With the pandemic putting most meets on hold over the past year, many of us are looking forward to getting back to competition or doing our first competition. Here are some tips for leading up to the competition and competition day!
The week prior to competition should be lighter intensities. Remember everything has already been built, in the week leading up to competition you can really only mess it up. So no crazy things like testing heavy singles 1-2 days out. Some athletes rest completely the day before, some athlete prefer a lighter session the day before - I am okay with either for local meets. For National meets that involve a long drive or flight - I always recommend a light day before session to wake the body up after travel. Weight-cutting is a topic worthy of another article so I will not be covering that here.
The day of competition is here now! Behave as if it’s a normal training day, don’t eat or drink anything drastically different than you normally do. If you have pre-workout before normal training sessions then have it before competition, and if that’s not your normal intake, don’t start today!
Weigh-in is here now. If it is a national competition don’t forget your driver’s license or passport. Remember at weigh-ins they will ask you for your openers. I generally recommend giving what you anticipate to be your final warmup as your opener. Special circumstances may apply such as injuries or 20kg rules, but for the most part the declarations should be around your final warmup to give some wiggle room in the warmups, if needed.
Lets pick those openers! In weightlifting competition, you receive 3 attempts at both the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. Your heaviest made attempts are the ones that matter. Years back, I remember hearing an experienced coach say “It’s not where you start but where you finish that matters.” With that said openers are about building confidence to advance into heavier second and third attempts. Success begets success. For the snatch I recommend around 90-93% of your maximum as an opener, another metric I consider is maximum double. For the Clean and Jerk, I recommend similar strategy, around 92-94% of 1RM as opener. We can push the C&J a bit higher if the athlete had a good Snatch session. Individual athlete differences should be taken into account when selecting openers, factors such as nervousness, being a beginner, and inconsistent technique are all factors that may require lower openers.
In the warmup room/area. Another important consideration is who is there with you. Ideally 3 people in the backroom is great - one coach, one loader, and one person to keep count/track of the lifting order. Having too many people in the backroom can cause distraction for the lifter, keep the people in the back limited to those helping the lifter do these 3 tasks.
Competition is a skill just like learning the lifts in training. I recommend beginning competition earlier as opposed to waiting years when an athlete feels their lifts are up to a certain standard. The lifts will move up but learning to compete in a competition is a skill in and of itself. Compete early and often. The goal is to go 6-for-6 to build confidence, skill and competition awareness for higher stakes competition in the future.