Opening clean and jerk (81kg) at Ogopogo. Also the only clean and jerk I made, and one of only two successful lifts (I failed all but one of my snatches).

Needless to say, it wasn’t my best competition to date.

Technically speaking I didn’t do that poorly; I didn’t bomb and the numbers actually aren’t bad:

  • only 5kg under my best total (competition and training) 
  • 7kg more than last year, and
  • 3rd place finish

but my mental preparation and concentration was pretty off and it showed on the platform.



I couldn’t focus on the lifts like I needed to, I lacked confidence approaching the bar and I wasn’t fighting to finish my lifts.

Weightlifting is a pretty unforgiving sport, and with only a small margin for error (only 3 attempts at each lift) having an ‘off day’ during at Competition could mean you’re just shit out of luck.

If I look at my lifts at Ogopogo in isolation, I could write it off as a ‘bad day’, or being ‘distracted’/mentally unprepared. However, when I look at the bigger picture and take into account most of my recent competitions I know it wasn’t just an “off day”. So what was the Problem?

Poorly Defined Goals

For a long time I had a goal – Qualify for Nationals  – and I finally hit that goal at Provincials of last year. After reaching it however,  I became somewhat ‘lost’ mentally because I was unsure of what to do next. Train and get ready for Nationals obviously, but I no longer had something solid to aim for.  

When qualifying was the goal knew I what I had to hit and by when and that gave me a purpose. It also kept me motivated and accountable to train because I was scared of ‘falling behind’. And in hindsight my goal for Nationals:

“I’ll just go for the experience and do the best I can, I know this year isn’t about podiuming”

Was way too vague to motivate me and because it was so undefined I had too much “wiggle room”.

Not  that I wasn’t excited/didn’t care – I was stoked – I just found myself struggling to find that same drive I’d had leading up to Provincials because I was shooting into the dark, aiming at nothing and hoping to hit something.

Lack of Focus

This goes hand in hand with the goal setting problem, because without a goal I’m too easily distracted by all the shit that goes on in day-to-day life. And if I’m constantly getting caught up in/stressed out by that the little things it can have a pretty big effect on my training.

But all that day-to-day shit is a part of life, and while we can take steps to minimize the stress it causes, we can’t eliminate it all together. That being said, having goal does make it easier to tune that stuff out (even if its only for a few hours) because I know I need to train and focus if I want to be succesful,  and I can’t just go through the motions.

So Now What?

I need a new goal. Something specific, measurable and that has an ‘expiration date’ on it to keep me motivated and accountable. Because goals like 

e.g. “I want to lift well at my next competition”

aren’t helpful to me.  My next big lifting Competition isn’t until Provincials in December (4 months away) and for it I’ve set both a primary and a secondary* goal.

  • Primary – Hit a 91kg (200lb) Clean and Jerk and a 70kg Snatch (161 total)
  • Secondary – continue the ‘trend’ from my last two provincials and go 6 for 6.

And after Provincials I will reassess and reevaluate my goals so I can start planning for Nationals next year in Vancouver.


*by primary and secondary I am referring to the fact that if it comes down to choosing one over the other the primary goal will take precedence. I would rather take a risk and go for 91 and 70 than play it safe because I want to hit every single lift.

1 Comment

Weightlifting Isn’t Linear & Other Lessons Learned – Go Hard Get Strong · December 18, 2015 at 3:22 pm

[…] past year was a bit of a slump for me so far as weightlifting goes, I under performed at a lot of competition and struggled to […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: