The criteria has already been covered in athlete seminars so I’m not going to discuss anything related.  The main objective for today’s seminar is presentation.  You can have the best body but if you can’t present yourself two things will happen:  One – judges won’t be able to see your physique and your strong points and two – you won’t look confident onstage, which will result in you doubting yourself.  Remember if you doubt yourself, the judges as well as the audience can see it.  This is why proper presentation is very important.  Correct presentation onstage will make you stand out and make the judges notice you.

When you present yourself correctly, you give judges the opportunity to judge you correctly.  It is also important not to ‘over’ present yourself; when I’m judging and an athlete ‘over’ present him/herself, I get the impression the athlete is trying to compensate for some or other ‘shortfall’.  This can also result in you annoying some judges.

You might be judged incorrectly if you ‘over’ present yourself as judges won’t be able to see what they need to judge you on or you might also annoy the audience.  What message does this send to the judges if you can’t present yourself properly?  To me this send the following messages: It looks like the athlete doesn’t know what he/she is doing so I ask myself does the athlete even knows the criteria or did the athlete work hard enough?  It’s all about impression.  You want to give the impression that you know what you are doing, that you know the criteria and that you’ve worked hard enough.

For me the biggest challenge at the moment is that athletes don’t enter the correct categories.  It seems that everybody has got an ‘idea’ how some of the categories should look – and all those ideas differ.  Because athletes don’t comply with the criteria, it is difficult and confusing for judges to judge the athletes.  When the judges are confused about how to judge the athletes, what message is being send across to the athletes?  It is difficult compare two athletes who both only partially comply with the criteria.  I think it is very important that each athlete exactly understand the criteria of her division.  Make sure your trainer also fully understands the criteria (and not his/her interpretation thereof!)  Even if you have an IFBB athlete as your trainer, make sure that he/she fully understand the criteria of your division.  Also remember: If you win a competition it might be that you also only partially comply with the criteria, it could be that weighing up everything, you were the best athlete on the day that were the ‘closest to’ complying with the criteria.  If you don’t place – go back and do your homework.  Look at the athletes who did place, and compare yourself to them.  Be critical.  Also remember that photos can be misleading.  Don’t rely on photos to compare yourself to other athletes – you might look better in the photo because of the light/angle or it doesn’t show your flaws.  Your trainer should help you with this or somebody that is qualified to give their opinion on this topic.

To me – especially with the ladies – symmetry and balance is very important.  What is symmetry?  What is balance?  (Ask athletes – explain with examples – left and right side of the body, upper and lower body, shoulders to waist, legs – upper to lower leg, knees!).  The reason why this is so important is because when you are being judged, the ‘overall’ impression will sometimes play a role in a judge making a decision.  This is also in some cases what makes it prominent to judges if an athlete has injected him/herself with for example oil.  This will make the muscle look smooth and without any definition and it will be picked up.  If your balance and symmetry is good, you will have a balanced ‘overall’ look and it might just tip the scale in your favour.

Also remember: As soon as you stand next to another athlete – your look ‘changes’.  This means that when you stand next to an athlete with a better physique, or better balance and symmetry, or better muscles, or a prettier face or a bikini that fits her body better than yours (or whatever the case might be), your ‘weak points’ will be clearly ‘visible’.  This is why you have to be critical about detail, ‘judge’ yourself.  Look for your ‘weak’ points and work on them because at some point it is going to be visible to the judges and you are going to be judged accordingly.  It is important to remember that the whole package is being judged (even presentation!); this is why you have to make sure that you bring every little detail to the stage.  You might get away with some finer detail at a competition, but at another competition you are going to compete against another athlete who brings to the stage what you lack.

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