My recent competition experience at National Masters in Reno reminded me of just how challenging Competition or Performance in general can be. In addition to potential obstacles, the experience also underscored what’s important and how one’s process can flow more smoothly.
Competing is a skill. You have to practice it in order to optimize it. Competition is unique and cannot fully be replicated unless you’re in it.
Reno inspired this list of suggestions for general competition behavior, some obvious and some more strategic:
• Give yourself enough preparation time beforehand to lock in your goal totals
• Have a coach, or someone who’s supporting, especially to mind the competition board and Marshal’s table, and at best make sure they have a productive influence on you
• Have your weight class realistic and locked in so that it’s not a point of distraction
• If you’re traveling, plan ahead and be mindful of any changes in environment such as time zone, elevation, culture and food availability
• Be well slept and well fed
• Keep activities beforehand somewhat normal like a usual (difficult) training day
• Have a simple master list of tasks, including exact warm-up necessary for starting weight amounts in the time allotted, just like following a workout — prepare this beforehand so there’s no guesswork
• Slow down the pace by minimizing reactivity & enjoy the experience
• Move steadily and rest between lifts
• Realize there will likely be quick changes in the order of lifters — that’s one thing the coach is there to keep track of — so during the overall training cycle, practice decisive reps
• Have faith in your abilities, be proud of yourself and keep going!
Masters Nationals 2021 was a huge 3-day competition, and another great takeaway from it is that there’s a lot of strong masters lifters who continue to progress. Anyone can get on board and be a freak of nature, but you have to love it and be dedicated, able to put things in perspective to keep at it, and take great care of your overall health.
Lastly — though I wasn’t into the gambling scene, the Silver Legacy Spa in Reno is fantastic. After the competition I enjoyed a hot tub soak with a beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada!