Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Judges and Feedback

Don't think of the judges as scores;
they're people, and you should try
to talk to them.

One of the most frequently discussed aspects of competitive physique sports is the judging. What's the criteria? Why did the competitors place this way? Were there lighting issues? Why didn't this person get called out? I mean the questions can go on for hours, for days; when you have someone that's worked twelve or sixteen weeks for one show, you get bet your bottom dollar that questions will abound!

But while many people are plagued with uncertainty, they don't know what to do about it. Sure you can mope around, your inner circle can lift your spirits, and you can re-think everything you did and what you think went wrong, but at the end of the day - only the judges can tell you why you got the scores and/or call-outs you got. No magazine, website, training guru, or posing expert can get into the minds of the judges on that day and tell you why you got the placing you got. So in this post I ask the champions how they approach the judges.

What works for them might not work for you, but it's worth a try! Remember, the judges are under no obligation to explain their scoring to you - in a just and fair world, every athlete should get that out of respect, but there just isn't the time nor the resources for that.

Remember, the early bird gets the worm. You need to be as proactive with understanding what the judges want, as with your training, nutrition, MARKETING, and supplementation. You bear a HUGE part in whether or not you're successful in the fitness industry. OK, so let's see what the champs have to say - and a big thank you to them for participating!

"I always email the judges within a few days of the show. I attach my show photos, my name, placing and competitor number to make it easy on them when they go through results. I always thank them in advance for taking the time to review my photos and entertain feedback- if they respond I always send a follow up email thanking them again for their critique."

Allison Moyer

"The best way to approach the judges for feedback is always in a professional manner. So take the time to write a nicely composed short email with your name, contestant number, which division and class you were in, and any specific questions you might have. Make sure to attach professional pictures from the show to the email so that they can refer to them. Judges look at hundreds of physiques and can't be expected to remember yours specifically. Include picture of a front, back, and side pose if possible. Also include your phone number just in case they would rather call you. Always be appreciative and accepting of the criticism they give you... after all, your goal should be to improve for next time. I would request feedback within a week of the show so that the judges still have their notes and the show is fresh in their minds. I definitely would not approach any judges AT the show or even over the phone. Sending via email provides them all the information they need and they can respond within their own time frame and not feel rushed. Remember to thank them after they reply!"

Candice Perfect

"I think most of the judges are happy to give you feedback right after the show. Emailing with pictures is always a good idea too.

At some of the shows I've done the judges actually encourage you to approach them after the show."

Shala Singer

"I will always wait until the photos are released on muscular development and then send an email to the judge with photos attached. At events, there are so many competitors, so a week later, they'll need photos to refresh their memory. I don't usually talk to the judges at the event because there is so much going on. They've had a long day and expecting them to provide immediate feedback in a crowded atmosphere may be difficult. An email gives them time to think about the critique and allows them to respond in a time frame that is convenient for them. I've had great luck receiving feedback via email! The judges I've spoken with are very helpful and always want athletes to succeed.

Janessa Mitchell

"Always the week after via email w your stage shots attached. Ask for positive as well as neg so you can work on both Thank them for being a part of the night and your experience there. They will almost always reply to you.

I feel the night of the show they as well as YOU are both mentally and physically exhausted and wouldn't be able to absorb what they tell you. Get some rest and some food and email them with a clear head."

Danae Zaitz

So there you have it folks! The champions seem to have reached a clear consensus. Email is the best way to break the ice, you want to include photos, and you want to include contact information. Manners are huge - don't forget your please & thank you (lol, but seriously!). Also, keep your ear out for judges that want you to approach them after the show, as in Shala's case. Thanks again to the champions -- OUT of 22 approached only 5 REPLIED - that's kind of pitiful, but this advice you're getting is akin to what foods people use to carb up or where to get the best suits. Again, it may not seem like much to you, but this page (not to toot my own horn) is giving you the tools you need to succeed. I'm not about making a message board full of photos and trash talk to get a bunch of schmoes off. This page is for the champions, by the champions, and with a few words here and there from yours truly.

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