Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to work

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After a month of solid rest, ladies and gentleman it is time to start again! It went by so fast but I am ready to begin so I will keep you posted on my progress. I know several of you will be getting ready to start your training soon so I know exactly what you are going through. The pain and hard work ahead necessary to get back to the level you left off last season will be tough but you will get there. Don't forget to focus on the goal ahead and the determination necessary to achieve success. Here are a few questions to focus on before you return to your training:
  • What can I do this pre-season that will help me succeed more than I did last year?
  • What bad habits do I need to stop this season?
  • What are my short term goals in relation to my training?
  • What are my longterm goals?
  • What will it take to achieve my goals?
  • What did I learn from last seasons failures?
  • Are my goals aligned with my coaches? If not, how can I achieve this?
  • Am I ready?
The purpose of these questions is for us to know why and what our plan for the upcoming year should be. Answering these questions will ensure that the blueprint for our season is properly planned before we start building the physical structure, which will either come out as beautiful as a castle, look as shabby as a hut or unstable due to a faulty foundation. I wish you all luck in your planning process. Let the fun begin!
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From the back to the front

Ian Waltz of the United States competes during the Men's Discus Throw qualifications on day two of the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships on August 26, 2007 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka, Japan.
We have all heard it all. "keep your chest up!" "Don't slouch!" "keep your core tight!" "Stick your butt out!" "Don't look down!" "Bend your knees!" And so on and so forth. With all this commotion and advice as to how to set ourselves up in the back of the circle it is no wonder many discus throwers at one point or another develop what I call the "unnatural stance." You can identify this condition in many neophytes. The nervous demeanor on their face when they begin their wind up, the uncertainty in their motion, and the lack of fluidity in their movement. Throwers that suffer from "unnatural stance" of U.S for short have a very curable condition that can be solved by focusing on the following things:
  • First, relax! This is the most valuable advice my coach (Carrie Lane) gave with regards to the back of the circle. The ability to relax in the back of the circle allows the thrower to focus the energy of the throw for later in the spin when it really matters. What typically happens when a thrower is so focused with the back being perfect is that they don't do the same in the middle of the circle, which results in a bad throw. Relax by taking a few deep breaths and visualize hitting the middle of the circle properly. Close your eyes for a few seconds if you have to, trust me it works.
  • Second, Slow down! I am guilty of this myself. I sometimes blow through the back of the circle and i usually pay for it dearly when I get to the front of the circle because it mostly ends up being a bad finish. When I say slow, I don't mean snail paced, I mean slow in a manner that your movement is controlled and not erratic. Doing so allows you to have the ability to attack the circle more controlled and with more intensity than otherwise.
  • Third, do what works for you! This can only be achieved through trial and error. It all depends on what you feel comfortable doing in the back of the circle when it cames down to it. There is no cookie cutter setup that every one has to mimic but the most important points to focus on when trying to find your proper stance and movement from the back of the circle should include:
    • relaxed shoulders
    • relaxed jaw
    • keep eyes on horizon
    • keep torso erect as too prevent slouching
    • Move Hips before you move the discus
Next time you start from the back of the circle it is a good idea to focus on the points I have addressed above. The back of the circle should be the most relaxed and focused part of the throw. The more relaxed you are out of the back, the better your chances of turning up the intensity essential to achieve a great throw with a proper finish out of the front. Disc heads dismissed!!
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great addition to "Visualization" by norway89 of deepthrows.com

It is a while since I wrote it .... sorry about any bad english or description.

Mental Technicue Training

Mental Technicue Training.
I am a big fan of mental technicue training as a way to help keeping the technicue at a certain level during periods where it is impossible to train it physically because of sickness, injury etc. I also use it when trying to change some parts of the technicue as I feel it helpfull to know exactly what to do before I have to actually do the physical changes. Another use I have started to explore is to use it as preparation to stressfull and mental difficoult situations like international competitions.

