USA Weightlifting Features Your First National ...

Your First National Level Competition Part 2

Feb. 09, 2016, 1 a.m. (ET)

Your First National Level Competition

Part 2: The Duties and Responsibilities of the Coach

With the participant numbers off the charts for the 2015 American Open Championships this past December, veteran and novice coaches shared the venue. Veteran coaches have shared their insight here to shorten the learning curve for novice coaches – so that all athletes benefit from this information and respond with quality performances. This article is the second of a four-part series that highlights the key components of a USA Weightlifting national level competition.


The coach should be involved with travel arrangements and receive the individual travel itineraries of all team members. In today’s world, all forms of travel may be adversely impacted. The coach should have a conservative travel plan, allowing for plenty of time to arrive at the venue.

When flying, schedule early so that the athletes can have exit rows or aisle seating, allowing them to have as much freedom of movement as possible. While it is best to ‘make weight’ before you leave for the venue, being less than 2kg over will be a plus. Remind athletes to stay hydrated when flying.

When driving, the coach may find that renting a car is a more practical solution than using your own vehicle. That means less wear and tear on the ‘family car’ and if you shop around, you can find some really good deals on full sized cars and even SUVs or vans.

Hotel check in and rooming arrangements must be supervised. The coach should make a note of all team members’ room numbers and ensure that they, in turn, know all staff room numbers.

As soon as the hotel check-in process is complete, the head coach needs to get the athletes credentialed and check the Start List and Schedule for any changes to weigh-in and session start times. Note that this will only be final after the Technical Conference is completed. A final start list and schedule (even if nothing changed) is emailed to every participant and placed on the website at the end of the Technical Conference. It is recommended to schedule to check your email approximately 10pm local time and ensure everyone is aware of any changes to sessions or schedules for your athletes.

The coach then needs to get familiar with the whereabouts of a weight check scale, the location and opening times of the dining hall or restaurants, and the location and available times of the training hall. A short team meeting should be called to share the information with all athletes.

Equipment Check

It is important for every coach and athlete to ensure that their competition gear is in alignment with all rules and regulations. If the Technical Controller determines that a piece of equipment is in violation of the rules, they will tell the athlete to remove it. DO NOT argue as the clock does not stop during this event.

Rules include:

  • Currently there is a lot of debate of weightlifting belts. USAW/IWF rules state that a belt my not be wider than 12cm. Many commercial product belts are actually 13cm.  Measure your belt and make sure it is in compliance.
  • Singlets must be one piece and cannot cover the elbows or knees.
  • Sleeves may be worn on the knees. They may not cover an area of more than 30cm.
  • Wraps may be worn. They must be off one material. They may be of any length but only cover 30cm on the legs and 10cm on the wrists.
  • Elbows may not be covered.
  • Shirts may be worn under the singlet but not cover the elbows. They must be collarless
  • Shorts may be worn under the singlet but may not cover the knees.
  • Head coverings may be worn but if they fall off during the execution of a lift it may result in the lift being disallowed as only the athlete’s feet may touch the platform during a lift.
  • Gloves and palm guards may be worn
  • Bandages may be worn on the inside and outside of the hands
  • Bandages may be worn to cover wounds and prevent bleeding

Venue Appraisal

The coach should locate and visit the training and competition venue. These are often at the same location but not always. The distance and travel times between accommodations and the venue should be noted. Any transportation schedules available need to be collected. The head coach should check the competition venue and attempt to ascertain any problem areas.

The following are a guide to some of the items that need attention.

  • Location of weigh-in room
  • Location of sauna
  • Distance of warm up room from competition area
  • Type of barbell to be used in competition & warm up
  • Lighting and temperature of competition & warm up areas
  • Position of time clock
  • Position and audibility of “Down” signal
  • Platform surface
  • Location of warm up room scoreboard
  • Location and operation of any closed circuit TV
  • Location of announcer
  • Availability of chalk & resin
  • Layout of warm up room
  • Appraisal of best warm up room platforms
  • Availability of drinks, food etc.
  • Availability of rest area for post weigh-in & between lifts
  • Location and availability of ice
  • Availability of chairs
  • Location of Marshals table

Prior to competition, logistical details are emailed to participants and posted on the USA Weightlifting event page on the website.

Access to the training hall, competition hall, and athlete check in, and check scale open at 2pm local time on the day before competition. Access before this time is prohibited.

Do you have questions? Ask! Reach out to our events team at who will be happy to help. Stay tuned for the next edition of this series that will focus on weigh-in and warm up!

Prior Articles