What a day this was for Liverpool Weightlifting Club! For most (with the exception of Jodie) the first competition back since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020!
Before I get the show on the road I really need to give credit to Altrincham Weightlifting Club and those linked to the organisation of the day on a seamlessly run event. Easily the best venue for a tier 3 event that I've ever coached at, there was an abundance of kit, loads of space to warm up (10 platforms!) and a really good vibe from everyone involved (Paul you should be proud of what you and your team have achieved). Of course, Ed Halstead has to be mentioned in the thanks for acting the part of ringleader on the day and really kept things moving along.
My final thanks go out to the support we had on the day, team mates, friends, partners. You all made so much noise and showed so much support on the day, not just for our own team but also for other athletes from other clubs! Absolute credit to LWLC and yourselves.
Okay, let's get started! The first lifter out on the platform was Karl!
Karl was quite honestly easy to coach on the day. Since the moment he signed up for the competition he has been dialled in, focused on training and communicated with me every step of the way so we already knew how he was going to warm up, what range he would open him at and how hard I could push him. I actually think that my main contribution on the day was taking his bobble hat off of him as he walked out to take his first lift haha!
Something you might not realise is that Karl started out with me with seriously unstable shoulders, pain overhead was pretty frequent so we had to make some key changes with his technique and training to ensure that we didn't do further harm or aggravate his shoulder further. After some trial and error we found that no foot variations in the snatch were better on his shoulder than with foot movement (probably due to the reduced impact when fixating under the bar), missing out front in both the snatch and jerk really pissed off his shoulder so we agreed that if its not perfect - swerve it! Lastly we tried our best to ensure that his hip position and core stability was as good as it could possibly be before increasing load overhead - instability always seemed to travel upwards and present in his shoulder. Whilst we have work to do still, I genuinely think that the patience paid off as he's a country mile from where he started out.
Competing in the same session as Karl, Mark is a little more experienced with a couple of competitions from before the pandemic already under his belt. Since then he's improved substantially in all aspects! Not just in his lifting performance but also in his focus and his confidence.
Prior to Altrincham Mark had a bit of a bad time with openers, missing both 65 and 66 in separate competitions - but not this time! He hit his opener with (a slightly shaky) 81kg, before progressing onto far more solid snatches at 85 and 88. The perfect start!
For Clean & Jerk we opened Mark on a straight forward 102kg - easy. Then made 5kg jumps to 107 and 112kg and slayed both! "6 for 6 maaaaaate!!"
Could not have been happier with his performance. Mark has worked his ass off non stop to improve his jerks which would often be the limiting factor on his C&J, and to see the work pay off and all come together on competition day to nab a silver medal was an amazing feeling.
I eluded to Mark's last comp performance earlier in the recap, so here's some stats for you...
Comp 1: SN: 65, C&J: 95, Total: 160 (3/6)
Comp 2: SN: 70, C&J: 100, Total: 170 (5/6)
Comp 3: SN: 88, C&J: 112, Total: 200 (6/6)
Louise was by far our least experienced weightlifter on the day but put in as good a performance as anyone else! She's come into weightlifting pretty strong already, which I'm sure you can tell by the way she power snatched all of her attempts (which is likely due to nerves on the day), and stood up her cleans as if they were an empty barbell. She got a bit unlucky on her last jerk and drove early with her arms leading to quite a big press out - but again it says a lot about her strength to be able to press out from the range that she did!
I'm excited to see how much better she can get before her next competition!
Another Weightlifter experiencing her first competition! Dont be fooled by her limited experience experience though, she is one of the clubs most technical lifters!
Emma crushed her snatch attempts, if we did it all again I'd have pushed her harder! Like Louise her cleans really were not a challenge and she could have exceeded 60kg given the chance, but she was limited by her Jerk which was a bit of a nemesis for her on the day.
Because Emma is so technically minded she came back to me days later after watching her own performance and was able to point out the errors and what their cause was and quizzed me on what could help remedy the issues - this is what makes her a dream to work with - She doesn't wallow in pity, she doesn't get angry, she gets productive and focusses on the next step in the journey.
Our second 6/6 performance of the day from our other 'long boi' Michael!
If im critical of myself for a second, Michaels session was the only one where I felt as though I dropped the ball somewhat. I started Michaels warm up wayyyy too early, and we had to hold him at about 60% for wayyyy too long, I should have just started his warm up later. Fortunately it didn't effect his performance!
In snatch Michael channelled his inner Shiv Zhiyong and power snatched his opener! To which he was given a verbal kick up the arse for when he came back to the warm up area (he sometimes catches his powers forward, I didn't want that to carry across when he intended to catch in a full snatch). The rest of the snatch session went pretty smoothly fortunately with some really solid makes at 75 and 80! Clean and Jerk was incredibly smooth, no attempt timing mess ups, no power cleans, 3/3 - easy! His last attempt was actually a C&J PB, and just look at what it meant to him!
What I admired about Michael in particular at the meet was his support for other weightlifters. He had genuine awe and elation for those making PBs and big lifts, and felt disappointment for anyone who missed attempts. He's a very good, very strong egg.
Now for our most seasoned weightlifter!
Jodie has had a bit of a whirlwind since joining us. And by that I mean she joined then we went into a lockdown, then another and... you know how it went.
When she started we both recognised that she had technical changes to make, and accepted that it would likely take a long period of time to happen. With snatch in particular I'm genuinely so pleased to see all of the hard work start to pay off in competition, and to have her snatching 2kg away from her all time best without a peak or even a particularly heavy training cycle is really promising.
Despite the excellent showing in snatch, I know that Jodie was disappointed in her Clean & Jerk performance after missing her last two Jerks. In training I've seen Jodie miss a jerk maybe a hand full of times. Even after having to dig her way out of the bottom of a front squat she would normally just 'pop' and the jerk would be there. So definitely a surprise to see her miss at all!
But we can't dwell on the 'what could have been'. In reality Jodie put out her second best performance since she started competing, we will find the 6kg between snatch and Clean & Jerk to break her competition best soon, I'm more than sure of it!
Altrincham was the perfect venue for our return to competition. The AWLC volunteers, BWL Staff and locals to the gym were all incredibly friendly and helpful and I hope all comps carry on to be like this.
As a team we made 29/36 lifts which really is not a bad statistic. Almost every miss we had came from Jerk, in fact 6/7 missed attempts were Jerks, and the one miss from Karl in the snatch was a clear attempt at some sort of self sabotage.
Competitions are important for Weightlifting. It of course provides an opportunity to show the fruits of your labor where the spotlight is focussed directly upon you for 6 attempts. But it also exposes who you are and what is autonomous about your lifting when the pressure is on, and ultimately provides you with the next step you need to take to progress.
"The obstacle is the way" - Ryan Holiday
Thanks for reading!
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