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View Full Version : Do you get really stressed out at meets?



Travis Bell
02-22-2009, 02:10 PM
A lot of times I can remember getting crazy nervous. I'd get there and just go "why do I do this?" or "I hate competing, I wish I could just train all the time"

I mean, really nervous. After I got my opener, I was all set, but man, I was sweatin bullets leading up to that opener.

Now though, I rarely get nervous at all. Why? Beats me. I got nervous for years, but the last year of competing, I've just had a blast and never really been nervous. I just go up and do my thing, same as I've always done.

One thing that Rob Luyando said stuck with me. He told me once "Meets are just heavy training days with people watching." He's right too.

So how do you handle the stress of a meet?

What habits have you developed to help you not succumb to the normal nervousness?

Lones Green
02-22-2009, 02:25 PM
You know I don't really get too nervous at meets. I'm more of a laid back type of person, so that might have something to do with it.

I get pretty excited and pumped, but I mostly try to concentrate.

Like Matt Rhodes says, "It's just lifting weights." There's no reason to stress out.

You can bet I'll be a bit nervous March 28th though, LOL

Pete22
02-22-2009, 02:54 PM
It's funny you post this b/c my buddies and I were just talking about how I turn into this different person at meets. I tend to get in this nervous/focused zone and I've gotten short-tempered with them minutes leading up to my attempt. I love it though, I feed off that nervous energy and try to harness it. I usually just listen to my iPod and visualize myself being successful. I'm getting pumped up just thinking about it, lol.

Brian Hopper
02-22-2009, 03:19 PM
I get pretty nervous before my openers but after that I get excited and pumped for my 2nd and 3rd lifts.

Reko
02-22-2009, 04:33 PM
I'm with most of the people here. Nervous for my opener, then I'm fine.

Donnajo
02-22-2009, 05:03 PM
No comment....LOL....I am nervous for the opener too and then calm down but I think waaaayyy too much... when i swam competitively it was the same thing...individual sports where it is all on you....but my first meet was the worst for nerves...I tend to be a bit high strung though...it could be a female thing...LOL....way to much over analyzation...

evilxxx
02-22-2009, 05:26 PM
I have only competed 4 times in the past but never got nervous, just in a state similar to doing ammonia right before a lift. Been told I look possessed. hehehe!

Donnajo
02-22-2009, 05:38 PM
I have only competed 4 times in the past but never got nervous, just in a state similar to doing ammonia right before a lift. Been told I look possessed. hehehe!


Hate you! Just kidding.

Even though I get anxiety and nervous I think a good amount of that is normal and necessary....too calm huh? I think you can use it to your advantage because it gets you going and hyped. I used to sit in a space and set a timer and imagine my race when i swam and i would stop it when I was done...it was pretty much right on...it was a trick my coach taught me when I swam.....for Powerlifting I try...and i try...to push away negative thoughts and imagine the lift perfect...I never think I dont' want to do this because i think it is good to take yourself out of that comfort box you sit in and challenge yourself.. a challenge is always scary sometimes or just intimidating....but once you overcome it the reward is great.


another thought to add.....i am a female lifter...usually there are a handful of us at a meet (this could be a whole other thread) ...how intimidating is that?...i talked to a few girls at the meet and one watching that found it intimidating with all the men and heavy lifters....i am fortunate I grew up around men and sports and and don't have that but that is an interesting thought to add to the mix...imagine it is your first meet and female? Adds a whole other dimension.

Travis Bell
02-22-2009, 07:03 PM
Great response Donna!

The rest of you, take it a little deeper. Ok, so you never get nervous, what goes through your mind leading up to your first attempt. In the warm up room, what are you thinking?

I believe one of the things that helped me the most was confidence in my equipment. I never worry about my opener any more. I'm always confident I can hit it. But that's because I've learned my gear inside and out.

It may make a difference too, describe what level of lifting you've done. Any ProAm's? National level meets?

vdizenzo
02-22-2009, 08:12 PM
I don't get nervous. Maybe I should start considering how badly I've sucked lately.

Sensei
02-22-2009, 08:16 PM
If I find myself getting TOO nervous at a competition, I will purposely make myself smile and laugh, and remind myself that "This is FUN!".

Emotions are funny that way because often the outward expression will change what you are feeling on the inside. It works. I wouldn't be doing it when I'm on deck necessarily, but definitely doing it throughout a comp helps me maintain my warm-fuzzies.

ACaslow
02-22-2009, 08:39 PM
I get a little nervous but have a lot of anxiety. Just very inpatient.