When I like to start standing beside the ring together with the other competitors looking around the arena and the questions, what color is the track, the seats, the net and other areas of the arena where I normally notice the color. I look around to see where the pole vault is, the high jump and other event. What is going on right now?. How is the arena build? How is the structure? Is there anything bothering me? Maybe the judgers, are there anything wierd about the arrangement that unsettles me and make me unconfortable? I am starting to get a feel about the competition now, starting to feel the pressure from a competition where I dont control anything but my own performance. What I do now is to start feeling, feeling the competition pressure, stress and nervousness. I see and hear the huge crowd watching the competition.
Now we should have a feeling setting us into a very realistic scenario where we have to perform.
Another way to do it is to imagine your usual training field in the same way as that may be easier what do you see, smell and hear ?

When you have entered the scenario of your imagination we should start to throw. When trying to train techicue mentally it is important to do it in the same way as you throw. That means we got some simple important points to hold on to when training. Those are:

Throw from inside your own eyes.
Feel the movement, dont see it.
Do it as close to real life speed as possible.
If you miss, stop and do it over again.
You may have a bad day.
Training makes you good.

Throw from inside your own eyes:
This means that you should FEEL and «see» the throw in first person perpective and not third or anything else. This is not as easy as many may think, but with training it gets better. Important to remember what you actually see during a throw. Personally I dont remember having seen anything after a throw, therefore I write FEEL the throw from first person perspective.


Feel the movement, dont see it:
It is very easy to see your leg pivot fast in the middle, see the leg going in a wide arc before going to the center or see the great seperation between your right arm and the hip. But that is WRONG, you must always FEEL, FEEL, FEEL. Feel what you are doing, never see it. Remember to feel in first person perspective.


Do it as close to real life speed as possible:
The closer it is to real life speed the easier it is to do in your actual physical throwing. Like in real throwing it is easier to do things in slow motion and therefore that is the way to begin, but to make it really count in you actual competition throwing you have to be able to do it in full speed.


If you miss, stop and do it again:
Like real throws you may feel already from the beginning that you have missed the throw, maybe your balance is bad or something like that. Unlike real throws when training mentally you can easily just stop in and erase the throw and begin on new. Its like a computer game where you can load from a saved point. Do that until you finally makes it and yu will experience you will have to stop less and less as you start to get fewer misses.


You may have a bad day:
As in real life you may also hae a bad day in your mental training, maybe alot happened this day that you jsut cant push from your mind, maybe you are just too tired to concentrate or something similar. Remember that done wrong mental training can be bad for your technicue, if you feel that you cant do it good today, dont do it.


Training makes you good:
Like real throwing mental technciue training is a matter of repetition and training. As you start doing mental technicue training you will experience that you just cant seem to get a good feeling or the correct movements. That does not mean it will always be like that, it does only mean you have to keep up the training. When getting better you will feel great improvement as you get better and more really good throws.


My own experience with this is from using it mostly during periods of sickness and the fact is that I have often come back from sickness with a technciue at least as good as it was before I got sick. Also I often was able to do changes in technicue I had been working with before I got sick and I had been using while training mentally.


An example if a good way to use it is to get into the scenario and do 6 competition throws when you are in bed just before your going to sleep as the brain works with the last things you were thinking on when going to sleep.


Mark you that mental training takes time to master and that before you master it it may be more harmful to your technicue than good. But I belive it is an important tool to have.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Visualization

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If you think you are beaten, your are
If you think you dare not, you won't,
If you like to win, but don't think you can
It's almost a cinch you won't

If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out in the world you find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in a state of mind

For many a game is lost
Ere even a play is run,
And many a coward fails
Ere even his work is begun

Think big and your deeds will grow
Think small and you'll fall behind
Think that you can and you will
It's all a state of mind

If you think you are out-classed, your are
You've got to think high to rise
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize

