As I get further into the individual sport of Powerlifting and get to know more and more competitors, there are two parties that have seemed to surface: those who own up and those who… Don’t.
First, let me give you some backup. Throughout my entire life until I started CrossFit & Powerlifting, I was a team sport person. I played volleyball in high school (2 time state champs – what what!) and at the club level in college, as well as basketball growing up and through high school. My only experience with individual sports was Native Youth Olympics (you might have to Google it) for one season where I competed in the Seal Hop at the state meet. Therefore, it is safe to say that any significant losses in my athletic career before the present were due to the performance of a large group – a TEAM. It is commonly said “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team'”, so that means that neither big wins nor big losses can be put on one individual player, because throughout a game each player has moments of greatness and moments of weakness. It is a team effort.
Individual sports are much different. I’ll refer directly to Powerlifting, but I’m generally describing all individual competitions. Leading up to an event, you have weeks to prepare. If you fail to do so, it is your fault and no one else’s. So you don’t quite get the Total you anticipated… Prepare better next time, or recognize that your goal was too lofty. Don’t blame it on insignificant or irrelevant details. Maybe it’s my experience with CrossFit that has humbled me. In CrossFit competitions, if you have not prepared properly, your weaknesses will be blatantly obvious (for you and everyone to see). It’s not the fault of the gymnastics rings, the barbell, or the 15 foot tall rope that you have to climb 3 times consecutively (I’ll get to that last one in a minute), it is your own fault for neglecting something.
Last year at North West Regionals for the CrossFit Games, we had to do a team relay WOD that consisted of 3 rounds of squat cleans and 3 15-foot rope climbs. In training, we murdered the workout as a team on our 10-foot rope (we increased the climbs to accommodate shorter length rope) and thought we could put on a pretty damn good showing in primetime under the spotlight during the LAST WOD at Regionals. One minor detail: I didn’t prepare well enough, so the entire team suffered. It was on my very last climb of my 2nd round… The 135-pound squat cleans were nothing for me and I breezed through them. I got 2 rope climbs done, and then scrambled up to about 2-3 feet from the top of the 15-foot rope almost a half a dozen times, every time getting to a point where my grip had completely failed and I couldn’t even release my hands to climb DOWN, let alone UP. So I slid down like a firefighter on a pole time after time without getting my last rep. Eventually, the time ran out and I was horrified. I didn’t blame it on anything besides myself… My failure to work on things I knew were personal weaknesses. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Logistically, preparing for a Powerlifting meet is incredibly easy compared to preparing for a CrossFit competition. In this sport, you will be doing 3 things: Squatting, bench pressing, and deadlifting. There are no secrets, no surprises, and every meet is the same. Do what you need to do, and if you fail to execute take it as a learning experience. What disappoints me is when irrelevant factors are blamed for poor preparation or execution. Own up to it and grow from the experience into a stronger competitor – go back to the drawing board and fix what went wrong.
Rant over. I am not big on writing negative posts, but this has been something that has bugged me time and time again, and I’d love to have a positive impact on how people view these kinds of circumstances.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan