Monday, July 21, 2014

USA Weightlifting Nationals

Dmitry Klokov  was in attendance and takes time to greet my Son-in-law, Jacob Collins and Son, Orrin who loaded  at the meet.

It was great to spend a few days as a volunteer at the 2014 USA Weightlifting Nationals in Sal Lake City, Utah. Deborah Carrol and her staff put on a very professional and organized meet that ran as close to schedule as any national meet that I have attended. Although it was a two platform meet, it ran smoothly and was easy for the spectators to follow. A good size crowd was in attendance, especially for the A sessions. The set up and atmosphere was great and that was reflected in the number of records set. It was the largest national ever in the U.S. with 380 or so lifters competing. The female competitors outnumbered the men with most weight categories have B and even some C sessions. Whatever your opinion of Crossfit methods may be, there is no denying that it has increased interest and participation in weightlifting here in the USA.
Here are some random observations from the meet, in no particular order:
I had not been to a national meet in over 10 years but it was great to see so many of the same coaches and officials there. For the most part, the "movers and shakers" in the sport have not changed much in ten years although there were a few new programs and coaches as well. I got to meet old friends and make some new ones too.
It was also great to see many whom I knew as athletes who are now coaching and officiating, staying involved and giving back to the sport. For many, weightlifting is a huge part of their life.
The overwhelming majority of the lifting community are high class individuals who treat the sport and each other with respect. I have seen a few incidents at smaller meets where the influx of the crossfitters has changed the atmosphere somewhat as they don't have a sense of the history of the sport and seemed to lack the "etiquette" and respect that veteran lifters have. At the national level I did not notice any of that. It was a very respectful and considerate atmosphere.

The 94 kg class was great with Colin Burns (on right) taking Gold.

I marshaled about 7 sessions which can be a tense job at times as coaches depend on you to be accurate and fast in recording and ordering the upcoming attempts. At the national level, where lifters have trained and sacrificed to travel long distances, it is vital to get it right for them. It can get tense in tight competitions as coaches maneuver and change attempts. I had no instances of disrespect or venting, although I will admit that I was a little rusty at first and struggled to keep up.
One of the saddest things that I hate to see is a lifter who fails to total. To me this is a cardinal sin for the coach to have a lifter "bomb out" or fail to get a lift in. I saw it years ago and unfortunately still see it happening today, maybe even more so among the newer competitors who came in from Crossfit.
It's an old cliche, but it's always the truth that it's not what you start with but what you finish with that gets recorded. Why start with a weight that's so close to your desired outcome when you have 3 attempts to get there? It has always been my philosophy to make your opener safe. Increase to your max for your second and break new ground on your 3rd if you are having a good day. Of course it's not always that simple for an advanced lifter who has been competing for years and/or is going for a national championship. But, it is always true, whatever the circumstance, that your opener should be comfortable and give you momentum.
In my opinion, you can approach a meet in two ways. You can choose to compete against the other competitors and react to them by adjusting your attempts to theirs, or, you can know your lifter well, see where they are at at the present time, (considering travel, weight loss, emotions,...etc.) and choose wise attempts that will allow them to get the most they are capable of on that given day, basically ignoring the jockeying the others are doing. After all, If you get the best out of an athlete, that is all you can do. I think at the national level you take the second approach for the first two attempts and then use the 3rd to maneuver if you are in the hunt. Certainly the first attempt should be taken with the focus on the athlete, not the competition. In all my years, I have had only one athlete "bomb" and that was because he insisted on not listening and I let him learn for himself. Know your athlete and don't be slave to predetermined numbers that are projected based on training. Compete in the moment with where you are right now and be ready to adjust as needed. It's all about making lifts, not attempting them. Don't allow ego or the intensity of the moment spur poor judgement. Focus more inward and act according to your circumstances. Don't just react to the competition.
For full results go to the USAW website. For more pictures visit the USAW Facebook page and our Mustang Weight Room page on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/kayenta.biolta
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Jenny Arthur takes Gold in the 75 kg class.

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