Final Thoughts – USAPL Raw Nationals
I think it is important for everyone to reflect on events as a vital part of the improvement process. Sometimes we can can learn and grow from this process after we have been removed from the situation for a few days. Categorized below are a few notes and reflections that were not included in the meet reports.
Throughout my personal lifting years, raw lifting was never really an option. Just before my very first Powerlifting meet in high school, someone handed me a suit and said, “Put this on, we have to wear it.” Five years later, I was sewing, adjusting, and tightening 5+ suits a day for myself and teammates. I enjoyed every “stitch” of it.
After this weekend, I can see why Raw Nationals has become so popular in recent years. USAPL has grown to include a new demographic of lifters (mixed in with traditional lifters) that enjoy lifting on the national stage, with intense competition, and without equipment.
Pace of the Meet
As a spectator, one of the dynamics that I really enjoyed about Raw Nationals was the pace of the meet. Meet director, Robert Keller, and his crew from Florida Gulf Coast University did a phenomenal job. They ran two platforms, 375 lifters, in three days as efficiently as you can. However, the lifters were ready to step on the platform as soon as the bar was loaded (one every 40 seconds during Friday morning squats). Without traditional equipment, lifters moved on and off the platform much quicker (many jumping and screaming with excitement); the meet moved at a blazing speed.
From Pamela Bartz (picture below) to Niko Huslander, lifters seemed to be having much more fun than I am used to seeing.
“The atmosphere of the meet is much lighter and people seem to lift for the fun of it,” according to Mike Tuchscherer. Mike also brought up a good point in our conversation that during an equipped meet, much thought and attention is directed to the gear being perfect. This seems to cause the lifters to be more serious throughout the entire meet instead of just on the platform. Not that these lifters are not having fun, it is just not expressed during the meet.
Not everything I observed this weekend went smoothly. With the increase of new and first time national competitors, USAPL’s Raw division is having some growing pains. The issues that I witnessed are nothing big or new, but when you multiply them with the number of new lifters, it becomes a challenge. The issues I am referring to were minimal: Turning in attempts within 60 seconds, warming up with kilogram plates, weighing-in procedures, and “equipment” check. These issues usually reflect a difference in what the lifters are accustomed to at their local meets (which may need to be addressed).
The solution was simple, extra communication and lifters helping lifters. I witnessed many officials and volunteers explaining these issues over and over to new lifters. I also saw experienced lifters (and their coaches) help numbers of new lifters adjust to kilogram weights in the warm-up room. Bottom Line: The patience and willingness to help these new lifters is what will continue the popularity and growth of Raw lifting.
Next years Raw national meet will be held in Denver, CO. I believe that meet director Dan Gaudreau fully understands these growing pains and will do his best (like this past weekend) to mitigate many of these issues next year.
We make mistakes; more than many of you may know! We have an editorial process that we are trying to improve on. However, we still make mistakes. From the beginning, one of our major goals is to provide a quality meet report within hours of the competition. We could spend several days editing out the mistakes, but then information would be “cold.” We thank all of the grammar and spelling police for holding their tongue. As always, if we make a mistake, please send us an email, and we will be very happy to correct any mistakes.
I went 12 for 15 (80%) in my weight class winner predictions this weekend. I knew I made a mistake by not picking Alex Tertitski (83kg class) before the competition started. My research process should have picked up this mistake. However, in the 74kg class, Jordan Burke surprised more people than just me!
I make these predictions just for fun. I do my best to research each lifter and make a prediction based off of past results. I always have the fear of upsetting someone. After talking with dozens of lifters this past weekend, many lifters like that I am willing to put something in writing, and they are not offended if I don’t pick them.
Many lifters also told me that it gave them extra motivation. For example, I especially heard about it from Kathy Marksteiner. I picked Sue Hallen to win outstanding lifter for the Female Master 55-59. Kathy, whom is in same age division, said that it gave her extra motivation to beat Sue. Congrats Kathy!
My family’s first meet
What a great place to bring my family for their first Powerlifting meet… Orlando! I answered a lot of questions on “why do they do that?”
Here is my favorite picture of the weekend (below). It is a picture of my son (age 3), taken within the first 5 minutes of him watching squats at his first powerlifting meet.
Later, on Sunday, he thought Niko Huslander was the coolest super-hero he has ever seen. Thanks, Niko!
Upcoming Bench Nationals
Bench Nationals is in Atlanta (August 17-18). Here is the meet website; get your entry forms in today.
Josh Rohr (meet director) and I were able to spend some time planning this past weekend. Josh has some amazing ideas and improvements planned for the upcoming Bench Nationals. We are excited to partner up to help with some of the media aspects. More details coming soon!
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