”IM NOT READY TO COMPETE”
As a powerlifting coach for several years and a competitor for over 2 decades this question comes up often. I’m not talking about just first timers either. So when are you ready to step on that platform? I want to be stronger! How does that saying go, If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, well you know how that ends. The answer is different for a lot of reasons. I am going to cover just one of those instances involving new lifters. In the case of a new lifter as a coach, one of the first things I like doing when that question comes up is take that lifter to a meet. It is usually a local meet and I tell them to watch. I will sit with them in between coaching and answer questions. I will always bring up weights being lifted. Why, because you will always see beginning lifters lifting at these meets, usually with weights the new lifter is already hitting or very close to hitting in the gym. What does this accomplish, well quite simply their confidence. Often times the lifter will be focused entirely on what other seasoned lifters they watch on social media or they see in the veteran team mates or other lifters at their gym. They immediately think I need to be that strong.
Truth is there are many variables to competing and your own personal characteristics determine that. Everything from your age, weight to the division you choose to lift in, usually either raw or classic raw (knee sleeves or knee wraps) for the new lifters. Taking them to that first meets also help them to identify the differences between these variables. Allows them to see lifters competing in the same divisions that they will be competing in. The other important variable this covers is the rules and regulations for that particular federation. It will help explain in visual terms of what the judges are looking at what the commands are and to show them that it is nothing to stress about. They will also see the wonderful powerlifting community and the support the lifters and fans show to each other. That vibe and excitement usually is the closing deal for a lot of new lifters. The urge to compete has been lit and they are determined to compete.
Coaching advice for that first meet. Find a federation and a meet that is close, last thing you need is to drive half way across the state to compete. The next advice don’t cut weight, that is one less thing to stress about, and you will find you are much stronger competing at your walk around weight. Make sure your coach and you have a good understanding of the rules of that federation and make sure your lifting gear meets their approved gear listings. Pick light openers, usually something you can rep 3 times in the gym on a bad day. After all no one cares what you open with, just where you end. The last and most important advice I can give you is, have some fun.
George “PittBoss” Cano
Owner/Head Coach Pitt Powerlifting