A lot of people say it's part of my intensity. I get very mentally focused and sometimes hardly see what's around me. Just my nature. But inbetween lifts, in between squat and bench-bench and deadlift, I'm fine. I carry conversations, drink and eat with people... once I get close to opener..... mood and emotions change drastically.

I always have a lot of fun though. Everytime it's over, I can hardly wait till' the next one.

SoreFoot8343
02-22-2009, 08:47 PM
For 1, thank God for bathrooms. I am a reck all day till my last lift is done. Can't seem to eat anything and keep it down but I can drink liquids. Being a female never bothered me. And being an amputee just made me mentally stronger. Never saw and nor do I care if people see it as a disability I just thank the Lord that I am able to be thick headed and still use the give of strength that he gave me. I get really nervous when they call for warm- ups. My mind scatters on a definate plan on how I'm going to warm up and pray that I did it right. Everything else is just a reflection of the homework I did for weeks to lead up to the test for that day of the meet.

Ryano
02-22-2009, 08:48 PM
I think it's all about the opener. Set it where you KNOW you got it, even on a terrible day. It's all good after the opener. Then it's time to get down to Business!!!

fulldaddy
02-22-2009, 08:48 PM
This is a great thread - thanks for starting it Travis. I think regardless of whether you are on the top of your sport or it is your first time - for most people there is going to be a level of anxiety.

During my first meet in September I was anxious the night before and down right nervous as hell right before. I have a very particular warm up routine for every workout & not being able to do it at a meet along with trying to time it up causes me the most anxiety. Right before my first squat attempt I realized I had a knee wrap & wrist wrap - I said to myself - "You are an f--king idiot" - laughed - smoked my opener w/ no wraps and it was nothing but fun after that.

I think in anything you do - if your preparation has been great, you are healthy, and you have realistic expectations - the confidence helps you cope with the fear. That thrill, the fear, the uncertainty, the competition - it is all part of the experience and overcoming it is what makes your experience so rewarding. We are willing to risk failure because experiencing success is what makes life worth living. I'd rather be on the field, the stage, the platform, giving a speech in front of an audience or team because it is a heck of a lot better than sitting in the stands risking nothing.

mikesbench
02-22-2009, 09:10 PM
Travis,
The first Pro meet I did I was nervous as hell; then I realized when it was over that I can't change what I can lift by getting pumped up / excited or anything. The work was done in training and I look at the meet as a way to asess my training.

I also realized that I can't change the capabilities of other lifters so I stopped being concerned with what place I take and focus on just executing what my training has prepared me for and chasing the numbers that I have in my head that I would like to reach. To be honest some of my best meets have been when I've gotten beaten by some geat lifters, but they pushed me by making me see how much more is possible. The one that stands out most for me is taking 3rd behind Brad Heck and Jay Fry, I was actually more proud of that 2rd place trophy than any other one I've won.

I guess the way I look at it is I never view a meet as my "last chance" to lift whatever weight I'm chasing, so I don't get overly nervous about the moment, I just expect that I will reach my goal, weather it is now or later.


The rest of you, take it a little deeper. Ok, so you never get nervous, what goes through your mind leading up to your first attempt. In the warm up room, what are you thinking?

During warmups I focus on my technique and speed to gain confidence that "today is a good day", and I just go through my typical warmups as I would in the gym. Leading up to my opener I generally am focusing on technique ques we've used in training so that I do what needs to be done to set up my 2nd and 3rd attempts; more or less I try to just focus on form for all lifts and not concentrate on what's on the bar.

Ryano
02-22-2009, 09:23 PM
"Quote:
In the warm up room, what are you thinking? "

I'm thinking about that HOT chick selling T-shirts. Is she married? Does she like Old fat guys? Would my wife mind if I brought her home? You know, serious stuff!!!! hhahhhaaaaaa

NASAKYCHAIRMAN
02-23-2009, 05:39 AM
I don't get stressed when I just show up and compete in bench press competition only. I'm having way too much fun.

I do get a little stressed out when my role is an assistant meet director, judge, spotter, loader, clean up crew,etc. I just focus on that I'm giving back to the Powerlifting Community and eventually my nerves start to calm down.

lil' power
02-23-2009, 06:39 AM
The work was done in training and I look at the meet as a way to asess my training.


This is a great way to think. Being female, too (hey DJ) I'm more excited to see other females there, trying to help calm down the newly initiated to our sport actually helps calm me down.

I also found that if you talk to some of the "big" guys they are so accommodating, yes, as long as you time it right.

My biggest issue is over-thinking/over analyzing a lift and trying to figure out how big a weight jump to make on my next lift.

Reko
02-23-2009, 06:49 AM
Great response Donna!

