Hello & welcome,
This page will be dedicated to assisting meet directors. I am starting out with a story I wrote about how I got involved with directing powerlifting meets. This story describes the begining of the process that not only started me off as a meet director but also gradually drew me into the equipment maufacturing business.
Much of the philosophy found on this page was formed from many years experience in a production-line engineering department. In this environment you where always searching for ways to shorten the time it took to perform an opperation by perfecting equipment that could maximize the economy of human movement. The benifits are two-fold, efficiency and less strain on the people performing on the job.
We plan to eventually include meet director check lists, floor plans,and many other items & ideas to help with the business of efficient powerlifting meets and the work of effective strength & power training.
Check back often for updates & new products!
Thank you for visiting our site!
By Steve Howard
(an autobiographical Profile)
It seems like forever when I look back and remember someone saying out of frustration "Come on Steve you should start putting on meets we could really put on some great meets". Well the whole thing at the time (including the word we) seemed just too ominous but sure enough March 3rd 2001 marked my being the director of my tenth USAPL meet. Looking back at those meets I appreciate how much work a dedicated director puts into any caliber of meet. I have been fortunate to have some flattering things said about the way I run a meet. I think I owe what success I have had to three aspects of meet directing Observation, Planning, and Execution.
OBSERVE what successful meet directors are doing and utilize their ideas in your events and also OBSERVE what lifters want in a meet and include those aspects as well.
PLAN into your event every detail that you have learned about from your observations from other meets and feedback you receive from lifters, look for ways to save minutes and even seconds during the event.
EXECUTE your plan and be willing to dedicate time, money, sweat or whatever it takes to get your event to go smoothly and remember that your lifters are your customers give them a good product, your volunteers are your lifeblood take care of them every way you can.
How did I get started as a meet director? Well the road to directing my first meet was the road from Rapid City to Denver. I don't remember how an entry form for the 1995 ADFPA meet in Longmont Colorado got in my hands but I decided to talk my stepson and another lifter into going along with me to compete. I also convinced my wife, daughter, and brother in law and sister in law to go along for support. During the meet I heard that many of the master lifters were there to get their qualifying total for the ADFPA masters nationals that was to be held in Denver that November. I finished the meet and qualified to lift at the 1995 ADFPA masters nationals. I remember meeting a lady guest lifting in the meet by the name of Andrea Sortwell. I remember a few of the other lifters and officials that I met that day Mark Sigala, Bob Truillo, Alex Gallant, Brent McCune all great folks who I would come to know and work with in the future. That November in Denver I lifted in the masters national championships, directed by Andrea Sortwell, as a competitor in the 110kg 40-44 division. My numbers were nothing to brag about, but I had a PR squat, a PR total, and went 9 for 9. What a great day! I had a great stretch of training leading up to that competition but I still attribute a certain amount of my performance that day to quality in the areas of planning, and execution by Andrea and her staff.
That next summer I attended the ADFPA mens nationals in St Louis, directed by Mike Cissel and his great staff, I observed the use of the elevated platform at this meet. Mike was even kind enough to take time to describe how they construct the platform. During this time I was also noticing other aspects I had not seen used in my area like the overhead projector, plastic laminated score sheets, and the high quality kilogram plates. Always having been somewhat of a lifting equipment collector I put in an order that summer for my own set of calibrated plates. That fall at masters nationals in St Louis I personally handed the meet sanction application to Mike Overdeer for the 1997 Greatwest PL championships to be held the next February. The next few months went by fast I was appointed ADFPA South Dakota state chairman and started to burning a lot of phone time with the lady I met back in Longmont, Colorado, Andrea Sortwell. Andrea's help on the phone, and the fact that she made the 400-mile trip to Rapid City from Denver to help, enabled me to get off to a great start. Not that your first meet won't have its challenges. There were problems with the meet T-shirts, our borrowed light set didn't have a stand so we had to duct tape them to a stack of chairs, and the platform was just the modest 4 sheets of plywood on the floor. We started almost 45 minutes late and at the end of it all I was totally wrung out! But the meet was a success. One of the lifters that participated, Greg Wagner, expressed interest In holding that years State meet over in the eastern part of SD and I quickly went from a meet director being mentored to the meet director doing the mentoring Greg did a great job.
That next summer I built an 8'x 12'x 16" high platform. With this unit I wanted to try a departure from the elevated platforms I had seen used to date. Two aspects I wanted to improve on were platform construction and breakdown time at the meet site and the instability that I had observed lifters experiencing and complaining about while lifting on elevated platforms. The platform unit utilizes three heavy prefabricated sections that can be fastened together quickly at the meet site and affords excellent stability for the lifters. The units sections can be transported with a standard pickup truck and handled by as few as 2 people the trade off is that the initial design and fabrication on the unit was almost 100 hours.
That fall of 1997 I used the new platform for my second meet. That summer of 1998 I hauled my platform to Denver to be used at the USAPL mens nationals that Andrea Sortwell was directing this was my chance to give back to Andrea as well as the organization and the sport that has come to mean so much to me. So things have come somewhat full circle but I still look for ways to make every meet we direct better for the lifters and easier for the meet directors and staff. Our meet this last February we started on time and ran 63 lifters over one platform in 7-1/2 hours. The group that came along for support at that first meet in Colorado is now some of my event staff. The quality product we have learned to provide has started many new lifting careers, revived several dormant lifting careers, and spawned at least five new directors of USAPL meets in three states. Another benefit was for the spectators, we actually have people not connected to powerlifting come and watch our events remark how they enjoyed it and want to come back! It seems if you take care of the lifters with an efficient well-run event and keep everyone informed lots of the other things fall into place. WOW! How things can change I must confess that 10 years ago I was just another lifter at a meet spending as much energy flying off the handle with the referees, jumping to conclusions about the meet director, and running down the state chair, as I did lifting in the meet. At one time I couldn't imagine running meets now, even with all the work they require, it is a part of my life I look at with pride.
I want to also take this chance to thank all of the meet directors I have come in contact with my successes are built on the foundations laid by these fine people and it has been a pleasure to come to know all of them.
Will your involvement in powerlifting ever change the way mine did? I hope it will with the next road you travel!