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To Compete or Not to Compete, Why is This a Question?

competition, weightlifting -

To Compete or Not to Compete, Why is This a Question?

Why we should compete.


Many of us have the inherent desire to compete, to see how we stack up against others in the sports we love. Others feel this desire, yet question if they are ready to be thrown in the fire.

“Am I ready?”

I hear this all too often with my athletes, unsure of their capabilities and are insecure with the thought of failure.

This is what I have to say to those athletes that are unsure if they are ready to compete.

“Am I Ready?’

You have been in the gym day in and day out, working technique, getting stronger, and now you have fallen in love with this sport.

You see others in the gym that are stronger and more proficient in the lifts than you are. They always talk about going to competitions and when they do you go watch, and maybe they do good, maybe they do bad, but you support them nonetheless.

You have a deep  desire as you watch them, curious to know what it feels like to be on stage. At the same time you think you are not ready, you are afraid that you will make a fool of yourself because you are not even close to the level these other individuals are on.

So you decide you are not ready and keep putting your head down and continuing training thinking, maybe one day.

Your interest in competition still grows and you start looking at the numbers and results that other men or women are hitting in your weight class. You think, “oh my goodness!! I will never be able to compete with these people!”

Well, odds are you are looking at nationally ranked lifters that have been lifting every day for years on end and have no other job besides lifting.

No, you are not lifting as much as they are at this moment in time. What we need to understand is the difference between national events and local events.

You continue to avoid competition.

Your coach approaches you and says, “So, when are we going to get you to compete?”

You reply, “Oh, I don't think I am ready for that.”

Your coach just shakes his head and moves on.

Your coach is the one person that wants to see you succeed more than yourself and is the one who really knows when you are ready...despite how you feel.

Practicing competition

Competition is a very different environment than what we experience in the gym. When you come in every day you develop a routine and become comfortable over time training in your home gym.

We usually have control over how our practice will end up. If something goes wrong (like a wrist wrap breaks you can borrow someone else's or you have your backup). We are ready because we know what to expect.

With competition there are so many variables of things that can happen. Murphy's law usually take full force that day. “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Quick story

Back in 2011 I competed in my first national meet. Up to this point I had only competed in a handful of competitions and had very low competition experience.

I was extremely nervous and was completely dehydrated from cutting weight. I was cramping  and had a trash can next to me because I kept dry heaving from nerves.

On top of that, I had my wrist wrap break. I had no back up and was freaking out because nothing was in my control. All I could do at this point was count on my training and trust that it had prepped me for that moment.

I ended up coming out successful.

I have had many other bad meets as well because let's face it, 6 attempts to establish a total is no easy task. That's why we train; to build consistency and have confidence in our abilities to do what we do best.

I digress.

We need to understand that there are many things that we have no control over.

There are so many variables in a competition that we can not possibly be aware of. This is why we must practice competition.

We practice to better equip ourselves for these missing variables.

For example, you need to cut weight. You have never cut weight like this before and you have no idea how you will react to this body change.

You have never lifted in complete silence facing a crowd before, you have no idea how to compose yourself.

You have never used a clock to time your lifting.

You have never experienced a judge's signal for down.

These are just a few examples of competition that you might not have any idea about. This is why we need to experience and practice competition.

You need to stop being nervous about failure or looking like a fool because guess what, it will happen.

You might fail, you might look silly, but the thing is, most people in a local competition are just like you.

All you can do is rely on your time spent in the gym and do the best you can. But the more competitions you do, the better prepared you will be, the more understanding and comfortable you will become.

From this practice you will gain a knowledge for competition to start preparing you for something bigger. The nerves will always be there but you will have a higher success to achieve your goals.

Now stop questioning yourself and sign up for a meet!