The rest of you, take it a little deeper. Ok, so you never get nervous, what goes through your mind leading up to your first attempt. In the warm up room, what are you thinking?

I believe one of the things that helped me the most was confidence in my equipment. I never worry about my opener any more. I'm always confident I can hit it. But that's because I've learned my gear inside and out.

It may make a difference too, describe what level of lifting you've done. Any ProAm's? National level meets?
To start off, I've only done 2 PL meets, but have done a few more SM comps and have played competitive sports my whole life, so I think I can draw on those experiences as well.

I think I am more similar to Caslow, in that it could just be impatience to just get the thing going. I have a tendancy to want to warm up too early out in order to be prepared, but then need to slow myself down so I don't go too quickly.

Its not just a PL thing either. It was the same for strongman - that first lift was what got me going. Generally it was an overhead event first and it wasn't one of my strong points, but it didn't matter. Its almost like the anxiety/nervousness slowly rose as it got closer and closer to the first lift/event. When the weight was loaded and I am called, it keeps rising until I get under the bar/get the start command and then it just *POOF* goes away.

I was the same way with hockey. I was fine during warm ups normally, but we had a 15 minute break for a scrape and then 5 min. for starting linups and national anthems. During that, the nervousness would creep up a little bit but then once I felt that first shot hit me I would be fine. The bad part about that is sometimes that doesn't happen right away depending on who we are playing lol.

I guess in summation it is just an anxiety or impatience to get the ball rolling and get the meet started. I don't think it is so much being nervous about hitting openers or anything because I would go back and look at videos/training logs to remember what it was like to do the openers. That is generally pretty easily taken care of through mental focus, positve thinking, all that stuff.

It will be the same thing at Big Iron. I probably wont sleep well the night before as I will be going over the lifts in my head, all my attempts. Ill even catch myself holding my breath during my visualized attempts, maybe even contracting my shoudlers a bit or arching a little in my bed. Call me crazy, but that is how I roll. Did the same thing for strongman, did the same thing for hockey. I'll think about how the weights felt, how easy my testing went for openers, and then at some point fall asleep.

{edit}
As for what goes on in my head leading up to the opener, usually its just reminding myself that a) This gets me in the meet, and b) I've done it before, many times with ease. Its my opener for a reason, and that reason are a & b above. No one sets PRs or wins meets with their openers (ok, some do, but most don't), so no need to add any stress to it.

ACaslow
02-23-2009, 07:56 AM
I think I am more similar to Caslow, in that it could just be impatience to just get the thing going. I have a tendancy to want to warm up too early out in order to be prepared, but then need to slow myself down so I don't go too quickly.



ok, first of all, well for one I don't know who you are, but I can guarantee your not like me.... I'm cuter, prettier, have cooler hair and bigger biceps.. :windup: so NO, your not similar to me. Oh, I can also guess that my ass is firmer as well.

Ben Moore
02-23-2009, 08:22 AM
ok, first of all, well for one I don't know who you are, but I can guarantee your not like me.... I'm cuter, prettier, have cooler hair and bigger biceps.. :windup: so NO, your not similar to me. Oh, I can also guess that my ass is firmer as well.

Al, quit picking on people - that's Kevin. He trains with us

Kenny Croxdale
02-23-2009, 09:04 AM
A lot of times I can remember getting crazy nervous. I'd get there and just go "why do I do this?" or "I hate competing, I wish I could just train all the time"

I mean, really nervous. After I got my opener, I was all set, but man, I was sweatin bullets leading up to that opener.

Now though, I rarely get nervous at all. Why? Beats me. I got nervous for years, but the last year of competing, I've just had a blast and never really been nervous. I just go up and do my thing, same as I've always done.

One thing that Rob Luyando said stuck with me. He told me once "Meets are just heavy training days with people watching." He's right too.

So how do you handle the stress of a meet?

What habits have you developed to help you not succumb to the normal nervousness?

Travis,

It's part of the process almost everyone goes through...but no one talks about. Part of it is the fear of the unknown. At your first few meets, you don't know what to expect.

It's like going on your first date with someone that you like. You don't want to screw up, so your nervous. The more you go out with someone, the more at ease you are with them.

Your thread make me think about what Yogi Berra said, "90% of the game is half mental."

What interesting is the most athletes have learned about how to training and to some extent diet. However, few delve into the mental aspect of "the game".

A good book on the mental aspect of the game is Sports Psyching by Dr Tutko. It goes into visualization techniques to harness your nervous energy and convert it to your game.

An interesting point, you make is: "I believe one of the things that helped me the most was confidence in my equipment. I never worry about my opener any more. I'm always confident I can hit it. But that's because I've learned my gear inside and out."

