Hard work finally pays off
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I feel like all my training posts have the same theme; and it’s that I am having the best practices of my life.
I had a great opportunity to go to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista last weekend and train with some of USATF’s biomechanical scientists. It was great timing for me in my training cycle to get out of Eugene, throw in some great weather, and see where I am at.
After looking at old footage we made some evaluations of what to work on for the day. I took 12 warm up throws on the runway, progressing to my ¾ approach (6 forward steps into 6 cross overs), and we began the biomechanical session.
My body was feeling good from traveling and taking Friday and Saturday off, and I couldn’t be happier to see the sun was shining.
Bing wanted me to block with a straight leg, and rise over the block, “launching” my body into the air after the javelin. While this isn’t something I necessary ever focus on, I took his words and twisted them into something my coach and I have been working on for years. Simply to drive the right side of the hip forward/up and lead with the chest as I delivered my throws.
Former Arizona State shot putter Jordan Clarke was watching as well as our biomechanist Bing Yu and I was having troubles early on getting the intensity on the runway. There is always that extra gear that I can hit when lots of people are watching, the pressure is on, and I am in a meet situation.
But after a few throws I was finally dialing up the intensity and was hitting some decent throws. Jordan wanted to know how far I was throwing but I had no idea. In a good practice I would finish with 71-74m, and I felt pretty good, so I assumed maybe 71m. Jordan grabbed a measuring tape and pulled it tight to the cluster of javelins in the distance. After my first three throws from ¾ approach the farthest one measured 77.63m.
I was in shock! I had never thrown that far in practice in my life. And I had so much more left in the tank.
I took my shirt off and I got serious.
A full javelin length past the previous javelins. We measured again and sure enough 79.90m.
Bing and I looked over the first 6 throws and we talk about how we can improve. Even though I am not specifically working on what he is telling me, I am still accomplishing what he wants as a byproduct of me doing the things my coach and I work on. Everyone has different mental cues. You just have to find yours.
I take 2 steps back and start throwing from full approach. My first few throws are okay but are still landing around 75-77m. The shirt comes off again for my last three in a final attempt to hit that extra gear that I might find in a competition.
I close my eyes and visualize the throw, building up my speed (“slow to fast” as we call it), staying back, and keeping the throw very linear and powerful over the top.
The javelin lands clearly further than the end of the measuring tape that was left in the field at 79.90m from my first set. I have just thrown over 80m in practice.
I finished with two more mediocre throws that I pulled down on the javelin causing it to stall out and land short, but every throw that day was over 75m, which was well more than what I was hoping for.
So what did I throw?
We pulled the tape tight one more time… 82.80m (271’8”). It’s a 5.25m practice personal best, it would be the #2 throw in the world this year so far, and it’s only 36cm off my personal best in a competition.
So ironic that my last blog is called trusting the progression, and I am going to keep trusting it. It was quite the confidence boost, and it’s great to know that all my hard work is finally paying off. Next step is to do it in a competition. Only way to accomplish that is to change nothing. Yeah, that’s right… Change… Nothing!
I am going to keep training hard and work on the fundamentals, and when I throw at Mt. SAC Relays on April 19th I need to remember the mental cues that I had at the biomechanical session. If I can do that I know this year is going to be amazing!