If you've been training awhile, and you're flirting with the idea of entering into a powerlifting meet, there's some tips I can offer you. For my first powerlifting meet, I was nervous as hell, and wasn't quite as prepared as I could have been. I had a pretty successful meet, but there are things I definitely wish I could have changed.
1) Pack Some Food
Even if you're cutting weight for the meet, your ass needs to bring some food. Chances are your weight will be taken a day or two before the meet, or the morning of your meet. That means after you weigh-in, you can EAT. And trust me, you're going to need all the fuel you can get. Most powerlifting meets will last the entire day. Imagine trying to get to your last lift, famished and hell, and sort of dizzy because you didn't eat.
Pack a sandwich -- or three.
2) Pack The Day Before
The last thing you want to do is to scramble the morning of your meet, and forget half the shit you were suppose to bring. Have everything packed -- your food, drinks, equipment (belt, long socks,squat shoes, chucks, singlet, ect).
3) The Day Will Be Long -- Keep Entertained
If you want to sustain that pump, make sure to bring something occupied like music. Bring your best powerlifting music. Remember, you're not the only one who's going to compete. There will be other competitors who will be performing three lifts just like you will. So as you wait, jam to some pump music. My personal favorite? TRAP!
4) Think About Your Attempts
You want to avoid being that person who is crushed by their first lift at bench. Remember, your first attempt for a lift should be something you know you can 100% handle, even on a bad day. Try to go for a weight you know you can confidently rep out at least five times. The second and third should be more of a challenge, but again, be honest with yourself. If you do have a powerlifting coach, be sure to talk to them to see what they recommend.
5) KNOW YOUR COMMANDS
A powerlifting meet is more than just going in for the squat, bench, and deadlift. If you want to royally fuck up your meet, you can skip the commands and rules. But if you want to own it, you should really focus on the commands and rules. Different federations will have different rules - for example, for squat, some federations are okay with right at parallel, some want you go a bit below parallel. If you have a perfect lift, but didn't wait for the command, your lift basically doesn't count. Please, please, please -- remember the commands!
True story: I had a BAD ASS SQUAT, which I was very proud of...but since I didn't wait for the command -- my squat didn't count. :(