Tapering for powerlifting
I just can't seem to get the taper right for a PL meet. I'm doing a modified 5x5 periodized over 12-14 weeks, the last 2-3 weeks being a taper. The major modification from the Bill Starr program being that I reduced the poundages used because I found that the prescribed poundages, if I try to stick to them, send me into an overreached state which teeters on over training. Even with the reduced intensity, I feel my strongest around week 8 or 9 and then steadily become more fatigued during the final intensity phase despite that volume is cut drastically. I'm not missing reps until the final week, though. Then I reduce volume some and reduce intensity to around 70%-75% for the last two weeks preceding the meet.
I felt well rested and recovered come game day, but when I got under the bar for my openers I just wasn't feeling as strong as I felt in weeks 8 and 9. I pushed through squats ok, not doing as well as expected but well enough to be happy (more than last meet). But after squats I just felt drained and completely fatigued. The perception of heaviness of the bar was disheartening and my second attempts, which should have been no problem as I save the all out effort for final attempts, just were not happening.
I know that I'm stronger than I was last meet, as I comfortably used weights during the training cycle that I could not use 6 months prior. I just can't demonstrate that strength when it matters most. Am I peaking early in weeks 8 and 9? Not tapering enough and therefore still have residual fatigue from the months of training? or am I tapering too much and allowing myself to detrain somewhat? I can't figure it out. Someone please help me.