I should have taken some pictures of the venue, which is also where the Lions train. Universal Fitness which is a commercial gym of a more old school sort, with three weightlifting platforms in a special room of the facility. Not the kind of thing you see often in Metro Vancouver gyms. Clearly Surrey has a leg up on Vancouver in this regard. It is an old gym, not at all flashy (more dingy than anything) with the right feel and equipment for good training.
Abram, our youngest lifter at 14, seemed cool as ice in the weeks leading up to the meet. It was not until halfway in to the long drive from Vancouver to Surrey that he began to show the building stress when he pronounced that he was “getting nervous.” From that moment one could see it in him and the focus of the day moved into the process of helping him keep calm, emphasizing breath control and focus on his preparatory tasks.
The strategy going in was setting openers at an easy triple and just going for 6/6, getting the experience under his belt. Nerves threw things off for the snatch session. After missing his opener he got it on the second try. On his third attempt he got red lighted. Emcee suggested he had pressed it out though it looked good to some of us (we of course are not the judges so our opinions don’t matter). Learning points from snatch session: practice meet-like conditions more in the training hall. Don’t warm up too quickly. It was hard to judge when to carry out warm ups but Abram was ready too early.
For the clean & jerk the nerves were only building up but between Abram’s efforts plus those of myself and Abram’s brother we managed to hold things down. First and second lifts were good, all white lights. He started his second pull too early. Nerves again. We slowed down the pace of the warmups. For the third attempt Abram seemed nearly paralyzed sitting on the stool in the warm-up area. After proclaiming that he wasn’t feeling too good I told him to get up and take his lift. While he prepared his hands I thought he might throw up in the chalk bucket. The loaders were having trouble with the collars so we reminded Abram to keep breathing and take his time. He had no idea of the weight on the bar and managed to clean and jerk a personal record. The judges liked it and he finished the meet with a good success and a valuable learning experience behind him.