Two of the recurring themes when chatting to fellow lifters is, Do I ever freak out before/during comps and do I ever doubt my capability as a lifter, particularly around tackling new weights, new equipment breaking plateaus etc.
Simply..the answer is YES…and the day I don’t is the day I will probably fail quite spectacularly or just walk away altogether.
See I believe that If you don’t fear it you have probably conquered it so you either move to the next thing that you fear and begin your battle in defeating it. Or you don’t care enough for it to have that feeling and you walk away and take up tiddlywinks. Simple as that.
Occasionally it may seem as though you are constantly facing a particular fear and just not getting past it, this is when you are letting it control you.You have given it power and energy. So, You either accept defeat and move on or…you change your strategy.
At a comp last year, a very seasoned lifter who shall remain nameless, was walking round the warm up area saying how nervous he was feeling, I had just watched him rip 250kg (ish) up off the floor like it was a bale of briquettes…I saw no nerves in that man. I just saw raw power.
I told him that it was good that he had that feeling, that his lifting still meant something to him, that it was still important to him. A little while later he pulled 270kg and Matty had watched him do it. For some reason he obviously felt as though he needed to pull that same weight again a few moments later, this time it barely broke the ground and he let go. The lifter was very frustrated at this and began to vocalise this when Matty turned to him and said..something along the lines of ‘what’s wrong with you, just lift it. Didn’t you lift it already? either out of indignation or motivation (who knows) he reset himself and pulled the bar clean off the floor without issue….
So with this in mind…
- Nerves are good, this means your body is preparing to fight or take flight. If you are nervous about something it normally means that this thing is important to you and that you are taking it very seriously. I usually have a melt down anywhere from 2-4 weeks out and they last for a couple of days (sometimes the odd mini one in between for good measure) and even though I know what it is and that it is a normal part of my ‘psychological’ process, it still happens and I just have to ride it out.
The difficulty is when it be comes a worry or is causiing you to be anxious. This is where I advocate the importance of visualisation. Make your lifts/events so real in your head and play them on a loop, watch training videos of lifts that felt so heavy but looked like a bag of feathers. Remind yourself that you have been training for this moment for the past xxxx weeks/months/years and that you are capable of anything. There really are no limits.
Believe.In.Yourself. Don’t listen to the masses. Social media is not your friend when it comes to true self confidence (this is another days blog though…) Do not stalk your competitors, do not waste hour upon hour watching the training lifts of your competitors in the few weeks leading up to a comp. They are not your concern. By all means, watch and possibly learn from them if they are the best right now, but do this in your off season when you are building. You are not always going to have a cheerleader or voice of reason/motivation to say ‘Just lift it’ there will be times when you are going to have to say it yourself and believe it with utter conviction.
warning note* don’t turn self confidence into being delusional or complacent…even if you are at the top of your game, remember you still need to work bloody hard to stay there..and being a big fish in a small pond doesnt make you ‘special’.
3.Set No Limits
Well actually do..set them high and set them regularly so you keep pushing on and take all the increments however small they may be as positive improvements that are bringing you ever closer to your goals..and when you get so close to it that you’re almost there..raise the damn bar.
So that dream of an 80kg bench you have had for 6mths, that you cant hit, and are stuck at 77.5.. change the goal and eliminate the mind block. Tell yourself 85 so 80 becomes a number that is no longer a plateau.. I guarantee youll bust straight through it.
Anyway that’s my 10c worth on that subject for now..