Which Meet Means What? Meet Srategy

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Which Meet Means What?

This article will relate to weightlifting and powerlifting, and it is something that all lifters and coaches need to read. There are several variables that directly affect the goals for each meet. Coaches and athletes should consider the following:

• Is it a local meet, National meet, or an International meet?
• Is the athlete experienced meaning at least 3-4 years in the sport?
• Has the athlete been consistent in training?
• Is the athlete consistent in competition?
• If it’s a National Meet, is it the first National meet for the athlete?
• If it’s an International Meet, is it the first International Meet for the athlete?

I am going to give some ideas for strategy and planning, so that the coach and/or athlete can be a little more prepared. If an athlete is competing at their first local meet, the goals are as follows:

1. Don’t bomb out so open super light.
2. Make as many attempts as possible, so the athlete gets used to making attempts. A 6 for 6 performance is optimal, so plan accordingly. Remember everything can become a habit.
3. Have fun! Don’t put any undue stress on the athlete.


Once the athlete has competed a few times, then it’s time to consider qualifying for events like the: American Open, Nationals, Youth Nationals, Junior Nationals, University Nationals, etc. The meet goals will shift a little. Now they might look something like this:

1. Know exactly what the qualifying totals are going into the meet.
2. Still open light, and then start to push it on the second and third attempts.
3. Make note on how your athlete handles competition. Do they like knowing what is going on, or is it better to just let them lift the weight?

National Meets are a whole different animal. The judging is probably going to be stricter. The atmosphere might be a little more serious. You might have to follow yourself, or you might have 15 lifts between your attempts. The athlete has to be prepared for anything. Here are some ideas for a National Meet:

• Look at the start list weeks prior to the competition, and see where the athlete is ranked.
• Is there a possibility of a medal? If so, plan on that for a strategy.
• If not, open conservatively and try to get as high a placing as possible. Remember, at every National event there will be several that bomb-out because people are going for it.
• An athlete’s coach should know if there is a possibility for any International Team. If there is a possibility, the strategy should match that goal.

Attempt selection should look like this for Nationals:

1. Get on the board with something that you NEVER miss (not something that you are always able to get after some misses).
2. Attempt 2 should be something that beats a meet PR or places you higher.
3. Attempt 3 is to Gold, medal, or all-time PR.

A National Meet is nothing like a local meet; so don’t come prepared to compete in a local meet. Get on the board, and then the athlete will have a slight understanding of what to expect. Just like a National Meet is nothing like a local meet, an International Meet is a whole new animal.


There are a lot of things to consider at an International meet. I am going to start with a list:

• Either bring bottled water or buy some when you arrive.
• Be prepared with protein powder and protein bars because other countries aren’t as up to date on nutrition, so you might get served all carbs and fat.
• Know the time differences.
• Realize that the conditions might not be perfect.
• Don’t lose your passport for any reason.

Let me give you this advice. If you make an International Team, then you are one of the best lifters in the United States or whatever country that you are from. That means you are the best of the best. You have to act like it then. A great athlete should never be affected by conditions. You know why? Because the conditions are the same for every competitor at that meet, so it’s an even playing field. A great athlete dominates at all times no matter what.

I recommend training with less than perfect conditions, so that the athlete is prepared for anything. At least program less than perfect days into a training block. If an athlete gets used to perfect conditions, they might expect those conditions. Guess what? At the Pan American events, the conditions aren’t perfect. An athlete still has to be a champion.

Attempt selection is also a little different. Remember at an International Event an athlete is representing their country. An athlete’s number one responsibility is to help Team USA (or their home country) place as high as possible. Attempts should look like this:

1. Absolutely pick an attempt that is safe, so the athlete gets on the board. A bomb-out is tough on the team.
2. Now it’s time to be a little aggressive, but now strategy comes into play. This meet is not necessarily about hitting PRs or personal goals. It’s about placing as high as possible.
3. Now it’s time to go for it to place as high as possible. Hopefully the athlete is in a situation to medal or better yet Gold Medal. If the athlete has wrapped up a placing, now it’s time to bust some records.

Meet strategy is so important. For all of you coaches out there, it’s important to be prepared. You have to know your athletes. I coach hundreds of athletes, and I know how all of them react, and they are all different. A great coach tracks EVERYTHING no just numbers.

I am having so much fun down here in El Salvador. Four have competed so far, and we have six medals to show for it. Today gets really crazy, so check us out live on FloElite.com.

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At Mash Elite Weightlifting we want to improve the quality of American Weightlifting all over the county. We also want to use the barbell to improve the lives of kids all over the world. It breaks my heart when I see a child that is abused and/or neglected. I want to spend the rest of my life limiting that as much as possible. I hope that all of you will join me in my quest.

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