Counting Attempts for Weightlifting Competitions

Of all the challenges that face weightlifting coaches, none are as fluid and as important as the ability to effectively count attempts so that the athlete is prepared both physically and emotionally when they are called to the platform.

The first attempt is critical as it sets the tone for the rest of the competition so the selection of what weight is loaded onto the barbell is important. Athletes want to set personal records so opening too low may prevent that goal from being reached. However throwing caution to the wind with the hope that something good will happen is a disservice to the athlete.

Training results are the best way to determine what the opening attempts should be and coaches must be aware of any qualifying totals at national events as the 15kg and 30kg rules are in effect. (NOTE: The 15kg rule for women and the 20kg rule for mean means that the athletes opening attempts in the snatch and clean and jerk must add up to a total of no less than 15kg under the qualifying total for the women and 20kgs for the men.

While the adage “Hit your opener!” is a good rule of thumb, the decision of what that opener is needs to be decided upon through objective reflection between both the coach and athlete.

Opening 10kg to 5kg under the athlete’s previous best lift is an acceptable 1st attempt if training has gone well, but the opening attempt needs to be a weight that the athlete and coach have completes confidence in. It needs to be kept in mind that an athlete may select any weight for a second attempt and many veteran coaches remember a day back in 1975 when Lee James set and American record in the snatch of 165kg his opening attempt was 150kg.

Once the opening attempts have been determined the coach and athlete need to decide on the strategy used to get to that opening attempt. In a conservative approach a coach will write down the opening attempt 10kg to 5kg less than the actual attempt, not because they lack confidence in the athlete but to allow for the strategy of other coaches or just in case the official count experiences confusion. This approach is very sound as the rules allow for 2 changes per attempt and knowing this rule is critical as the coach can use it to allow the athlete to receive more time between lifts if necessary.

The 1kg Rule needs to be understood as the barbell progression can be such that another adage Hurry up and wait can also come into play. 

With all the above being stated an acceptable method of counting attempts is this.

The 5kg 3 attempt Strategy

This approach focuses on the idea that most athletes take increase, of 5kg between their 1st and second attempts and 2kg to 5 kg between their 2nd and 3rd. (Even if the actual amount is less the count is not adversely affected by using this approach.) For every 3 attempts on the competition platform the athlete performs one attempt on the warm-up platform. Using the philosophical Backwards Design approach the coach and athlete can fill out their warm-card as listed below. The 1st card is blank the second card is filled in. (NOTE: In the event that the athlete is going out to the competition platform before the number of warm-up attempts counted can be completed just treat the attempt as a minute. 9 attempts becomes 9 minutes. A warm-up attempt every 3 minutes fits very well into the accepted neural stimulus activity as results have shown concerning athletic warm-up regarding weightlifting.


DATE

 

 

 

 

EVENT

 

 

 

 

ATHLETES NAME

 

 

 

 

CLUB

 

 

 

 

Bwt:

 

 

Total

 

 

SNATCH

 

C&J

 

 

 

Attempt

 

 

Actual

Intended

 

Intended

Actual

 

 

      3'

 

 

 

 

      2'

 

 

 

 

      1'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      3'

 

 

 

 

      6'

 

 

 

 

      9'

 

 

 

 

     12'

 

 

 

 

     15'

 

 

 

 

     18'

 

 

 

 

     21'

 

 

 

 

     24'

 

 

 

 

     27'

 

 

 

 

     30'

 

 


DATE

 

 

 

 

EVENT

 

 

 

 

ATHLETES NAME

 

 

 

 

CLUB

 

 

 

 

Bwt:

 

 

Total

 

 

SNATCH

 

C&J

 

 

 

Attempt

 

 

Actual

Intended

 

Intended

Actual

 

 

      3'

 

 

 

 

      2'

 

 

 

70

      1'

90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

65

      3'

85

 

 

60

      6'

80

 

 

55/2

      9'

75

 

 

50/2

     12'

70

 

 

45/2

     15'

65

 

 

35/3

     18'

55/2

 

 

35/3

     21'

45/3

 

 

B/3

     24'

45/3

 

 

 

     27'

B/3

 

 

 

     30'

 

 


While nothing is etched in stone and only actual experience will improve the ability to count attempts effectively following the suggestions in this article should provide a foundation for becoming proficient in this area of coaching.