By Nick Benerakis
Thousands of reps, hundreds of sets, months of hard training, all accumulating for 9 single attempts on the platform. Another training cycle completed, another meet in the books. Maybe you went a perfect 9/9 with plenty of new personal records, or 4/9 leaving a little left to be desired. Meets are difficult like that. An inch out of position there, some could have would have’s here and your 4/9 day could have just as easily been the perfect 9/9 we all seek. Not too many sports have such a small window of opportunity to showcase your hard work. You may literally get one chance, one single attempt to hit that new PR you’ve been working towards for an entire year. So whether you missed an attempt you’ve hit plenty of times in the gym or had a mysteriously poor performance overall, try not to be so hard on yourself. It’s not so easy. Here are a few things you should take away from your previous meet that will set you up for success in the future.
Any Small PR is a Victory
This is so important to understand, yet we always lose focus of this fact. It always astonishes me when I ask someone who is upset about their performance “did you hit a pr total”? and they reply “yes a 120 lb record on my total, but…I missed this and that lift”. 120 lbs added to your total of the big 3 and you’re upset?? I can absolutely understand the frustration of missing lifts you thought you’d hit on the platform but in this sport I think any great lifter would tell you that the greatest marker for success is doing better in all three lifts than you did previous. No matter how you do it as long as that total keeps climbing each meet you can’t be too upset, you’ve succeeded. The reality is the further you come in this sport the harder it becomes to improve lifts. Many top lifters are ecstatic to add only 5 lbs to a lift in a year! If you’ve added 5-10 lbs to a lift in a cycle you can’t be too upset with yourself. Small PR’s add up to big time changes, remember that.
Learn from Failure
Each meet presents a learning experience. Even on your worse day you really only lose if you failed to learn something as a result. Some questions you should be able to answer are “Why did I miss this lift?”, “How could I make my weight cut more efficient?”, “Could I do something during warm ups to be more prepared?”, “Was my meet day nutrition optimal?”. These are all questions you should be able to answer and become a more prepared athlete next time through. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Each meet is another step towards being a wise old veteran. Conduct yourself as if you’ve been through every obstacle, prepare like you’ve seen every scenario before.
Re-Asses Your Goals
After you’ve poured your all into a meet prep and completed a meet, now is the time to re-asses your goals and make sure you see a clear picture of where you’re headed. Everyone needs to have a destination. You should have short term and long term goals planned out, and your coach is always there to help you out with this planning. Are you doing what you want to be doing? What do you hope to gain from next training cycle? Where do you hope to be a year from now? All questions you should ask yourself. This is truly a pivotal piece of the puzzle that is too often took for granted. Training without goals is sailing a ship without navigation. You’ll never end up in the right place.
Discuss Your Training With Your Coach
A new training cycle is about to begin. You should now know where you are weak and where you are strong. This is the time to sit down with your coach and go over your next training cycle. Make sure you understand why you are training the way you are training and give your input. Maybe it is possible to switch an exercise here or there to better suit your personal weak points. Don’t wait until the last minute of the training cycle to start making changes, make sure you are fully on board with what you are doing now. An educated lifter is a better lifter
Focus on the Next Challenge
Time to set your sights on the next objective! For most this means selecting your next meet. It is important to have an idea of how your year will lay out before selecting meets. You want to give yourself the necessary time before meets to recover and make improvements so you are not in a constant state of peaking. For most lifters 2-3 meets are recommended per year. This gives you ideal time between meets to grow bigger and stronger. Take into consideration your long term goals when selecting your next meet. Maybe you are trying to qualify for a bigger event, perhaps you should consider waiting longer to compete again to give yourself more time to grow stronger so next time you step up on the platform you give yourself more chance to succeed. Maybe you need to get up there sooner as a confidence boost after a poor performance. Whatever your situation may be, plan wisely because it does make a difference in your long term success.
So in every success and failure there is a silver lining. Whether you lift great or poorly don’t lose sight of what makes this sport amazing, having a unforgettable experience with people who love lifting weights just as much as you do. In the end your lifts are all relative to you, what you will truly look back on is your experiences. Enjoy every moment of competition.