Reflections of a First Weightlifting Competition

USA Weightlifting Community Development Training Site at Crown Barbell

All lifters have their first competition etched into their memory. The USAW Community Development Training Site, at Crown Barbell, felt that it would be appropriate to share the thoughts of an entrant athlete as they went through the Learn to Train, Train to Train, Train to Compete and Learn to Compete instructional model promoted by our Training Site.
The athlete was exposed to the Whole/Part/Whole, Top/Down, 3 Cycle Periodization Model developed by USA Weightlifting.

Learn to Train
Please share your thoughts on the challenge of learning effective weightlifting technique and the approach used by the Training Site.
The biggest challenge for me in the Learn to Train stage was forcing myself (with excellent coaching) to be patient and not get frustrated. It’s the old cliché of Trust the Process and the Process worked!

Train to Train
Explain the differences between your previous training experiences and training as a weightlifter, especially in terms of Sets, Reps, “Load” exercise selection and an undulated periodization training program as you went through the 3 Cycle program.
The USAW Community Development Site taught me that you didn’t need to find a 1 RM or a 21 RM max for that matter to become an effective weightlifter. By using the set, rep and load scheme provided by my coaches I was able to become a more efficient and technical Olympic weightlifter. For example, my coaches at Crown Barbell started me off the blocks for both the snatch and clean, as well as utilizing blocks to refine the overhead Jerk. This was not a training technique that I was accustom to, but it very much helped me break down the different “pulls” in each lift and refining the Jerk.

Train to Compete
Cycle Three is the Competition Preparation phase of the training where the full competitive movements are practiced and at times in the same session. Give your thoughts on how well this cycle prepared you for the competition.
The Train to Compete cycle was by far the most enjoyable. As the six week cycle progressed I could feel myself improving each session. Was there bad training days? Yes of course, but just as in the Learn to Train stage I knew I had to stay patient and trust my coaching and most importantly trust myself.
There was a day when I could not make a single snatch 6kg below the weights I used the week before. After ‘a few’ misses my coach reduced the weight by 5 more kilos and had me complete 3 singles and picked up the technique flaw that had appeared out of nowhere. By the next snatch training session we addressed the flaw, adjusted my start position, and I only missed one snatch over the final 4 weeks of the cycle.
There were also some very good days, for example when I hit my first “training lift PR” C&J and at that moment knew I had more in the “tank” for the competition and sure enough had a successful “all time” PR C&J in my very first meet!

Learn to Compete
How did your training assist your performance and where your overall expectations realized?
Ah the competition….Was I nervous as I entered my first competition? Hell Yes I was! I also had a weird calming sense as I entered the event because I knew that my coaches at Crown Barbell had prepared me for this meet. And not just in training. I knew what to expect for Weigh-Ins, completing my Attempt Card as well as Introductions, Warmup Attempts and what to do inbetween my attempts and during the intermission. Oh… and waiting for the Down Signal. I went 6/6 at my very first meet and surpassed my goals by 2kg’s in both the Snatch and C&J. Yes, I would say my expectations were met!

If you could write a letter that your past self could read before they started this challenge what is the single most important thing you would say?
Leave your ego at the door. If you’re willing to listen and be coached you’ll know doubt see the results.

What would you tell someone who was considering competing in weightlifting?
Give it a shot. Why not? Most importantly enjoy it!

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