by Kris Pitcher
You trained hard, worked for a long time, dieted like no other...before you knew it you were on stage! Suddenly, your 12, 16, or 20 weeks of prep was over in a flash, your class was compared, you went through compulsory rounds and maybe were even moved around a little.
Judging was over in a few minutes. Now what? After finals you find out your placing. The top 5 are pretty obvious, but we don't all go home with a trophy. You will hopefully be given your score sheet, and you'll be able to see where each judge placed you.
Throw out the high and the low score, add up the rest and fall in line. There you go. Knowing your placing is one thing, but now you want to know how to improve. Getting feedback from the judges is a valuable thing.
Here's the best way to do it. You are welcome to go up to them after finals and ask them questions. But I honestly don't recommend that. They may or may not remember, recognize you, or have anything constructive to say at that moment.
You're dressed, they can't see your physique, and there's no one standing next to you. As a judge, I take notes on every competitor during the night show. So if you come up to me after a show, I will be able to make some comments. But there is an even better way.
Following the show, once the professional pictures are up on line, pull a front and back shot and email that along with your competitor number, class, placing, and full name to the promoter. Her or she will email that to the judging panel...then you wait. Patiently.
NPC judges have real jobs, busy lives, and families. And after spending 3 days at a show, need to get back to work, catch up on email, do their own food prep and laundry after traveling back home. Be patient for them to send you some feedback.
You might get feedback from one person, or 5 judges. Keep in mind it is subjective, some of us are good at choosing positive ways to say difficult things, and others less so. Have a thick skin. Take criticism in a constructive way.
If you are 5' 8" and in the middle weight class, you probably have room to fill out your frame. If you placed 7th in your bikini class you likely need to tighten your back side. If you are stuck in 1998 and are still using dream tan, I will tell you it's more difficult to see your conditioning through that paste. If the cut of your suit isn't right for your figure, I might tell you to consider a higher end suit...but make sure you have the right physique to show it off.
If your hair is crazy, I might suggest you polish your presentation as not to distract from your overall look. If you think you're smiling...you're not smiling. You look scared. If you walk like the "keep on truckin" guy in your heels, I'm going to suggest you work with a posing coach to refine your presentation. I'm going to gently tell you the person who placed in front of you had more classic structure. I'm going to suggest you work on your shoulder caps, and stop doing oblique work.
I'm going to remind you to remove...all the hair from your body. I'll tell you if you need to be fuller, if you depleted too much water, or look flat. I might suggest a different division. I'm going to encourage you to keep training, take more time to prep, have a focused off season. There's lots of good feedback you'll get.
Ask for judges feedback. Now you know how to do it. Whether your placing is good, bad, or otherwise, constructive criticism will help you move forward in this sport. Always be respectful, take what you get and move forward. It's the only direction that makes sense for you to go.