Life battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can

by anonymous

Every great champion has achieved success by first visualizing it. Ask any pro athlete and they will tell you that their success began in their imagination before anything became a reality. It might sound simple but it is true that everything we are or will ever be will start as a thought. The power of thinking and imagining ourselves to a level of success greater than anything we have ever achieved is what leads us to success. When you think big, you will do better than you have ever thought imaginable. When you visualize something, you are essentially trying to travel forward in time to a place where you have achieved a certain task successfully. So how is this applicable to the throws?
  • Visualize successful technique as often as you can. This can be done by thinking upon your best technique and playing it over and over again in your mind. Stop relying so much on video cameras and start relying on your ability to mentally play out your technique with your eyes closed. You can take this mental copy with you everywhere you go, whereas you cannot take a video of yourself everywhere you go conveniently.
  • Visualize the feeling. The feeling of a successful throw is something that is hard to forget. Thinking back to times when you felt great and a had a great throw. Remembering cues such as the weather, the atmosphere, and the way you felt when you had a great throw in the past can cause your body to chemically adjust while competing because it wants to recreate the wonderful feeling again.
  • Visualize winning but also visualize how you would react if you lost. This might seem counterintuitive but I am of the opinion that if you have visualized a calm reaction to an unfortunate event, chances are that you will be able to recover faster than without thinking about it at all. Positivity is good but life has several instances of not giving us what we want and being mentally prepared for this allows us to overcome these obstacles faster.
"You are what you think." Think like a champion and soon you will be. If it doesn't happen physically, it has happened mentally.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congrats Robert Harting

Robert Harting of Germany competes in the men's Discus Throw Final during day five of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2009 in Berlin, Germany.
Robert Harting of Germany competes in the men's Discus Throw Final during day five of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2009 in Berlin, Germany.
Robert Harting of Germany competes in the men's Discus Throw Final during day five of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2009 in Berlin, Germany.
Robert Harting of Germany celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's Discus Throw Final during day five of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2009 in Berlin, Germany.

Dear Robert,
You are officially my hero! you have demonstrated that it is possible for the youth to reign in the great sport of discus throwing. Boldly doing what was once thought impossible. Being a world champion is the pinnacle of success and you deserve it because you worked very hard. I hope to compete with you soon. Relax and enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor because your earned it.
Sincerely,
Yemi
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to transition from high school to college

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One of the top three questions I get asked by high school coaches and athletes has to do with how to properly coach their high school senior in order to make their transition to college easier. My answer is simple and it involves three easy steps.
  • Step 1: Unless you are practicing proper technique when in the weight room, don't do it!! The reason for this is because there is nothing worse for a college coach to do than having to unteach all the bad habits and horrible weight lifting technique picked up from improper training methods. Put yourself in a college throws coach shoes and think about how much more difficult it would be to develop an athlete who lifts improperly, which brings about constant fear of an acute or chronic injury.
    • My advice to the high school senior would be to stay away from lifts that you don't know how to do properly because this will lead to injury. Stick to the simple lifts such as the bench and squats. Unless you have a great, and properly trained lifting coach who will ensure you are executing proper technique, you are bound for disasters such as injury as I mentioned earlier and slower transition in college due to bad habits that have to be retaught.
  • Step 2: Spend at least one day a week practicing the college weight. This can be done through taking a hand full of power throws and half turns at least once a week. Although it might be tempting to do a full spin with a 2k discus, stay away from doing them during your season because it may mess up your 1.6k technique. A lot of high school seniors that want to throw in college are too anxious and as a result, begin to throw the 2.0k discus too often during their last season, which creates problems for them in their technique with the 1.6k.
    • If you feel as though you have to start throwing the 2.0K, do it the summer break after your last high school season.
  • Step 3: Be humble and open minded. A problem many high schoolers face is their inability to let go of their high school mentality, which causes them to bump heads with their college coaches because they feel that their new coach is not doing the right things because they still have a strong attachment with their high school coaches way of doing things.
    • Come to college with an open mind and trust that your new college coach has a lot of experience, much more than you do. Be humble and willing to learn but also don't be afraid to ask questions because you will be more open to doing new things if you know its purpose.
Transitioning from high school to college is very challenging but I hope my points will help you soon to be college throwers. Also, give yourself time to transition. Some high schoolers think they will start off where they left off in high school but this is highly unlikely. Give yourself time to get physically, mentally and technically sound and you will achieve success in the end. Remember that it is not how you start, it means nothing if you have a breakthrough first year because you wont be remembered if you don't finish strong. Discus heads dismissed.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thank You From The Bottom of my Heart

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Every once in a while I think it is important to to give credit to where credit is due and I want to give a big thank you to all the readers of discus Guru. Without you all and your support I would not have had the courage to continue writing new posts so to that I want to say thank you. Spread the word to at least one other person you know about Discus Guru because it is a great resource for anybody that is interested in becoming a better athlete. I hope you all enjoy what I am doing so far. If you have something you would like me to write about let me know because sometimes I get writers block because I am only human haha. Thanks again. Discus Heads dismissed.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Discus Pioneer John Powell: Athletic Bio

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The Mad man John, showing good form.

