Having been an internationally competitive weightlifting for over a decade of my life, for me Olympic weightlifting is a state of mind, perhaps even a ‘personality', rather than just a sport. In, not so brief, here’s why.
Weightlifting has the ability to teach you:
That to succeed you must first try
How to pick yourself up after failure - as a sport weightlifting, in essence, is about failure itself. You push yourself to the point of either failure of the body to be strong enough or technically competent enough to get the bar in the right place, or until your mind fails to believe in your ability.
To share in others successes, even if not your own – others have great days in training and this may even be when you’re having the “worst session of life” but indulging in others successes has been proven by sport psychologists to aid in your own success
How to be supportive of others even when your eye is on your own goal. We’re talking ‘team spirit’ in an individual sporting environment
How to remove self-limitations and have the courage to want for more
Deal with criticism and accept ambiguity – sport is full of people who think they know better or new training methods that claim to be the key to success. It’s hard not to hear this and you will be inundated with tips and opinions from coaches about what you need to do to get better. You learn to filter out what works for you and ignore what doesn't without it negatively affecting your lifting.
How to take responsibility for your own achievements, successes, failures and choices – at the end of the day it’s only YOU standing on that platform and only you can control the outcome.
Have faith in yourself to just let go – sometimes lifters will over analyse what they need to do and often it’s their brain that is actually limiting their improvement. If they just learn to let go a bit and trust that their body knows what to do, even without them thinking about it, then success may come sooner
How to overcome fears - jumping under a bar that you think may just end up landing on your head is scary for anyone…no matter how long you have been lifting!
That you can and might just still surprise yourself – we’ve established that it’s normal to be just be a little bit scared of trying a new lift, but to do it and to do it with a totally open mind as to the outcome may just result in you surprising yourself and getting the weight. What an awesome feeling.
Deal with pressure – so you’ve taken 2 out of 3 lifts in a competition, failed them and are feeling exhausted. It’s this or go home…now that’s pressure. But I have seen it doen and have pulled it off myself on many occasions. How? Well that’s different for everyone. For me it was about calming and clearing my mind and trusting my body. For others it might be about reminding themselves why they do it and their love of the sport, or perhaps bringing in the desire to succeed and the meaning of that to the forefront of the mind. It may be a technical thing that when reminded about is the key to their success.
What a sport!