Game-time decisions

Being a CrossFit coach, I hear from clients all too often, “I want to Squat 3 plates” or “My goal is to Bench 300-pounds”. My first response to these aspirations is for the athlete to stop chasing numbers. Chase progress, personal growth. Occasionally we need to take the time to step back and look at our personal starting point, how far we have come, and think about why we are putting in the hours every day, every week. If the reason an athlete wants to Bench 300-pounds is to sound like a bad ass to others, I can’t help.. Sorry.

My gym PR for Bench Press with a pause is 195-lbs, my meet PR is 193-lbs, but that doesn’t mean much to me right now, considering my circumstances. At Raw Nationals, I missed my 2nd and 3rd Bench Press attempts (186-lbs or so) after I had hit all my training lifts leading up to the meet. Same thing happened in September at the Top of the World Meet in Fairbanks… I nailed all my lifts in training and then when it was game time, I stuck with my plan even though it might have been smarter to take a more conservative approach. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and want that PR so bad that you can taste it… But is that PR worth a miss? Missed attempts come with all kinds of mental baggage for many athletes (myself included).

This past weekend at AFX, I had my attempt plan set at 77.5-kg/170-lbs – 82.5-kg/181-lbs – 87.5-kg/193-lbs. My first attempt felt great, but I noticed that our “Press” command (the pause) was delayed. Going into my 2nd attempt, that’s all I was thinking about… When I realized 82.5-kg/181-lbs wasn’t as smooth as it normally is, I made my first big game-time decision. Instead of taking 87.5-kg/193-lbs as my third attempt, I swallowed my pride and went for 85-kg/187-lbs. A less experienced Natalie would have likely stuck with the original plan. The intent of my participation in so many meets this Fall was to gain competition experience in my new sport. I am proud to say that the decision I made on the stage, under the spotlights, with hundreds of people watching at AFX was a showcase of my mental growth as a Powerlifter.

I went 6 for 6 in the Bench & Deadlift Invitational at AFX and I set a lifetime Deadlift PR of 157.5-kg/347-lbs. It was exactly what I needed to launch me into the Southside Winter Classic on December 7th.


Hangin’ with the legendary Brad Gillingham, who was a side-judge, after the meet:





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