Another year and another Vics or States went by.
This year, we had a slightly bigger showing representing the previous SES but now known as TG Strength especially on the female side. It was a good two-day event with a big number of lifters in each session which put me on my toes making sure that the warm-up attempts were on point. Even though some of the girls were around the same weights, this meant that certain attempt changes can easily change the order of lifting.
From a coach's perspective, it was a good experience for me as usual to practice my attempt counting but also ensure that my crew had a good warm-up and an excellent chance to do their best on the platform.
I will be providing a lifter-by-lifter account of how they went and finishing off with a conclusion of the whole competition as coach.
For this post, we are starting with the Saturday morning session where the 48kg, 53kg, 58kg and 63kg female lifters competed, I had both Amelia and Rachel competing in the 63kg and 58kg division respectively. This was in fact the first State Championships for the both of them.
AMELIA THOMSETT (63kg)
For Amelia, this was the second competition we had worked together on since she came through as an TG intern at the end of last year and started competing under my roster only this year. In the last competition (VWA Open), she managed a 133kg today (56/77kg). So in training, we had to make sure that those numbers were in reach. Our goal for this competition was actually to keep her safe as she would be competing in the World Masters Games three weeks after! When it came to the last heavy session, we managed to get her hitting a 58kg snatch and a 75kg clean and jerk, and more importantly, she even went for a 84kg PB clean! This set a good tone set going into States.
As my guys and girls already know, I always try to get them to start at least 1kg more than their last competition. So knowing that she could comfortably hit 58kg in training, we started Amelia on 55kg.
After that first attempt, her confidence was up. Keeping to my belief that jumps should be smaller and wanting her to hit more successful lifts so that we have a good chance for a good total, we put her second attempt up to 58kg. This was a weight she actually missed during our last heavy week but knowing that she's a competition lifter, we knew that she was able to pull it out of the bag when needed.
Now the fun begins. Knowing that her training PB is around 60kg, we knew that the safer bet for this third attempt was 60kg. At this point, the thought of getting her to qualify for Nationals was becoming more of a reality. We could creep closer to achieving the total of 144kg by getting her to go 61kg which was still a safer jump. But if she were to miss, it meant a 86kg clean and jerk was needed. So we went 60kg for the third attempt.
Seeing that now she has gotten all three of her snatches, we were 84kg away from hitting the required total for her to qualify for Nationals. So during the 10-minute intermission, we made a decision and said that we will take bigger jumps for her clean and jerks which we did try to train for in training and stuck to our opener at 75kg.
The 75kg went up easily and looked even better than in training. And since we have been pushing her to take big jumps in training, we did the same here and went on for 80kg for the second attempt. Seeing how she finished on 77kg in the last competition, this would be a 3kg PB in comp for Amelia.
Based on that celebration, and even catching that 80kg clean almost as a power clean, I figured that we had a good chance to actually hit that needed 84kg for Nationals qualification. So we just put it there. By this time, she had laser-focus on her lifting and I was already calling the weights without her knowing what she was doing.
From the video, it actually looked like she didn't get the lift. Why? Because she dropped the bar before she was signalled to drop it. Hence the drop of the face into the hands at the end of the video. What preceded after this was actually an immediate change to excitement as we saw two white lights! Even more happy when we found out that the button for the centre referee was malfunctioning and he actually had a white flag up! Both of us were so in the moment to not even realise that because we thought we had lost the lift. Saying that, it was a perfect performance and an incredible moment in my coaching career.
RACHEL WILSON (58kg)
This competition was more of a lead-up competition for us to gain some confidence for Rachel in her lifts. Particularly in the last comp, she struggled alittle with her snatches although we managed to regroup it quite well for the clean and jerks. In training, she was easily hitting 62kg and 64kg for snatches as we prepared with a wave-loading block and even PB'ed her clean and jerk at 87kg on our max-out session.
With the first attempt, we went with something we knew she could hit. Usually I would get the lifter to hit 1kg more than their previous competition openers. But for Rachel, we had certain numbers in mind for the second attempt so hitting this with a reasonable jump after was the deciding factor for the weight selected.
Following that easy opener at 62kg, she wanted to go for the elusive 65kg which she struggled to hit the last comp for the second and third attempt. In training, the 64kg was easy and comfortable and hence going into this one, we knew that she would be able to get it if she executed it right.
It's times like this that you know that the work the athlete has put in has definitely paid off. The ease and smoothness of that second attempt at 65kg was well-deserved for Rachel and I knew that she really wanted that. So we were ecstatic. With her confidence back in her snatches, we thought we would see how far we can push her numbers up.
Even though missing the third attempt at 68kg, from the lift, we knew she had the height on the bar and more importantly, the strength and speed off the ground to bring 68kg overhead. Knowing that 70kg was close in training, I am pretty sure with her mental game being more solid in this comp, we will hit bigger numbers in a matter of time.
Moving to the clean and jerks, we went with an opener at 80kg which was actually less than her previous competition. The reason for that was so that she would hit an easy opener then we could make the push for her to hit a bigger total. This was also because there were several attempts at 80kg and we wanted to prevent her from waiting too long.
Making good work of the 80kg, we went on to hit a weight that would set her up for a good third attempt. Seeing how she managed a 87kg PB in training, I thought it would have been good to hit 85kg for the second attempt so we went with it.
By this time, I left it up to her to decide what she wanted to hit next. Because she was trying to go for a good total in this comp, we did not want to push her too hard. She would be better off finishing the comp not too fatigued and being able to train immediately in the coming week. So we made a 2kg jump for 87kg to match her training PB.
Though missing the lift, there was alot to take away from it. She missed it because she was already fatigued in her back by then. And considering that she did only hit that 87kg in training on the Monday of the comp week. I am actually happy to see how she came off the ground because it was definitely a more solid attempt than her previous 87kg attempt in her first comp. Saying all that, she still blitzed the competition and walked away with a gold medal in the 58kg class.
With that, it concluded a highly emotional and well-deserving session for the two girls. Not only did they manage to hit some personal goals, it was done in spectacular fashion, making it more rewarding a job for me as a coach. With all that adrenaline, it was now time to calm myself down again and have a break for the next session which was the Men's 85kg and 94kg which I had two lifters in.
To be continued...