The photo accompanying this blog post is of the hallway outside the three weigh-in rooms at the first session of this year’s American Open Series 2 competition in Albuquerque, NM. Plenty of athletes waiting to weigh in, but not nearly a matching number of coaches.
Coaches should accompany their athletes to weigh-in if at all possible in case something goes awry. If everything is not in order and a lifter is faced with the prospect of not being able to compete, panic will set in and this is a distraction that can interfere with the psyche and hence the competitive result.
On this particular day, one athlete did not have her picture ID with her and would need to return to the hotel and retrieve it. Although the distance was not great, the event was taking place at nearly a mile high altitude and retrieving the ID could upset both the psyche and physiology of the athlete. If a coach had been present, the coach could have retrieved the ID, and set the athlete’s mind at ease. I don’t know exactly how the issue was resolved, but I believe the reader can understand the potential for anxiety.
I remember a similar situation that occurred when I was coaching Ray Blaha in the 1980 Olympic Trials. We went to the weigh-in and some paperwork snafu occurred and Ray was not cleared to compete. Before he could become too distraught I went to the Meet Director, Dave Mayor, and found out that indeed there had been a paperwork error. I cleared it up and Ray was relieved that he was able to compete in an event for which he had trained several years.
I am not advocating a coddling of the athlete by any means, but merely to provide a safety net in the case of mishaps. Your athletes deserve it.