We are very fortunate at Cougars Weightlifting Club to have two very experienced Athletes in Damon Kelly and Deb Acason.
here is Deb’s Interview
Can you give a brief summary of your achievements in the sport
- 1st comp 18 June 1999 when I was 15yrs old
- 2001 East Asian games 3rd, my first senior Australian team and reached elite standard at 17yrs old
- 2001 world juniors 11,12,11th
- 2002 Manchester Commonwealth games, 3 silver medals in snatch, clean & jerk and total. Broke senior Commonwealth games snatch record
- 2002 world champs 9th place
- 2003 world juniors 5th
- 2004 Athens Olympics 12th
- 2005 world champs
- 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth games gold
- 2008 Beijing Olympics 8th
- 2010 Delhi commonwealth games 3rd
- 2014 Glasgow commonwealth games
- first Australian female weightlifter to compete in 2 Olympics and first to compete in 4 commonwealth games
- first female weightlifter to be inducted into AWF hall of fame
- Australian records in both u75 & 75+kg categories
How and why did you get involved and what kept you lifting in the beginning
- Initially I began lifting to learn good technique to get stronger for my throwing career. At 15yrs old I won the bronze medal in u17 inaugural world youth athletics champs in discus and wanted to get stronger for that. I also threw discus, shot and hammer at the world junior champs. My throwing coach looked up the Cougars Weightlifting Club and for about 12yrs I travelled from Ipswich to chandler to train 3-5 times a week. I also did an extra year at high school so I could train more. After a few months of training a few people including coaches at cougars suggested I lift for fun. In my second comp I won a state medal and then 3rd comp came 2nd in u20 in national champs. I was hooked.
I kept lifting because I love the feeling of pushing myself in weight training and surprising myself and others with my steady improvement on the platform.
What do you have in your training bag and what personal training gear do you use and why
- my training bag has: tape for thumbs, wrist wraps, knee wraps, knee guards (over the top of knee wraps- for the older lifters and compression and warmth to knees :), 3 back belts (2 soft ones for comp and when my lifters borrow it for their comp, 1 hard one for squats for more support), shin/calf thermo guards to aid calf recovery when catching lifts and squats at the bottom – stops sore calves, thermo shorts (always lift with this after my hip surgery arthroscope in 2003 for support at the bottom of the lifts and also for warmth, a spare lifting suit, bike pants, lifting boots, 3 types of heat cream, voltaren gel, Mannnatech sports drink powder, $10, small scissors, old programs.
When warming up for a big competition what goes through your head
- I try to just focus on each lift that I’m doing at the time – not thinking too far ahead about the platform lifts or about what anyone else is doing unless I’m trying to show off and make my lifts look easy. Showing confidence is important for me because it helps me lift better and give me drive and aggression that I need on the platform.
I do get “nervous” for big comps and comm games, Olympics, world champs warm up room are like nothing else, very different to warm up rooms for state and national comps so positive thinking and self confidence no matter what stage of your lifting career is really important. I often get butterflies in my stomach at big comps but work at controlling them so they work as Adrenalin and aggression rather than worry or anxiety.
What do you think when going out on the platform to lift how does it feel for you
- I usually am thinking about a long pull and aggression to get under the bar for a strong catch. I’m constantly visualizing getting the lift and being really aggressive. For most competitions I will visualize for almost an hour each night for weeks before the comp. I visualize each lift as successful. It’s almost like I’m talking myself into getting each lift. When going out to the platform I usually only think about the long pull and then celebrating a good lift.
When I think about celebrating the successful lift with the audience it usually pumps me up and helps me get the lift. I’ve always thought of lifting in some ways as putting on a show for the audience and really proving to everyone what I can do. Thinking like that definitely brings out the best in me.
What tip would you give about technique has helped you in the past
- One overall thing i always remind myself of is discipline in all lifts. Controlled aggression and discipline are good ways to remind me of how the lift should go technically – control at the start and an aggressive, active, fast second pull with a strong catch.
After years of lifting and losing weight it’s easy to be fatigued and tired during a lift so mentally I often have to rev myself up and make sure I don’t slump in the catch or exhale.
What’s your advice about dealing with injuries
- always get it checked out by a professions sports doctor (preferably an experienced one like Dr Roy Saunders:) and find out what the actual problem is first because then you know exactly what to do about it. Get it properly diagnosed, fix it and do the rehab and then you never have to worry about it being a niggly injury because you’ve given it the time to rest it.
What’s your advice about dealing with a major competitions
- do good mental prep weeks leading up to it I.e I visualized every night getting every lift on the platform for 8weeks before my first comm games. Enjoy the experience of the major comps, learn what you can from watching other lifters, and listen to the coaches. Every big comp is experience and if you have a good positive attitude then comp should go well. Make training a priority and put 100% into your build up including: training, good diet, hydration, rest time and sleep. Then you know you’ve done everything you can to prepare for comp and can be totally confident that you will go well. Also have your bag and boots etc ready the night before!
What’s your advice about getting the most out of your training
- your mind has to be totally committed to every lift in training. Every rep counts. And make sure you are doing all the right things with your diet – buy the Power Eating book and read it. Water, protein, carb drink and carb intake is so important in training prep and recovery.
Be focused in training but definitely enjoy it with those around you. Remember if you are training at Cougars you are at one of the best weightlifting gyms in the Southern Hemisphere so make the most of it!
If there was one thing you would like to pass on to somebody that has just started and wants to achieve great things in the sport what would it be
- make the most of every opportunity and don’t give it a half hearted effort. Few people get opportunities to train in a great environment with good coaches so grab this chance with both hands and give it your best. Do it because you love it and want to be a part of the weightlifting world and work so hard that you have no regrets at the end. Also – appreciate your coaches and training partners!