top of page

Competition Report Part 1- Lessons In Powerlifting: How To Respond To Bombing Out

This weekend we had the British Female Powerlifting Championship over 2 days.

I had 2 athletes competing this weekend and I'll be making a separate post for each athlete if I get time.

This part is extremely important because we have the most to learn from it.

Heather Murray is the client I've taken to the most competitions. I don't even know how many we've done together. It will be at least 6 but I digress.

I've coached powerlifting since around 2014 and since then I've never had anyone bomb out.


Bombing Out: For our readers who aren't sure what this means, bombing out is something that happens at a powerlifting meet when you fail all 3 of your attempts of a particular lift and therefore can't post an overall score. In Powerlifting your final score is called your 'total.'

Heather was supposed to open her squats at 130kg.

She failed the first time on depth.

Sometimes this happens and we go on to get the second squat.

She failed it again and that's when the nerves kicked in.

On the 3rd she made a technical error then the tears of disappointment came.

This was a stage where I didn't really know what to do.

Bombing out had been my biggest fear since I started powerlifting coaching.

So I thought about the situation:

She's qualified for the British for the last 2-3 years and has never been able to make it for various reasons.

There were injuries and doubts and a whole host of other things going on.

Clearly, as a coach, I chose the wrong number to open on despite what we might say about a referee's decision even though the refereeing seemed extremely fair all weekend.

We could talk about how Heather's squat setup seemed different on this day and that resulted in a red light.

We could say I should have spotted this weeks/months ago.

We could say that Heather could have sent me more videos.

Maybe I should of had her in for 1-1 sessions close to competition.

Clearly, as a coach, I chose the wrong number to open on despite what we might say about a referee's decision even though the refereeing seemed extremely fair all weekend.

But it didn't matter because we'd bombed.

Should we go home and pretend this never happened like I've seen a lot of people do?

Absolutely not. Heather asked me to make this competition about having fun and I realized that "so what if we bombed out!?" We weren't going to win the British, not even on our best day and 10 people bombing out above us.

Ok, we won't get a total PB and it might be a bit embarrassing to bomb out both as an athlete and a coach but what had we actually lost other than a bit of pride?

Going home and having a paddy wouldn't change anything.

So I decided we were going to own it.

I told Heather straight away that we were going to take the piss out of this situation. We were going to post about it on social media and we weren't going to hide from it.

The tears quickly passed into laughter and we moved on to bench press (which we have barely trained for the last 4 weeks or so) and I told her to celebrate wildly on getting her first lift of the day.

Normally at this stage I am serious Chris but today I got to be fun Chris on competition day which never happens!

I made jokes about her getting depth with her bench press. I yelled things like "DO THE THING!" and ate gummy pigs until I felt a bit sick.

I even let Heather pick her last bench attempt. She failed it and never gets to do that again but it was worth it just for that lesson!

She went on to make 2/3 deadlifts and went 4/9 in a competition that will never go down as one of our best.

But I know we won yesterday because of this Insreferee'stagram post:

Don't be afraid to turn up to the battle because there's a chance it could be a disaster despite the best laid plans (even though there were definitely gaps in this plan.)

The important point is to keep turning up to the arena, to keep battling and to keep having the courage to risk failure and still come out smiling at the end of it.

Thanks for being a great athlete, client and friend Heather.

We will be back and we will be better!

By Chris Kershaw

If you dare work with me after this performance (!) please feel free to drop me a message on Insta, via email or anyway you can find me!

Thanks for being a great athlete, client, and friend Heather.

421 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page