Weightlifting Isn’t Linear & Other Lessons Learned

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by TARYN HAGGERSTONE

Weightlifting Isn't Linear & Other Lessons Learned

Last weekend was the 2015 BC Provincial Weightlifting Championships, the last weightlifting competition of 2015 for me, and I couldn’t have asked for a better competition to end 2015.

  • Went 5 for 6 on my lifts (63-65-66 and 86-90x-90)
  • PR’d both my Snatch and Clean and Jerk
  • Put 9kg on my competition total
  • Won my weight category (63kg), and
  • Qualified for Nationals.

Since I started weightlifting, Provincials has always always been one of the bigger and more important competitions for me because

  1. it’s Provincials,
  2. it’s an opportunity to qualify for Nationals, and
  3.  it’s the end of the (calendar) year and a chance to look back and reflect.

This past year was a bit of a slump for me so far as weightlifting goes. I under performed at a lot of competitions and struggled to make much progress with my lifts, so it felt really good to turn it around and end on a good note. That being said, every competition (even the shitty ones) is an opportunity learn/grow as an athlete and to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Pre-Competition Mindset Is Key

Photo Credit: Alive to Thrive Photography

[E]very good competition I had, I went in already “knowing” I had it and feeling good about the competition. In the weeks leading up I was excited to compete, focused on training and visualizing…
Looking back at the last couple years and what separated the good competitions from the bad ones, what stands out the most to me is what my mental state was leading up to the competition — and how I allowed that to dictate my performance. Pretty much every good competition I had, I went in already “knowing” I had it and feeling good about the competition. In the weeks leading up I was excited to compete, focused on training and visualizing, and I didn’t allow external stressors to distract me. The competitions in which I did poorly, however, were the ones where I was distracted, couldn’t seem to dial in my mental game, and as a result went into the competition feeling unprepared and sometimes apathetic.

The fact that our mental state plays an important role in successes is nothing new or groundbreaking; however, it is worth mentioning because many of us forget and underestimate just how big of an impact it can have. Most of us of us are not full-time athletes, and all of us have other stuff going on in our lives that we need to balance (i.e. work, family, relationships, etc.).

But when it comes time to compete, these things become additional stressors and detract from our performance. As amateur athletes we can’t put our lives on hold indefinitely because we want to train/compete; rather, what we can do is make an effort to

  1. leave our problems at the door when we come in to train, and
  2. minimize potential stressors during the final lead-up to competition.*

This is easier said than done, of course, and while I have gotten pretty good at recognizing what headspace I am in (good or bad), I still need to work on my ability to turn myself around when I get stuck in the wrong mindset.

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