Athlete Check Ins: What to Expect
It's the day before your competition. You're carb depleted, thirsty, tired, nervous and excited. Whether it's your first, second or twentieth time on stage, it can be hard to think through that fog so let's talk about it now while your focus is still crystal clear!
1: Get your basic info.
First, it's important to remember that check ins for all NPC shows will be similar but run slightly different depending upon the promoter, so step one is to always look for athlete info from your competition promoter. This will give you important basics like time and location. It might come via email or be posted on their website and/or social media accounts so when you register for the competition, make sure that you whitelist emails from the event promoter to ensure they don't end up in your spam, bookmark the event website and follow their social accounts.
If your competition is promoted by Team On Track Productions, you'll want to look for an athlete information packet that is emailed out a few weeks before the show. We'll also post the packet on our website for you to download once it's been emailed out.
2: Know what to bring.
No matter what NPC competition you're competing in, you're going to need to bring a few things to check ins.
- Your NPC card. You can't step on stage without this, so you can either purchase it online in advance (do it, it will save you time at check ins!) or purchase it at check ins. If you choose to purchase it at check ins, this will probably be your first stop. As of 2018, your membership card will cost $125 (cash or check).
- Your height card. If you're competing in any division besides bodybuilding, you're going to need a height card. If this is your first time competing, you'll need to get one at check ins (this should be your second stop at most check ins). If you've competed before, you should have received a height card at your previous competition that's valid for at least the next year, most local competitions will accept a height card from other NPC districts and national NPC shows, and you can show that card instead of getting heighted again. If you're competing in an NPC national competition for the first time, you'll need to get heighted so you can get a national height card. (Pro tip: take a photo of your height card and save it on your phone, I can't tell you how many people forget these somewhere at registration.)
- Proof of registration. With all the athletes that enter a competition, mistakes get made. Sometimes entry forms get lost in the mail (snail and electronic), sometimes athletes mistakenly get put in the wrong division. It's no big deal to fix, but if you have proof of registration handy, it makes it an even easier fix. What that proof looks like will vary from promoter to promoter, it might be a confirmation email, a copy of your entry form and check/e-payment. If you're competition is promoted by Team On Track, the system we use will send an automatic confirmation of registration and a "ticket" that includes registration and payment info. We recommend printing or saving this email somewhere with easy access.
3: Turn in your waiver.
All NPC competitions require athletes to sign a waiver and many of them will hand them out at check-ins to ensure that everyone fills one out. If the promoter doesn't have a completed and signed waiver from you, you won't be able to step on stage.
4: Get your height/weight recorded.
This is probably the most important step at athlete check ins! The promoter must have your height and/or weight recorded to get you into the correct class and know that you aren't a no show. At some shows, they'll have different lines for some of the different divisions, so keep your eyes open for signs directing you to a specific line. If you're a bodybuilder or a classic physique athlete, you'll need to get weighed in. Athletes in all divisions besides bodybuilding need to present their height card. This is also a good time to confirm with whomever is inputting your height/weight which class(es) you're in.
5: A little music, if you please.
If you're competing in Bodybuilding, Classic Physique, Women's Physique or Fitness, you should have routine music. Some promoters will ask you to email the song file to them in advance, some ask you to bring it to registration on a USB flashdrive or a CD. Check the promoter's athlete information for details on what you need to do with this, but regardless, it's always good to verify with someone on the check in team that they have your music.
6: Get your number and athlete badge (maybe).
You'll probably find the most variance between competitions in this step. At most local competitions, you'll get your number at checks ins and they might give you a badge as well. If they do, make sure that you don't loose either of these things as they're what's going to get you backstage on competition day. If you're competing in a national competition, you'll get a badge when they record your weight/height but your number will be handed out at your athlete meeting.
With the official business taken care of, it's time to reap the rewards. If your competition is giving athletes t-shirts or athlete bags, be sure to stop by to pick yours up!
What are your tips for making it through athlete check ins without an difficulties? What questions do you have that didn't get answered in this post? Let us know in the comments!