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Monday, August 18, 2014

USA Weightlifting's new National Qualifying totals, a good thing

USAW  just released a new qualification totals for National competitions.  Well, more than new totals, USAW has put in a new system for qualifying for National competitions.

Per their website, www.usaweightlifting.org , they describe the unprecedented number of entries at the 2014 National Championships driving the needs to raise the standards at Nationals.

A lot of our athletes at Risto Sports expressed concern and confusion.  While the system for qualifying is now a bit more complex than just hitting a total, I believe it can be boiled down to a couple of things:
- Meet the Candidate National total and you'll be locked into a National meet
OR
- Be top 15 in your weight class while exceeding the minimum standards

So, yes, if you're like me and already exceed the Candidate National totals in the weight classes you intend to compete in and you're higher than 15th in the country, you got no worries.   In almost every weight class, the candidate national total will put you in the top 5 in your class.

The good thing for your is you'll never have to decide how low or high to put your announced total for fear of lifting in a B session.   There will be fewer fake announced entry totals on National start lists.   For example, in 2013, a particular former CrossFit Games competitor listed their 58kg Nationals entry total as over 200kg, when they had not totaled above 149? in USAW competitions.  On the other hand, there are plenty of A session athletes who low-ball their total.  As an athlete, its not my concern, it is my coaches, I just find it annoying (hey, I always say what I mean and mean what I say).

I predict local competitions will be raised to a higher standard, especially as the site mentions possibility of regional championships.  This then will also mean that all LWC's or regions will keep records that count.  For example, in New England, I am so fortunate that my local New England LWC keeps meticulous records going back to the 60's, at least, and they carry records across weight class changes too.

Additionally, Nationals will always mean something.  I have won several National Competitions and medaled in more than I can remember. It really sucks when you realize that athletes in a weight class 3 classes higher than you lifted less than you did to win or medal in their class. Trust me, there have been a few occasions at a NATIONAL level competition when I lifted 63kg and could have won or medaled as a super heavyweight with the same total.

Recognition that you lift something respectable regardless of how the qualification systems change. So, in 2012, I dissected on this blog faults in the 2012 National Ranking system, almost by accident. I discovered my sinclair was higher than people ranked 7 placements higher than me. Well, with the new National ranking qualifying standards and National competitions qualifying totals, there is less of a chance of this happening.  From an engineer's stand point (some one who does a lot of statistics, non-linear analyses, etc), I would say the 2014 qualification systems are so much better-- their only weakness is the super heavyweight category. There is a much bigger spread between the top 3 superheavy weights in the world and supers who are ranked 4th-10th.  So, if you can do a 10th in the world total as a super female, you're chances are far  lower of medaling than if you did a 10th in the world total as a 63 for example.

For lifters that can do the minimum standard and are not in the top 15 of  their weight class, this will make qualifying a matter of how many people decide to sign-up. It will be interesting to see how quickly USAW will be able to respond to dole out the final spots. It will likely add some administrative burden, which is a small trade-off for hosting the best possible National meets.

On the positive, it will force everyone to get better and to improve their lifting.

The cut off for the American Open is October 1.  Check our the Olympia Cup , which is already scheduled for September 19&20 in conjunction with the Olympia, to up your total at a high value competition, plus Dmitry Klokov will be doing a free demonstration there . Register  here:
http://www.ristosports.com/conferences/training/books/alaskafit-presents-risto-sports-olympia-cup-registration/



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The righteousness of the iron samurai

If you can read, then you should be reading www.theironsamurai.com . The iron samurai is Nick Horton. he happens to be my BWFF- best weightlifting friend forever.  

First, Nick is an excellent writer , and he has a math degree- proving you can be good with numbers and write well.  I also agree with about 98% of his posts ( hey, I said we were BWFFs, not clones or fraternal twins).  And, his posts involve thinking, reflection, he cites other thinkers( never trust a "guru" who doesn't cite others, because not reading other people's work is a sign of ignorance).  In short, most of the blogs (and even many News articles) I come across a dribble, ranting mental diarrhea , or just restating heresay of others- Nick ,on the other hand ,is original and does analytical thinking, so you'll walk away learning something from his articles. 

Here are a few recent gems:

You Are Not A Unique Flower – You Are A Snowflake – Boring & Ordinary

Although the title makes me think, "dammit, I might be a snowflake, but I'm unique as hell", then stop reading, reading-on lead me to some thoughts I didn't already have. I took a little ride down the river of unknown unknowns ( yes, " unknown unknowns " is a real engineer term) and discovered something. Sometimes the things we think are weaknesses aren't really that important at all, so augment your strengths.  This isn't true for everyone, though I have seen a lot of people come to my gym complaining about some silly little thing that some ass-clown drilled into their head that didn't even matter. Seek truth. For more advanced lifters, your workouts might need to be focused on boring and ordinary things like an s-ton of repetitions in snatch and clean and jerk.

Coaches: Don’t Let Your Athletes Bite Children

This gem was also thought altering. He makes an analogy between violence reduction in society and coaching -- it's better than an analogy you'll find in a Freakonomics book.  Here's my favorite part on "why coaches fail":

"YOUR job is to enforce the structure that makes it all possible.

  • If your athletes have shitty form — that’s your fault.

  • If your athletes can’t do a single chin up — instead, they flail around kipping their shoulders off the bone — that’s your fault.

  • If your athletes end up at a contest pressing out all their snatches — that’s your fault.

  • If your gym atmosphere is negative — that’s your fault

  • If your athletes consistently fail to get better — that’s your fault."

    Yeah, so , this post is very Kaftka-you know read stuff that " wounds and stabs us". His hard words force the reader to look reflectively at themselves. Although pop gyms want to make working out fun, it's our jobs as the guardians of elite weightlifting to enforce structure and get results.  ie Discipline.   It's also why places like Asheville Strength and Risto Sports aren't like the set of the biggest loser, it's the athletes requirement to come in with intrinsic motivation and to follow the structures, to be willing to be disciplined.

    Real Coaches Don’t Make You Shit On Yourself, OR, Safety Is For Pussies?

    This one Segways to my last note on come to the gym with intrinsic motivation.  Nick also shouts out to Ivan Rojas, coach of Risto Sports. Athletes who are successful don't rely on a coach to yell at them, constantly. In my case, I had to accept that my coach was not going to constantly tell me how much he believed in me- I just needed to believe in myself. And, when you fully believe in yourself, everyone believes in you.  


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