Confidence tend to override nervousness.

An interesting book by Sybervision when into building confidence. The book noted that before a game, Mike Schmidt (Phillies 3rd baseman) would watch videos of himself blasting the ball out of the part. This is a great visualization method.

One of the things it did was reinforce in Schmidt confidence that he was a great hitter and was going to make some great plays.

Pete Carroll (USC Head Football coach) is a fan of The Inner Game of Tennis. This is a great book for any sport...you learn to deal with the mental side of you game.

Kenny Croxdale

Sean Hatley
02-23-2009, 09:08 AM
I get anxious the night before and cant wait to lift which causes me to have a real hard time sleeping.

BigTallOx
02-23-2009, 09:14 AM
I probably don't really count because at the meets I've competed at so far have been pretty small and I have been the only person in my weight class and division. But, I wasn't the least bit nervous, I love the intensity and energy at the meets. It seems to make me super focused.

Sensei
02-23-2009, 09:28 AM
I forgot to mention that having a pre-lift "ritual" that you do before every single lift takes some of the stress off as well. You kind of slip into automatic and go. I'm in a very focused, semi-pissed mode just prior to any kind of heavy lift or difficult set.

I know getting enraged, bashing heads, slapping, etc. works for some people, but I've never been able to perform well like that.

Kenny Croxdale
02-23-2009, 09:35 AM
I used to sit in a space and set a timer and imagine my race when i swam and i would stop it when I was done...it was pretty much right on...it was a trick my coach taught me when I swam.....

Donnajo provides a great example how to harness your mental energy to work for you rather than against you.

Former LSU Powerlifting Coach, Dr Billy Jack Talton did the same with his lifters. Talton talked about it in his article, "The Rage Before The Storm".

I am also reminded about what Rod Laver (tennis pro) in the Inner Game of Tennis about being so nervous that you choke. Laver said he learned to harness that nervous energy most of the time...but not all the time.

Laver stated even he was human. And in big matches, his nerousness won out and he'd choke.

Kenny Croxdale

Kenny Croxdale
02-23-2009, 09:43 AM
[QUOTE=Sensei;2095747]I forgot to mention that having a pre-lift "ritual" that you do before every single lift takes some of the stress off as well. QUOTE]

Sensi,

Great point. The ritual takes your mind off things.

A funny movie about Golf was "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner. Costner was shanking the ball off to the right.

His caddy, Cheech Moran, gave him a ritual to perform. Costner then starts blasting the ball.

Costner ask his caddy what he was doing wrong. His caddy says, "You were thinking too much."

Donnajo said that in part of her post, "... I think waaaayyy too much..." We all do that at times.

Kenny Croxdale

Reko
02-23-2009, 09:55 AM
ok, first of all, well for one I don't know who you are, but I can guarantee your not like me.... I'm cuter, prettier, have cooler hair and bigger biceps.. :windup: so NO, your not similar to me. Oh, I can also guess that my ass is firmer as well.

Agreed on all account except the bold :evillaugh:

evilxxx
02-23-2009, 10:17 AM
Great response Donna!

The rest of you, take it a little deeper. Ok, so you never get nervous, what goes through your mind leading up to your first attempt. In the warm up room, what are you thinking?

I believe one of the things that helped me the most was confidence in my equipment. I never worry about my opener any more. I'm always confident I can hit it. But that's because I've learned my gear inside and out.

It may make a difference too, describe what level of lifting you've done. Any ProAm's? National level meets?

I am a very curious person so every time I go to a new place my mind is wondering around just checking out everything new,then when it is time to get ready I go into that possessed mode. My first 2 meets where in Europe in a military base competing with military lifters from over 20 different countries ,my other 2 where state meets. Never going to forget my first one! so many gorgeous female lifters from Finland,Spain,France,Italy and Sweden...Grrrrr!

MarcusWild
02-24-2009, 03:20 PM
I'm really nervous before my first squat. Probably because I've only bombed on squats. I get stupid sometimes before a meet, modify my training, get sick, and lose a bunch of weight. That's not exactly a good recipe for success.

I still hate benching, but it doesn't make me nervous.

MBertrand
02-28-2009, 05:27 PM
I get nervous as hell before all first attempts... then I'm all right..

I'm a wreck the day before too... just snapping at people left and right. I don't want to see everyone in the gym on monday and have to say I bombed out or didn't get the lifts I wanted or this and that.

I just think about all the stuff I did to get ready for the meet... and then if I tank... how it was all for nothing...

Before my last meet warm ups felt terrible... and I was really worried I set my opener too high... I was literally freaking out, but trying to not let it show... then I hit my opener real easy and I was having a great day.