According to Wiki:

John Gates Powell (born June 25, 1947) is a former American athlete. Powell set the 1975 world record (69.08) in the discus throw, his personal best, set later, is 72.08 m in 1984. It puts him eighth in the all-time performers list. He was born in San Francisco, California.

Nicknamed “Roadrunner” in his elite days for his speedy motion across the ring, he took fourth at the 1972 Summer Olympics, bronze at 1976 Montreal and made the doomed U.S. team to Moscow in 1980 before again taking bronze at Los Angeles in 1984. The 1987 meets appear to have been his swan songs on the international level – and he was banned from competition after taking part in a renegade tour to South Africa.

Powell currently runs several yearly throwing camps with fellow Olympian throwers.

Powell also currently teaches a few of his young champion throwers at UNLV every weekend.

video

Achievements

John Powell is a seven time US-champion in Discus throw in 1974, 1975, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987


Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Monday, August 10, 2009

Inch by Inch its a sinch

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My first coach introduced me to the discus throw at the tender age of 14. I was lucky enough to be blessed with a coach that knew my potential and how to develop my skill in such a way that it would set a strong foundation for the rest of my prolific throwing career.
  • He taught me hard work: he would always let me know that without hard work I would never have what it takes to throw farther. This meant hours of technique work, throwing, and dedication beyond my years. In my opinion, the ability to work hard and smart is what got me to where I am today.
  • He taught me to believe in my self and refuse to let self doubt overwhelm me. Sometimes, as we develop in this sport of ours, there are many times we forget to acknowledge that we are not going to achieve greatness without confronting defeat. With this came the concept of "inch by inch its a sinch."
  • Inch by inch it is a sinch! Every last one of us would love to PR by 5 meters every day we throw but the reality is that it will never happen like that. If it does, it is unnatural and you will probably need a drug test. The concept of achieving greatness through a slow and steady progression is the best way to achieve success in the throws. And usually the only way.
  • Give yourself time to grow. The truth about the throws is that the best throwers in the world are usually close to 30 for the most part (some are in mid 20's too). I am just 23 so I know I have many good years of throwing ahead of me!
My advice to young throwers everywhere is to give yourself a time line that is realistic to success. Trying to achieve too much too soon will only lead to frustration and a lack of focus, which means you will be more predisposed to fail. Be realistic, "even thieves know it takes time to be great." Discus heads dismissed.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Friday, August 7, 2009

Longandstrong.com Thrower Commandments

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These commandments are to live by! I just stumbled upon them and we should all take a look at it. Long and Strong magazine is great stuff.

THE LONG COMMANDMENTS

  • Thou shalt have fun! If you're not, why bother?
  • Never turn your back on the ring/runway!You run the risk of death or decapitation if you do!
  • Thou shalt set goals, and have a plan to achieve them. Incremental improvement leads to long-term sucess.
  • Thou shalt want instructional videotapes. The best way to develop a concept of how you want to throw.
  • Thou shalt be videotaped There's often a huge gap between what you think you're doing, and what you actually are. If you lack a coach with a good critical eye, this is a must. Tape yourself from various angles. Video can save you hours of frustration in the ring.
  • Thou shalt make the most of each practice, and each practice attempt. Know what you want to achieve before each session, each throw.
  • Thou shalt practice visualization. Mental rehearsal is the foundation for physical execution.
  • You can learn alot more from a 150' thrower than a 200'er. Emulate those who get the most from their ability, not necessarily those with the most ability.
  • All screwed up? Back to the BASICS When faced with major technique problems, revert back to the basics. Rely on fundamentals and drills to get you through.
  • THOU SHALT NOT "OVERTHROW" Be instinctive regarding the number of throws you take. Don't take 60 throws when you feel yourself tiring after 40. Muscle fatigue leads to overcompensation and in turn technique breakdown.

