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Success from Failure: The Benefits of Missing a Lift

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“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Generally speaking when athletes max out on an olympic lift, coaches will allot them 3 attempts, similar to how a formal weightlifting meet would be. Coaches may do this for one of two reasons:

  • To avoid injury
  • Time

But, for seasoned weightlifters and athletes sometimes it can be more beneficial to work through a missed lift. For instance, if the weight is not heavy but you are making tiny errors on your pull, then work on fixing the error and try again. Another example would be if you are trying to push through a mental barrier. In these circumstances, athletes should continue to break through this barrier by continuing additional lifts even if they are missing them. However, this does not apply if the lift looks unsafe or impossible for an athlete to do.

All in all, it is crucial for athletes to push through mental barriers and fail in order to gain strength and confidence under load, but this cannot be done if an athlete is afraid to fail. Missing a lift should never be treated as such, instead  a lesson that a coach and athlete can learn from.

With this in mind, I’d like to leave you with a quote from H. Stanley Judd,

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s ok to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.”