So here we are, the British Nationals is here again so damn fast.
This year we are looking at 450+ competitors, 3 platforms and more staff in one place than I have ever had to deal with. More equipment, more logistics, lorries and vans and more AV equipment.
Holding our nationals at Bodypower is something that was a huge deal for us - it gives the lifters exposure to over 120,000 people going through Bodypower over 3 days and gives them the chance to be seen by audience of interested and amazed onlookers instead of only those associated with people lifting.
As a lifter you might think its complicated - from the point of view organising a competition at Expo - it really isnt. The only complicated bit you have to think about is where to pick up your competitor tickets and where the additional tickets you ordered are going - all of which is updated for you on the A/BPU web site, Facebook Event page and also the Facebook A/BPU main page. Its all there.
For us, well mainly me and also my husband, its meeting with Bodypower, working out layouts, where seating areas are, delivery of equipment, pickups, ticket collections, where loos are, entry systems, weigh in booth construction, personnel rostas, hotel rostas, checking the memberships for all the entries. Then the data entry for the flights, moving people into flights, changes of weight classes, divisions, people pulling out and putting that all onto the programme that you see on the monitors.
The point I am making is that we have many volunteers all there for you, the lifter and making this happen.. The whole essence of the federation has been to be lifter focused and make competitions the least stressful and easy as possible. Now, an Expo, with all the people creates the added anxiety to competing so it can feel stressy and busy, when in fact, its the same as it was when you competed in a shoe box with 30 others lifters crammed in it. So, perception has a lot to do with it and how you respond to the perception you have is how you will feel.
The reality is that you will have more space than you usually have at any qualilfier, more equipment, more time and more help. Take a moment to sit in the warm up and look around, acclimatize and see all the stuff you HAVE to keep you informed.
Behind each platform audience area will be the monitor for that platform - you probably wont be able to hear the announcements that well, just like at qualifiers, but you will have a HUUUGE monitor so you just keep your eye on that. Get your warm ups in and take the weights on and off the bar yourself, dont bugger about and clog up the warm up kit with others waiting - this is what causes stress for others.
The week of Bodypower, the approximate flight times will go up on the Facebook Event Page. these are approximate and will be until the final weigh ins are done each morning. Assume your flight will change!!!!
Once the morning weigh ins are finished, the race is on for us to work out if the flights are changing. We are only allowed 20 in a flight so if people change divisions and weight classes then that is what causes changes in flight numbers - so its YOU GUYS that create the changes in flights! Normally the first flight wont change but BUT there is always the possibility it might so rule of thumb is to be there 8am. The final flights will go up on paper at each platform and on the platform tables. Check the platform and the flight you are in. We will be working on the split of flights for each day once the entries close on the 29th at 5pm. Then we need until 5th to work it all out.
So, remember few things.
Firstly, this is your British Championships, we are very aware that everything rides on you placing here for the World Championships selection and the pressure you are under. Keep in mind ALL our staff compete and they understand.
As you have all this pressure on you - we try and make everything as smooth as possible but we also need you to read the information posted on the web site, social media and the emails. This way everyone knows what they are doing and it is less stressful for everyone. The pressure will also dictate how you respond to situations and decision making - be aware of this and take a few moments to "opt out" if others around you are pre comp anxious - its spreads! Also try not to get involved in others "stuff" unless you can actually help. Concentrate on your own competing, even though you might want to give support, everyone understands and let the people that can practically help do their job.
Treat our staff with respect please - they are here to help you and give back to the sport. This includes the referees - we are completely lifter focused so we WANT you get your lifts and will help however we can within the rules. If a red light is given then ask what is was for - any aggression towards any staff member will result in you being removed from the competition and the building immediately without discussion and banned from the federation. There is extensive information about how to contest a decision on the Referees and rules page on the web site - so read it! The refs will probably grab you if they want to make you aware of something even if you got the lift - so listen to them!
If you are unclear on rules then ask a referee. Dont ask table staff - ask a ref! If they dont know they will find out for you and if you need help then please ask - come and tell us! Last year we allowed a certain lifter of note to warm up in our area and then found out later he completely hogged a bench - everyone complained about it but not one person came and told us so we could action it. Telepathy isnt our strong point so tell us what is happening - if we arent dealing with something it means we dont know!
I can tell you now that I am so nervous about this. It is a huge undertaking and I am petrified something will go wrong somehow no matter how much beforehand work I do and the rest of the team does. We all want the experience to be positive and easy for you so you can get on with your lifting and the only challenging thing is finding the weigh ins. The admin is huge - its been months getting this ready and organising, since last October in fact. The Bodypower team have been wonderful as well and supported us and me every step of the way. Yes things can change a little bit last minute but the fundamentals are all still the same and at the very end of it the goal is the same - that it is all about you when you step on platform.
I wish you all the best of luck. It is hard competing for a place on a World GB Team and being at this level and I know that. I wish you success on your own goals and that somehow, you enjoy the competition.