4 Tips to Mentally Beat the Olympic Lifts- Tales from World Team Members

November 26, 2015

This is a guest post from Drew Dillon, a coach and gym owner who is a personal coach to 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold. Drew is the creator of Olyeye - a teaching tool that has helped coaches and athletes understand "causes" vs "symptoms" when it comes to weightlifting technique. You can follow Drew on Instagram and YouTube.

I see athletes look to fix technique or strength when they miss a lift. I never hear them question their mindset. Mindset is always over-looked and under-valued. Especially when approaching the bar, during training or even at a competition.

Have you ever heard any of these statements?

  • I always miss “weight” (insert any specific weight)
  • I’m supposed to go heavy today
  • I’ll try

As general as these statements are they can be warning signs to a self-doubt and our minds getting the best of us. The question to ask then is... “What am I thinking?”

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't. You're right." - Henry Ford

Now don’t get me wrong. Yes, technique and strength are vital to the sport of weightlifting. Yet, so is our mind.

When you watch an athlete miss a PR who has a decent amount of training, and who has some consistency in movement. The issue can be outside of technique or strength. 

Learn Mindset From Current World Team Members

Four of the best weightlifting athletes in the world share personal issues that have affected their mindsets in weightlifting. Learn from their mistakes and get through them too!

Focusing on the Competition - Jessica Lucero - 2015 USA National Champion and World Team Member 

Jess shares it is easy to focus more on the competition than to focus on what you can control- Yourself! Jess deletes social media before big competitions so it makes it easier not to fall down that trap. 

Needing Perfect Conditions to Lift Big - Aimee Anaya Everett - Personal Coach to Lucero and coach at Catalyst Athletics  

“Athletes need to lift perfectly even on imperfect days.” Aimee shares a mental trap of only being able to do your best when you “feel” everything is going “right”. Does the weight feel heavy? Does your mind not feel right? You need to push it aside and put in the work.

Self-Doubt - 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold - 2015 US National Champion and World Team Member 

Holley battled self-doubt before the 2012 Olympics. “I would catch myself approaching the bar thinking I’ve not done this before. That it was too much”. Holley’s first step was to become aware of what was going on in her head and then change her reaction to it.

Over Thinking a Lift - Jared Fleming - 2015 US National Champion and World Team Member

“Thinking about 2 or 3 things as you’re trying to move through the lift won’t let your body fire the way it needs.” Jared thinks about this issue a lot like the phrase “paralysis by analysis.” Jared suggests thinking about a correction then putting it back into your subconscious. Then clearing your mind and let your body move!

These are just four common issues you may experience. Mindset issues can take hold in many different ways, just like Holley Mangold said. Step 1 is being aware of what you’re thinking. Even athletes at the highest levels use sport physiologist to enhance their mindset.

Just remember- Step 1 is being aware. Step 2 use that awareness to then begin to fix the mind.

-Drew Dillon

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