an “easy” opener when the alternative could be failing and get disqualified from the meet altogether.
Not packing the right foods. Meet day nutrition is SO important. You really want to make sure to bring enough food for the day and to bring the right foods. I have been at meets that have completed by 2 pm, and I have been at meets that weren’t done until 9pm. You really never know how long the day will be; but, it is better to have too much food vs not enough food. Also, make sure to bring foods with carbohydrates to give you energy. Do not use meet day as a day to try anything new, unless you want to chance blowing out your singlet during squats. Choose foods you eat normally on training days and don’t rely on outside vendors.
Being dependent on atmosphere. We all have our list of ideal conditions for the perfect meet, and that’s great. But you cannot attach your performance to things you cannot control-- the weather, the music, the crowd and noise level. Focus on your lifts and learn to go within for motivation.
Warming up too early or too much. This is something I see every meet I go to. If you’ve never competed, it’s worth speaking with experienced lifters or coaches at your meet to work on this timing. Figure out when your flight is supposed to begin, know how much time it typically takes you to warm up, and work backwards from that starting time. Your warm-up should be short and efficient. If it takes you an hour to work up to your top set, you’re wasting time and more importantly, energy that you need to complete a maximum effort lift.
Not knowing commands/ jumping commands. Nerves can definitely effect your performance on the platform. And if you’ve never lifted with commands, you are more likely to miss them on meet day. This can result in your lift not counting. Know and practice your commands before the meet. Practice them in your warm-ups on meet day. It absolutely sucks to nail a lift but have it disqualified due to missing a command.
Meet days are a ton of fun. And if you come prepared, you will enjoy it so much more. I hope this list can help alleviate stress in preparation for a meet. If you’re struggling with needing more help on meet day, hiring a coach or handler to be there for you ocan also be very beneficial. But even if you’re headed to a meet alone, there are usually friendly lifters and coaches at meets that can assist with last minute concerns. Good luck, and happy lifting!