Today seems a perfect day to write about this topic with this week’s powerlifting drama and “outrage” about Gracie’s blunt email response which is being portayed as the crime of the century..
The topic of inviational meets and the process has been talked about in Ireland recently with some lifters with higher totals and wilks being overlooked by other lifters with lower figures.
As a meet promoter and someone who only recently went the “Pro” meet direction, I will give you my opinion and view of things for those that give shit or would just like to read this and in someway get upset.
I run around 6/7 meets a year between 2/3 differnt federations, some small some ones some big ones (TWSS), but usually they average over a 100+ lifters per meet. Venues can range from gyms to expos, but nothing has been more stressful and time consuming than running a PRO meet that only involved 20-30 lifters.
Well first off Pro lifters tend to be very fucking unreliable, sometimes of no fault of their own. This can is usually due to a few things such as the numbers they’re pushing in training and the lifting miles they have under the hood. Due to this they tend to get injured more and pull out of competitions if things aren’t going as well as planned in their training cycle.
If I was to break it down into percentages, I definitely had a higher percentage of no-shows and withdrawals form this years A.B.S. Pro than any other meet I have ever ran over the last 5 years.
This is particularly stressful when it’s a small enough meet competitor wise, and you can’t just replace lifters as easily as normal meets especially when you have invested time into promoting them and want to maintain the integrity of the competition as a PRO meet.
This brings me on to the invitational process and why some lifters will get invited over others for invitational compeitions such as the US Open and A.B.S Pro (going forward) for example.
The invitational process and application process are two different things. This, first and foremost, is where people get confused, for example, I selected one of my own female lifters this year who was a junior and had slightly less than 400 wilks, but had international experience.
Her quality of lifting is great to watch and she had so much room to grow in wraps and using the 24-hour weigh in. More importantly, she was reliable and bar a car crash or being hit by lighting she wasn’t going to pull from a meet over some bullshit because her toe was hurting her or her nanny couldn’t put the shopping away on her own.
Another example would be the only non-Irish based lifter invited to the comp. He was based in Switzland and I met him at IPF Worlds and coached him. Depsite being the only lifter outside of Ireland, I new he would bring something to the comp and not let me down. He ended up having to change his flight last minute and fly on the morning of the competition, costing him extra money.
This is where the invitational process comes in at the meets director’s discretion. Having reliable lifters who will tip up no matter what and have great lifting style is, for me, one of the biggest attributes in a lifters arsenal when the selection criteria comes in to play.
Being known as that lifter who always pulls out, or starts cying because they weren’t invited, isn’t really an attractive prospect to some looking to build a competition around you.
Obviously there needs to be a base standard, but if you have 10 people all around the same wilks scores and you can invite 5 of them, then the strengths that I mentioned above are going to surpass the small gap between wilks and totals.
The costs incurred and time invested in running these types of powerlifitng competitions are high, and until you actually get behind one and run one you probably won’t get it.
So next time you see people getting an invite and they possibly don’t have the highest XYZ take a look from the meet promoters’ perspective.
At the end of the day it’s their time, their money and their meet. I had over 30% of my initial invitees either withdraw on the week of the comp, or not accept their invite this year. If I was to solely invite people based off numbers and not character, I wouldn’t be running it again.