Articles of Interest to Those New To Powerlifting,
As Well as Sport Veterans.
A First Experience with New Rule Changes
The USAPL Women's Nationals was the first time to see the impact of several of the new IPF rule changes. Lifters were briefed on the changes prior to the competition, but from the response, there may still be some adjustment period as people become used to them.
The first of these is the new rule that the side referees will raise their arms until they judge the lifter is in position and then drop them. While this seems straightforward, and even with the lifters anticipating this, some problems resulted. These may be summarized in two categories: lifter adjustments and referee timing.
The most noticable concern on the part of the lifters was them noticing that the referees arms were raised and trying to make adjustments to get the start signal. Often, the athlete was in correct position, but if hands weren't dropped quickly, they seemed to assume that they were out of position and either adjusted the bar, their feet, or posture. This lead to a delay in the referee dropping their arm. The net result was that lifter stood, or held the weight longer than expected possibly tiring them.
From the referee standpoint, there was wide variation in the time that referee held their arm up, even when the athlete reached a correct starting position. Juries will have to be vigilant for this as some pauses approached the five second threshold after which the lifter may be told to replace the bar. This was compounded by the need of the chief referee to see the hand signals of the side referees. Side referees are accustomed to finding a position that is most advantageous for viewing the technical aspects of the lift. They must now also be concerned that the chief referee must have them in clear view.
Taken together, the new rules do not provide for any impediment to the athlete provided they become familiar with the new rule, and as the referees gain experience determining a correct starting position and calling it quickly.
Finally, the sock rule met with some grumbling, but most athletes took it in stride. One thing that having knee high socks will do for powerlifting is to provide some color to our sport. There were socks in every imaginable color and pattern, many in bright colors. As suits and shirts tend to be uniform colors, and usually darker, athletes appear to be livening up their wardrobe with bright socks. Perhaps a way to express their personalities? If so, there are a some real characters in our sport. But then we knew that didn't we?
Overall, the lifters adapted well, and the referees became more comfortable working with the new requirements as the competition progressed.