WOG (Sally), Lucy, and I spent the last weekend at the East Coast Classic in Moorestown, NJ. Sally announced all but two of the sessions and sat in the official's chair for another. Her voice is holding up well. She's a great announcer. Lucy played the entire weekend; she's learning to not just grab kids by the back of the shirt to get them to play, and she's also learning to ask before holding hands with kids. Victor Gallego reinforced my coaching style, and Leo, though he shook his head once or twice, still approved of most of my coaching choices (I know he opened at a meet PR, but that's because his previous meet PR is now 75% of his lift). As usual, Joe Delago was a gracious host who reminds me that I haven;t always been useless on the platform.
Some observations from the meet include the future of our sport in the form of our youngsters. We had some very good younger kids lifting. The technique exhibited by several kids, four or five of whom stand out (two of whom lifted Saturday), bodes well for the future. The coaches doing a great job with these kids are Victor Gallego, Joanne Musa, Pete Roselli, and some guy from Virginia. However, there were also many crap lifts with horrible technique. A lot of these kids will be hurt or injured soon if they keep lifting like this. Coaches, please, tell your kids to keep their backs tight, to let go of a bad lift, and to squat and learn to move correctly.
Now, time for the adults. One comment right at the top here is that just because someone lifts big doesn't mean they're good. Do NOT try to emulate the lifting style of everyone who puts up big weight. People who are athletic often get away with stuff the normal person never will. Look for the people who do the following: control their start and have an explosive, smooth finish and who keep the bar close to their body the entire time, especially brushing the bar (contacting the bar) high on the thigh or better yet right in the hip.
Also, when you're a 200 pound guy who's been lifting for over a year and you're trying to total my best snatch, you should probably at least give a thought to my comments about your technique, rather than dismissing them outright and ignoring me. Perhaps had you listened before missing all your lifts in the snatch you'd feel better about yourself today.
I liked to see 140 people competing. There still need to be more, but this was great. Remember, though, that of the 140 people who competed and the hundreds of supporters who came out, that only about 30 folks helped clean up. These meets are thrown for two reasons: to raise funds for the team to send people to meets, and to give lifters the chance to compete. Please give back by cleaning up a bit.
If you're a new competitor, feel free to ask someone for help. Most people in the sport are nice and will help others out. If you're hesitant, ask the meet director if there's a coach who could help you; usually she'll know someone and get you hooked up.
Beards make you a better lifter. Tattoos don't. Go figure.
Retro singlets are fine, provided the singlets are clean and presentable. Faded, stained, french cut are all bad ideas. If the singlet is ugly but clean, rock it out.
The discussion between a high hip and a low hip start is fine and valid. Initiating the pull with your legs and brushing the bar as high on the hips as possible is good technique. A high hip brush with a vertical displacement of the center of gravity- not horizontal- means you get under the bar fast and easy. When you horizontally move the center of gravity, failure and injury occur.
People, seriously, find your adductors and use them. They're the big muscles on the inside of your thighs; if you can't use them as handles to turn someone over then the muscles aren't strong enough. Most of the strength imbalances I see these days are a result of people forgetting that their legs are round and have muscles on the inside and outside as well as the front and back.
For the love of mankind, PULL WITH YOUR FISTS AND ELBOWS WHEN THE BAR IS AT YOUR HIPS! Leo's always called this "pressing yourself under the bar". Victor says "More finish". You can't just let the bar go away after the second pull. Finishing the lift means securing the bar overhead.
Shoes, people, shoes. You won't regret spending $200 on a decent pair of shoes in five years when you need a new pair. You will regret spending $140 on a crappy pair of shoes next year when you need a new pair.
Coaches: know what the next attempt for your lifter will be before he goes to the platform for this attempt. You should have all scenarios prepared in your head before hand to avoid making emotional judgements. Don't make the marshall or announcer wait around, you hold up the competition.
Fans, especially parents: don't come to the warm-up area and tell your kid/ friend it's time to lift. They have a coach and you bring anxiety. Go enjoy the competition.
I'm sure I have many other observations, but I'll share them when I can. I want to have an extended tirade about coaches who can't get their lifters to use their legs.