The MUST For a Meet – There is No Freaking Excuse

By Brian Carroll

I don’t ever want to be only known for ranting and raving about things that bother me; maybe as something secondary.  To me when you are known for this type of article it tends to make people think that you’re a negative and pessimistic person overall. I’m a pretty positive person for the most part but this needs to be said and sang from the rooftops and people need to hear this.


What is Now Commonly Unfortunate

I’ve seen it now more than ever, guys and gals coming to competitions big and small BUT don’t bring ANYONE or arrange help to meet them there and they just expect others to just help them at random as if they have nothing better to do, if the job of a handler isn’t already thankless enough and as if they aren’t there on someone else’s dime and been assigned a job to do. What’s worse is they get mad if other people’s handlers aren’t waiting on them hand and foot.

They end up taking the help that has been paid for, bribed, and covered and in some cases everyone gets half-assed help and everyone loses. Now I’m not talking about asking for someone to hold boards, a spot on the mono, plates loaded here and there — I’m talking about full on meet-handler; needing handoffs on the platform, wrapping knees over and over, and basically being someone’s meet bitch all day without any compensation, trip paid for, dinner and the like without taking into account that they are to blame as to why they don’t have adequate help. Expecting someone else to foot the bill. Like a Bernie Sanders clone.

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Those that don’t arrange help are usually cheap, selfish, and are similar to people who start GoFundMe accounts for their powerlifting hobby when this was created for people in actual need. If you have done this once, you get a pass (I guess).  To me, this means you’re a bum. People that need CONSTANT donations from friends and strangers because they keep their crappy jobs so they can pursue their dream as a pro powerlifter and need lots of ‘freedom’ because it’s a full time job being a powerlifter right? Give me a break – and go back to your job at GNC being a supplement expert all the while complaining about being broke and doing zero about it.

Want to get true perspective? Handle someone at a high stress meet while others (who are unprepared) are grabbing you for things they should have covered.


What is The Handlers Job?

A handler is one of, if not the most underappreciated job in the competition world – easily.  In short, they are to take care of whatever is needed to ensure all you have to do is LIFT – nothing more. No deep thinking needing, no logistics, no loading, no spotting, no nothing.  It’s very thankless – moods come and go, anger comes out – shit happens and it’s your job as a handle to keep your lifter calm.  Handlers can be blamed for missed lifts and not credited properly when they are partly responsible for the success of a competitor with a critical tip or adjustment. They are there for you, make no mistake.  To keep you focused and calm. They are in charge of making sure you have what you need – food, drink, supplements, towels etc – they are also in charge of loading your weights, making sure the bar is loaded correctly in the warm-up room and on the platform as well as you letting you know how far you are out from being on the stage or platform as well as a whole host of other things that can come up such as formulas for best lifter.  This can get very stressful at the end of the meet and I’ve ALWAYS had multiple people check the numbers and do calculations for me – three to four people and a minimum of two people. This is not because you don’t trust the person – it’s because you don’t want to put that much pressure on one person and want numbers to match up – it’s called double checking – we do this for everything right? Like proofreading. I’ve apparently offended people in the past with situations like this (having multiple people on this) – I don’t care.  This goes without saying – You want these people to be people you trust in crunch time like this. One instance was a very hairy situation in 2015 at the XPC, I had Scott, Filipe and Adam all working on this – and Adam already had the number but his ego wasn’t too big to have Filipe double check the numbers, they matched, we picked the number and won. Plain and simple. This wouldn’t have been the case if I didn’t pay and compensate for good help.


Do You Need Just One Handler? How Many Do You Need?

My wife is always my number one handler. Food runs, needs for the team and other lifters, working the camera etc – Always has been since 2008. She’s a trooper –but I still need help in other areas. Jason, Byrd and Channing came out to San Diego for me and gave me superb help. Keith, Adam, Conrad, Tony, Paul Key and others are on the same level every meet we do. I like and suggest to have a minimum of two handlers. There is always a chance something happens and one can’t make it, get stuck at a connection or simply need to take charge in the warm up room during a chaotic flight – you shouldn’t be worrying about this when you are lifting.  So, I suggest a minimum of two people dedicated to helping you with everything and seeing that you do nothing but lift. Think someone to wrap your knees, check the bar so nobody jumps you in line, loads and checks your weight to verify the number needed and then spots you when you get under the weight, hands off to you, coaches you etc. It’s one of the most underrated parts of competition.

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What You Should Cover for Your Handler and a Few More Thoughts

A handler, unless you have made it out to their meets on your own dime should NOT be covering their own trip; their rental, hotel, some food and of course flight if necessary.  If you are good to your handlers, chances are they will be a HUGE asset to you, so it makes sense to treat them well. Again, if you are powerlifting and traveling to meets, then you should have a somewhat stable income and skimping on the help is the last thing you want to do and it’s usually a reflection of your character and how cheap you are. When you expect others to care for you in such a thankless position without an agreement of some sort, you are being an abusive dickhead. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be available to help other at a meet unwrap, coach them up here and there – I’m talking full on being unprepared to lift by not bringing sufficient help.

If you are not suited monetarily to travel to meets with adequate help, then I believe you should reevaluate your priorities in lifting and in life and scale back your pursuit of lifting at other peoples’ expense and take a long look in mirror. Because this is a reflection of your priorities, your lack of value and empathy for other peoples time and the overall basis of you being selfish and inconsiderate of other people’s hard earned money, planning and logistics.

To all of my friends and family who have supported me, came to my meets, handled me in any way shape or form, thank you. It truly is a very underappreciated gift. It’s stressful, thankless and it’s HARD WORK.  This does not go unnoticed!


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Brian Carroll

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Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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