Is going 9 for 9 worth the hype or nah? I say (like every wise woman)…….it depends.
I whole heartily believe that making attempts is what wins titles. If you’re a contender, you have to make attempts and as many of them as possible. End of story. Why? Duh. More attempts made means a bigger total and totals win meets. World records do not win meets. Co-efficients and arbitrary mile stone numbers do not win meets. Big totals win meets, which means every attempt matters, every kilo matters.
HOWEVER. I also whole heartily believe that you should work backwards from YOUR goal. Some (maybe even most), aren’t necessarily chasing a title or winning a weight class or best lifter. Which brings me to setting outcome goals for a meet. Powerlifting is a funny sport in many ways, but particularly because it’s competitors seem to be eternally dissatisfied with their results. For a long time, I went into meets without any particular goals or worse, goals of hitting very specific numbers (10/10 do not recommend). Eventually, I gave up on hitting very specific numbers and became a little more strategic in my game day plan. The damnedest thing happened when I did this…..I started making national/world record attempts, I started winning titles, I started winning best lifter. Say what?! You mean, strategy and planning have a place in powerlifting? Yes. Yes it does.
So, how do I set up my meet day goals? First, I set a minimum goal. This is a pass/fail grade. If nothing else, I want to hit this bare minimum goal. Often times, this is something like PR-ing my total. This helps keep you on track if things start going to shit. Then, the ideal goal. This is what you came to do. This is what you’re training for. This is what you’ve set up your training cycle for. Then, stretch goals, just in case you’re on fire and crushing it that day. These are “pie in sky” but maybe there’s a chance goals.
Where does going 9/9 come into play? Often times, if you go 9/9, you’re going hit your goals because you’ve been smart about every attempt. Not to mention, with every attempt you make, you’re building up momentum, which is building up your confidence, which is building up your enthusiasm, which is building up your probability to hit some big deadlifts, which is building up your total. The only number that really matters.
The other side effect of going 9 for 9 is you force your competitors to compete. The constant pressure of hitting attempt after attempt can have some psychological advantage because you may just put your competitors into the hamster wheel of chasing your marginal lead. If my strategy is making attempts, I pay no attention to what my competitors are putting on the bar because I’m here to win, and winning means a big total and big total means making attempts.
Pulling for the win.
Should you pull for the win? It depends. Do you have an actual shot at making the attempt? Or are you willy nilly loading an unrealistic weight you have no shot at completing? If you have a chance at ACTUALLY MAKING THE LIFT, then I say load it. If you’ve already made 8 attempts, then you’ve probably closed the gap as much as possible and again, probably feeling like a rock star. So load it. If you have no shot at making the lift, then I say load AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ACTUALLY LIFT. I’m not suggesting sandbagging just to make the 9th attempt, but I am suggesting being smart and strategic and putting a weight on the bar that you think is possible. Make your competitors compete! Make the lift and make them make lifts. I realize this may make you be realistic about yourself and the day you’ve had. It may mean that on that day, you got beat but at least you can say you literally lifted every kilo/pound you had that day.
Loading an unrealistic weight and hoping for magic is not a strategy. Loading a weight you think is your limit that day and getting the lift is executing.
As for me, I don’t hope, I execute.