Welcome and thanks for visiting...
Join Now!

Weightlifting: Get Athletes Ready to Compete with a Mock Meet

Published: 2024-06-11
Weightlifting: Get Athletes Ready to Compete with a Mock Meet
5/5 Average rating
Please sign in to rate this blog.



One of the more rewarding aspects of my weightlifting/coaching career occurs when my lifters go on to become coaches.  In many cases, an individual might come into the sport, have a career as an athlete, and then retire from active competition, leaving his or her participation as the sole legacy.  This is fine and I truly value any weightlifter’s participation in the sport and its contribution to the sport.  When a lifter becomes a coach, however, it may well lead to the participation of many more lifters.  The legacy then becomes considerably greater. 

My most recent lifter-turned-coach is Kristen Garcia.  Kristen had a short career as a lifter, but she managed to win the California State Games, placed 7th at the Nationals, and on two occasions unofficially broke the national Masters records.  Last year, she and her wife, Jodie Peyton, took and passed the USAW L2 course that I taught at 29 Palms.  They’ve both been coaching at Gold Standard Weightlifting, and their athletes have developed exceptional technique, as I was able to observe last weekend.  So heartening.

A couple of months ago, Kristen asked if I could help her put on a mock meet at her gym in order to acquaint her athletes with the process of competing.  I had put on mock meets before and knew that this was an excellent way to acquaint new lifters. 


Basis of Trepidation

It’s not unusual for new lifters to be hesitant about entering competition, especially if they haven’t seen a fair number of them.  They don’t know all the rules (and they don’t need to), and some don’t even know there are rules.  They also don’t know the mechanics of how a weightlifting meet is conducted and that creates a considerable fear of the unknown.  Some of them may have seen videos of competition and come to the realization that the lifter is the sole subject of scrutiny.  This, too, can be terrifying for many.  A mock meet can do much to alleviate these fears and inhibitions.


It's A Rehearsal!

Competing in a weightlifting meet is a performance.  Unfortunately, the nature of the sport does not allow for frequent competition.  Some sports compete several times per week, and this provides numerous opportunities for athletes to refine their performance skills.  A mock meet is a rehearsal, just as a theater company or an orchestra might rehearse for a performance.  And just as in a rehearsal for a play or a concert, the director or conductor can stop the rehearsal and explain areas that present difficulties. 

As the most senior individual present, I assumed the role of Speaker so that I could control the flow of the event and halt the proceedings in case some clarification was appropriate. 




The Event

I held a briefing for all individuals involved about 15 minutes prior to the official introduction.  Since all the officials were new as well, I had an opportunity to cover the rules and how they should be adjudicated.  This set the tone. 

The event turned out to be a valuable learning experience.  It removed the mystery of competition for the athletes, provided an opportunity for Kristen and Jody to hone their coaching skills, and provided the officials, loaders, and spectators with some insights that would enable them to enjoy watching competitions in the future. 


The Hopeful Result

My hope is that the lifters enjoyed the experience enough that they will participate in more competitions.  Except for experienced practitioners in similar activities, most novices don’t understand that they will someday be able to use the performance experience to achieve their greatest results.  While a first competition may not yield great results, the lifter needs to learn that one can only achieve his or her greatest heights during a competition.  When one is in the performance mode, the mind is altered, and the body is altered.  That altered state enables the body to perform at its maximal levels.  That should be the reason we compete. 

I truly expect this group of athletes to look forward to their first real competition and the opportunity to perform even heavier lifts.  The experience removed the mystery and trepidation from the competitive process, and with that fear of the unknown removed, they would be free to perform maximally. 

We should always be looking to provide opportunities for growth.