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Meet Week: What to Expect
Competition week is once again upon us. We are off to Youth Nationals this weekend, and once again we have big expectations for several of our athletes. I also like to give all of you some good ideas that you can put to use during Meet Week. I hope some of these help you out.
1. Meet Day Demeanor- this is probably the most important piece of all. This is also the piece that messes up the most people. The most common mistake made is being amped up to much and too soon. I don’t care what your normal personality is. I can tell you this one important bit of truth though. If you are jumping and pacing around at the beginning of a meet, you won’t be doing that at the end.
The key is to relax and have fun. How do you do that? Well that’s a great question. The answer might be different for everyone, but I will tell you what I did. I started picturing the warm up room as a big gym full of people that enjoy the very thing I enjoy, lifting heavy weights. Once I took on that outlook, I was able to just enjoy the moment.
I totally erased from my brain that it was a world championships. I just focused on the fact that I was doing what I love with people that loved it too. I was able to joke around and laugh. Guess what happens then? Cortisol levels decrease, and energy levels stay at a constant high. I would only turn on the focus and excitement part of the brain during my competition attempts.
I was actually able to control the amount of energy exerted per competition attempt as well. In powerlifting, I would actually smile during my opening squat just to stay relaxed. If you are opening with a proper amount, the only thing needed is focus. You shouldn’t have to get amped up. I noticed the same approach by Maddy Myers at Junior Pan Ams last week. She would smile during her openers, and it really seemed to pay off with massive PRs in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk not to mention the Gold Medal.
Being able to turn energy levels up and down is an art. It’s an art that separates most winners and losers. If the above technique doesn’t work for you, then I recommend finding one that does. A sport psychologist is a great idea for anyone. I believe that more and more people will utilize the services of a good sport psychologist over the next decade. It’s another little mundane thing to master that could really pay off big.
2. Meet day nutrition- I am not a nutritionist, but I can give you some insight into what worked for me. I will say that I employed the services of a nutritionist to help, so you might want to look into that. Most powerlifters and weightlifters mess this up big time, so it’s another mundane piece that can separate you from the pack.
I think that my meet day preparation was a big divider. Most people got too amped too soon, and they were not prepared nutritionally. That mean they would always tank their energy system way too soon, which opened the door for me to kill them. There are a couple of things to consider on meet day.
First, if you’ve cut weight, then you need to prepare for rehydration. The obvious choice here is pedialyte and some sodium rich foods to help the body absorb the liquids. I would keep things pretty simple at first like meal replacement bars and pedialyte only because the stomach is going to be somewhat twisted.
Once you get to feeling back to normal, it’s time to get some food back in you. My stomach was always a little sensitive on meet day, so I stuck with meal replacements, bars, and fruit. This kept my energy levels constant throughout the day, and it was easy to get and keep these items down. The foods that work for you might take a little trial and error, but it’s a little research that pays off big.
All that I can say is don’t be the guy or girl going to the snack bar after weigh-ins. That always showed me the rookies, and I knew right away not to take them seriously. Be prepared! Remember, there are a lot of mundane things that can separate you from the competition. The more of these mundane things that you take advantage of will equal more and more success for you. Become the master of the mundane!
3. Have a Meet Day Plan- I recommend coming to the meet with a plan. Here are some of the things that you need to think about prior to entering the warm up room:
• Warm up attempts and timing
• Attempts on the platform
• What totals will qualify you for bigger events.
• If you’re an elite weightlifter, what totals will get you the biggest stipend from USAW.
Here is an example of someone who is going to open with 140k:
23 and 25 attempts out- Bar Work
21 attempts out- 50k x 3 reps
18 attempts out- 70k x 3 reps
15 attempts out- 90k x 2 reps
12 attempts out- 110k x 1
9 attempts out- 120k x 1
6 attempts out- 130k x 1
3 attempts out- 135k x 1
Open with 140k
A big mistake that I see made by new athletes is warming up to slow or to fast. Always come into the meet with a game plan, and now you have one. Don’t be the guy that is warming up one hour before everyone else. That’s a sure sign that you are a rookie.
There are numerous strategies that are utilized at the table in respect to jumps. Here are a few that you can utilize:
1. Remember you only have 30 seconds to declare your lifters next attempt after a make or a miss once your lifter is again called out. I have watched several athletes get stuck with a number that they didn’t want because of waiting to long.
2. You have three declarations per attempt, so realize the games that you can play. For example, if your lifter is following himself, you can declare three times stalling the clock for each change. You are allowed to change the attempt as long as the clock is within 30 seconds of expiration.
3. You can declare openers either super high or super low to mess with the other coaches and athletes. Most people declare openers up to 10 kilos low, and them bump them at the last second. This can cause their competitors to be behind in warm ups which causes a lot of mental anguish. This goes both ways, so you should always train under these different variables. You want to be prepared for anything.
Another strategy is to carry a little notepad. I learned this from Glenn Pendlay. You should keep a different page for each athlete. On each athletes page you should have: warm up strategy, openers, 2nd and 3rd attempt strategies, competition PRs, lifetime PRs, and any qualification numbers that they might want to hit. Also keep notes on anything that you might improve on next competition for the athlete like a slower warm up, quicker warm up, or fewer distractions.
4. Losing Last Second Weight
Now let’s talk about several ways to cut last second kilo starting with the water cut. The water cut is just a plan to over hydrate, and then under hydrate causing a flushing sensation. A water cut is good for 2 kilos easy if done properly.
Here is how it goes:
1. Water Cut
Day 1 1 gallon of distilled water
Day 2 1 and 1/2 gallons of distilled water
Day 3 2 gallons
Day 4 1/2 gallon and cut all sodium
Day 5 This is competition day, so cut all water until after weigh ins.
Remember to eat clean throughout the week, and keep the sodium a minimum!
2. Sweet Tarts: these will cause you to salivate like crazy. Remember not to eat them and just swish around and spit in a cup. Yah I know, Gross!
3. Epsom Salt Bath with Green Rubbing Alcohol! I don’t know exactly how this works, but Rabbit has used it like magic. Simply get the water as hot as possible, add the salts and alcohol, and then get in and wait as long as possible.
4. Hot Tub with Credit Card Scraper! Simply get in a hot tub up to your neck, and every 15 minutes, get out, and scrape the sweat away with a credit card. Once again, Gross!
5. Now my favorite is to turn the hotel bathroom into a steam room. Simply take hot towels and place them over the cracks in the door. Then turn on the shower with as hot as possible water, along with the sink, splash the water on the mirrors and walls, and sit there and sweat. This works like a charm, and you are in the comfort of your own room. This makes it easier to check your weight naked.
Now this is something that we forgot to talk about today, but I wanted to share with you here. I will give Donnie Shankle full credit for this one. Here is what we do to taper:
Snatch max with no misses
Clean & Jerk work up to opener
Back Squat 90% x 1
Snatch work up to opener
Clean & Jerk work up to last warm up
Front Squat 85% x 1
Snatch work up to 75% for 2×2
Clean & Jerk work up to 75% for 2×2
I don’t know about you, but I just gave the kitchen sink away with this one. I hope that you learned a lot. Now I am off to coach my athletes at the National Championships. I am looking for some hardware!!!!
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