This recent article on the Catalyst Athletics website talks about why training with distractions around you is beneficial because it prepares you for the distractions during competition. I haven’t competed in weightlifting (and think I never will) but I can totally relate this concept to my one and only taekwondo competition and the dozens (hundreds?) of times I played with my bands in front of an audience.
And just because I love drawing analogies between things that interest me, I can also relate this to meditation. There are people who are against noise and distractions while meditating. Perhaps those are the ones who don’t come to our Buddhist centre anymore (we’re located in a busy corner in Newtown). True, minimising distractions can be useful for people who find it difficult to focus, but is that really training you for the real meditation (i.e., keeping the highest view ALL THE TIME)? Also, thoughts and feelings will always appear naturally and the task is not to suppress them but to watch them come and go without attachment. External sounds and other distractions should be treated the same way, and IMO are easier to dismiss than one’s internal Disneyland.