THE STRONG COMMANDMENTS

  • Thou shalt NOT do STEROIDS!!! Say no more!
  • Thou shalt not follow bodybuilding magazine workouts. Why? You're not a bodybuilder and you don't juice like the IFBB stars. Three hour workouts, twice a day??? Puhleeezz!
  • Less is often more. This is especially true as you get older. One set to failure for each bodypart every four to seven days can give better results than every other day marathon sessions.
  • Thou shalt stress Olympic and Power lifts. These lifts most closely resemble what we do. THINK LEGS!
  • Thou shalt not buy the supplement of the month. Research before you buy. Creatine monohydrate is one of the few that are universally accepted. And make sure what you're taking is legal.
  • Thou shalt change your workouts periodically. Everything gets stale. Variety is the spice of life!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

I'm Moving into a new apartment

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Hey Disc Heads.. Sorry I haven't put up a new post but I am moving into a new apartment.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Throw it all

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(Please Don't try this at home)
Some people always ask me what they can do to get thrower specific strength apart from throwing a heavier discus or lifting more weights. I tell them, if it has a handle, throw it!! I mean it. If you can get a good hold of it, throw it. Hang in with me and let me explain. There are a lot of things that happen when you throw something you are not used to throwing.
  1. First is muscle confusion, which causes your muscles to re-adjust to throwing an object that it has not been trained to throw. This causes your muscles to adjust to the object and also retain its already established mastery of the discus. Ultimately, overall strength is gained.
  2. Second is a keen focus of technique. If any of you out there have ever thrown a tire I am sure that you know that it really forces you to use your hips and legs because doing otherwise will result in the overuse of the upper body which could cause injury. The tire is just too heavy to throw with just the upper body. If you are an upper body thrower you will gain from the tire greatly.
  3. Thirdly, you become a more powerful thrower when you throw a lot of different objects. The process of throwing objects such as shot puts, puds, kettlebells, etc., result in the overall development of muscles that are unworkable otherwise. Remember that it is not just a matter of how much weight you can push in the bench, clean, or squat. To throw far its about how much weight you can push in a throwing motion.
Things to throw:
  • Tires
  • shot puts
  • rubber weight plates
  • puds
  • Kettle Bells
  • sand bags
  • Dumbbells
Throw these objects forwards and backwards. With your left and right hand. You will feel the difference in your training when you add these elements in.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Monday, August 3, 2009

And on the seventh Day God rested

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There is nothing better than getting a good nights sleep after working hard all day. After a hard lift, the first thing I want is a protein shake and a nap. There is no doubt that rest is one of the most important parts of our workouts but exactly how important is it? Well for starters, many religions and cultures usually set aside one day or a period in the day devoted to rest and relaxation. Often times we can get caught up in the concept that hard work will bequeath good results but we have to remember that overworking is just as detrimental to out success as much as being lazy does.
There is a stigma attached to taking extended periods off from training because it is waste of valuable training time. After working hard for an extended period of several difficult solid weeks in the weight room and the circle, you are entitled to at least a week of total rest. When I say total rest I mean staying away from the weights and throwing. Taking a week completely off after a hard cycle will go a long way in body recovery, agility and mental enthusiasm. There are several studies that show that taking periods off of between 5-14 days from working out after several weeks/months of working out does not significantly reduce strength levels. It only makes sense. The human body is amazing because it is an adapting machine and will not loose its abilities in such a short span.
According to an article on bodyrecomposition.com entitled The Importance of Rest " I want you to look at your last year’s training, when’s the last time you took an extended break from training, or took a week or two to do something completely different. Stay out of the weight room, go do bodyweight circuits in the park. Hike in the hills for some leg training, just go do something different. And don’t be afraid to take 5 days of easy training every 3-4 months to give your body and mind a break, you won’t lose anything and you may find that you gain a lot when you come back to the gym. Both physically and psychologically. Because, let’s face it, if training is a chore and you’re not pushing yourself, you’re not making gains anyhow. Taking some time away from your training can refresh the mind as well as the body and get you more excited about your training."
If the God rested on the 7th day after creating the earth. How much more important is it that we do the same on an even greater level? Very important. Rest is a gift that we should give ourselves more often than we think we need. Discus heads rest!!
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu