USA Weightlifting Features Your First National ...

Your First National Level Competition Part 4

Feb. 22, 2016, 1 a.m. (ET)

Your First National Level Competition

Part 4: Competition Tactics and Anti-Doping Controls

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 fourth of a four-part series that highlights the key components of a USA Weightlifting national level competition.

Competition Tactics

It is always an advantage in weightlifting to be able to follow your opponent so that you know exactly what is needed to move into the lead. However, to be able to put your athlete into this advantageous position, the coach must have a thorough knowledge of the rules governing weight changes and lifting order. Making last minute changes of attempts can often upset opponents and the timing of these changes is often crucial. Sometimes this involves taking risks – especially on the clean and jerk – which will ultimately decide the medals or the highest placing.

On the snatch, it is a good idea to be risk adverse, as this lift relies so much on balance and precision that the pre-competition game plan should be adhered to. Knowing the fighting qualities of athletes and their reaction to pressure has a great deal of bearing on the decisions as to weight increases. The more experience the coach has in high-pressure competitions, the better. Developing the judgment to make the right call in a tactical battle is a quality that all coaches should aim for.

However, the bottom line in all tactical situations rests with the lifter – if they cannot lift the weight all the tactics are for nothing. The only thing the coach can ensure is that they send the lifter out for attainable weights that give the lifter the opportunity to place high. Then it is up to the lifter.

It is not required that you use all your changes (i.e. the automatic increase, the declaration and the two changes.) These are to be used strategically to the benefit of the athlete. If the athlete has been warming up correctly and they are ready to go to the competition platform, there is no need to make additional changes that result in the athlete waiting unnecessarily.

Anti-Doping Control 

Athletes are subject to drug testing both in competition and out-of-competition by USADA. Do not leave the competition venue until you are sure that you have not been called for testing.

If an athlete is notified that they are selected for drug testing at an event, the coach should direct a suitable adult person to accompany the athlete throughout the drug testing procedure. The coach should ensure that both the athlete and the person accompanying him or her are aware of the drug testing procedure and their rights and responsibilities in this regard.

If a lifter is selected for doping control, the anti-doping team will on completion of the lifter’s final attempt, send an appointed “spotter” to accompany the lifter and provide them with a document to sign agreeing they have been informed they are to be tested. The spotter will stay with the lifter and keep them under observation – through Medal Ceremonies and any press interviews – and then accompany them to the doping control area.

Do you have questions? Ask! Reach out to our events team at who will be happy to help. This article concludes the four-part series that highlights the key components of a USA Weightlifting national level competition.