“Everyone has a plan til they get punched in the mouth” - Mike Tyson
I am a firm believer of the fact that even though the athlete is the one on the platform, a successful competition relies on the preparation of both the athlete and the coach.
Before every meet, I always like to review and list off what I believe to be the main priorities to accomplish. This is something we need to do in order to keep ourselves grounded throughout the competition because we all know, things don’t always go as planned.
In Maddy’s case at The 2019 Youth Pan-Americans, we discussed both my goals for her as a coach and her goals for herself as an athlete. They won’t always align right away, but the goal is to get us both on the same page.
These were the priorities (and results) based on importance
1. MAKE A TOTAL
A total 90%+ of her best total would have been a success in my book. There are 3 totals we track: training, competition, and now international. Because this was her first international meet, it was absolutely crucial that we come out with a total. This would set the baseline for her international competition goals moving forward.
2. COMPETITION TOTAL
Competition total PR by 1kg
4. SNATCH PR
Tied our best
5. CLEAN & JERK PR
Accomplished with 102. Previous best 101.
6. JR. WORLD TEAM 2020 SPOT
Held the spot for 2 days. 181 earned the spot but was overtaken with an amazing performance by Avery Owens
COURSE OF COMPETITION
The plan going into competition was 77/80/? for the snatch. Taking 80 would have accomplished our competition snatch PR goal because her best competition snatch was 79. However, based on how the competition was playing out, we decided to take 79kg on the 2nd attempt. Our reasoning for this was simple, this would guarantee us a bronze medal in the snatch.
The clean and jerk is where we got punched in the face. We wanted to open at 97/98 and opted for 98 because we were behind by 1kg (against Mexico). We both used all our changes and since we had a lower lot number, we took 98 first and decided to make our move on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. On our 2nd attempt we had the choice of either 100 or 101. We ended up taking 101 on our 2nd attempt for a few reasons, it would put us in a gold medal position for the clean and jerk, with a silver medal still possible in the worst case scenario (i.e if she missed) and with Mexico missing 98, I didn’t believe they would take a 4kg jump to 102 if Maddy made 101. Sadly, this wasn’t how things turned out for us. The clean turned into a grind as Maddy stood up with the bar and she just barely missed the jerk out in front from fatigued legs. If Maddy had made 101, it would have been an easy call to take 103. However, with her miss at 101 and Mexico making their attempt at 101, we had to weigh our options on our third attempt.
Maddy is a phenomenal athlete both mentally and physically, so I had faith in her next lift would be a success after a slight adjustment to her set up and an emotional boost. Strategically, there was more benefit going up to 102 or 103 than there was repeating 101. This is where laying out our goals and knowing what we came to accomplish came into play. I opted for our third attempt to be 102 over 103 because:
- 102 is a competition clean and jerk PR (accomplishes goal #5)
- 102 takes silver in the clean and jerk (combination of goal #3 & #5). This is important because something I always emphasize to my athletes is that we snatch to stay in the fight, and we CJ to win it.
- Earned our spot on the Jr world team 2020 with a 181 total (for the time being)
As I saw it the only benefit of taking 103 would have been moving from bronze to silver position in the total. But the downside of missing would have been much heavier:
- No CJ PR, falling short of goal #5
- Falling short of jr. world team spot of needing 181 goal #6
- No competition total PR goal #2
- Higher % of ending her first international meet on a miss, feeling underperformed
When you’re on the clock, and have less than a minute to decide it's very crucial that you understand what the goals are. There have been plenty of times my emotions have gotten the best of me and caused me to make the wrong decision based on “wanting it” versus what is best for the overall progress of my athlete. Writing down your goals can help you stay grounded as a coach. It allows you to look at what is best for the athlete not just for that singular meet at the time, but more importantly the athlete's overall future progress.
But if your athlete is against mine, you should definitely say fuck it and open 100%. They’ll make it for sure.