THE WINNING EDGE: UNLOCKING MENTAL RESILIENCE IN OLYMPIC LIFTING

If only Olympic lifting was just a sport of physical strength; It is also just as much mental fortitude. The ability to maintain focus, manage nerves, and cultivate confidence can make all the difference between a successful lift and a missed opportunity. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the crucial mental aspects of Olympic lifting and explore strategies to enhance focus and confidence on the platform.

UNDERSTANDING THE MENTAL CHALLENGE:

Before we dive into strategies, it’s essential to understand the mental challenges that Olympic lifters face. The pressure of competition, the intensity of the lifts, and the fear of failure can all contribute to mental barriers that hinder performance. Whether you’re a seasoned lifter or just starting out, mastering the mental game is key to reaching your full potential.

STRATERGIES FOR FOCUS:

  1. Visualisation Techniques: Visualisation involves mentally rehearsing your lifts before stepping onto the platform. Close your eyes and envision yourself executing the perfect snatch or clean and jerk with flawless technique and unwavering confidence. This mental imagery can help reinforce neural pathways and build confidence in your abilities.
  • Pre Lift Rituals: Establishing a pre-lift routine can help you get into the right mindset before each attempt. Whether it’s listening to a specific song, performing a series of dynamic stretches, or practicing deep breathing exercises, find rituals that help centre your focus and block out distractions.
  • Focus on the Process: Instead of fixating on the outcome, focus on the process of each lift. Break down the movement into its component parts and concentrate on executing each step with precision and intention. By staying present in the moment, you can channel your energy more effectively and perform at your best.

STRATERGIES FOR CONFIDENCE:

  • Positive Self-Talk: Monitor your internal dialogue and replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of past successes, focus on your strengths, and believe in your ability to overcome challenges. Cultivating a resilient mindset can help you approach lifts with confidence and self-assurance.

  • Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable goals for your training sessions and competitions. Break larger goals down into smaller milestones and celebrate each accomplishment along the way. By setting realistic expectations, you can build confidence gradually and sustainably.

  • Learn from Failure: Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth rather than a setback. Analyse your misses objectively, identify areas for improvement, and adjust your training accordingly. By reframing failure as a stepping stone to success, you can build resilience and confidence in your abilities.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

If anyone in the sport of Olympic Lifting ever came out with and said that nerves, the fear of missing the lift, and the lack of mental toughness has never effected the, I would straight up raise the bullshit card! Every athlete I’ve coached over the 10 years in this sport have come across the mental block when stepping up to the bar. What I am about to explain is something I have used for myself to help improve my mental focus going into a lift whether that’s training or at a comp, I get my athletes doing the same as this is a game changer!

I have a 3 step approach before every single lift whether that’s in training or at a comp The first phase is behind the platform, 2nd phase is standing at the bar, with the final phase is when you are locked and loaded about to start the lift.

  • Behind the platform: This is where you are just chilling between sets/ next lift. During this, I’m going to be taking the time to visualise the lift and go through How I want each phase of the movement to feel. What are the things I’ve been working on? What do I need to focus on the most? How do I want this lift to look and feel?

  • Standing at the bar: As I step up to the bar, I run through the 3 main focuses/ ques. For me, I want to think about 1. driving hard through the floor, 2. Maintaining loose arms, 3. and getting tall through my extension.

  • Locked & Loaded.. GO TIME: 10 seconds before I lift, ITS GAME ON! It’s time to clear the head of the thoughts and prepare for take off! I often say to my lifters to wipe the canvas clean, no running thoughts allowed when you are behind the bar. Before I start the countdown I would run over the 3 keywords that seem to always prime me for a good lift (strong, loos and tall), then as I start the countdown I’m in the zone and ready!

It’s 100% worth your time during training to get into a lifting routine. Use this 3 step process and build it to what suits you!

CONCLUSION:

The mental game of Olympic lifting is just as important as the physical aspect of the sport. By implementing strategies to enhance focus and confidence, you can unlock your full potential on the platform and achieve your goals. Remember to practice visualization, establish pre-lift rituals, and cultivate positive self-talk to sharpen your mental skills and elevate your performance. With the right mindset, you can conquer any challenge that comes your way and reach new heights in your Olympic lifting journey.

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