Last week I posted part one in an interview with shot putter Nick Garcia. Nick started training again last year after a few years away from training and decided to experiment with creating his own program based on the methods of coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk. After a year with the new program, he provided me with his thoughts and feedback. Part two continues where we left off. First we discuss what he likes and dislikes about the program, as well as how difficult it was to learn about and implement it. We then discuss how he’s started using the training system for his successful high school group. Last week I mentioned Nick has coached 20 boys over 50-feet in just one decade of coaching. In the days since, that total has gone up 23. Before we get started, we had some requests for video of Nick, so I’ve posted two of his best throws from the past year below.
Tag Archive for: Shot Put
My collegiate career got off to a rocky start. Back in August 2002 I showed up to Cal State-Northridge only to have my coach, the man I had moved more than a thousand miles to work with, resign. The next six months were filled with ups and downs before I decided to transfer a few months before the school year ended. At that point, the recently graduated shot putter Nick Garcia took me under his wing to finish out the season. He helped write a training plan that led to a five-meter improvement. He offered me lifting facilities. And he offered me work as an assistant for his hammer wire making business in John Godina’s garage. I learned a lot about training from him and even more about dedication. With this in mind, I was happy that he called me a year ago to ask a few questions about Bondarchuk. Finally I had a chance to return the favor.
This training talk is also a case study in converting to a training system based on the teachings of coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk. Nick has been training now for one year under this system and I figured it was a good point to get his feedback on the transition and also provide a shot putter’s point of view to counterbalance my hammer throw commentary.
The shot put once again returned to the spotlight on Thursday at Zurich’s main train station. In front of thousands of fans, the shot putters put on a memorable show to kick off this year’s Weltklasse Zurich Diamond League meeting. Reese Hoffa continued his post-Olympic dominance and redemption tour with a convincing victory over Olympic champion Pawel Majewski and the rest of the world’s best throwers. The intensity was also high for the women’s competition. Cleopatra Borel was so focused on her celebration dance that she inadvertently fouled two throws by walking out the front of the ring mid-dance. But while the women were amped up, the competition itself lacked any compelling moments. The victor was clear from the start and most of the field posted mediocre results. Unfortunately, this is what shot putting may look like in a post-Ostapchuk world.
So far the trials have been non-stop action as far as the throwers are concerned. Over the weekend the men’s shot putters, women’s discus throwers, and javelin guys continued the momentum started in the hammer throw. Reese Hoffa threw a world leading mark to win the shot put. While the three favorites all qualified for the team, it was not without a little pressure when Joe Kovacs’ big personal best briefly overtook Christian Cantwell. Stephanie Brown-Trafton and Aretha Thurmond led the women’s discus, while Sam Humphreys threw a personal best to take the men’s javelin over a last throw breakthrough by young talent Sam Crouser. While Humpreys’ mark did not qualify him for the Olympic team (it landed just 14 centimeters short of the qualifying standard), he still seized the day. Even the meet’s biggest highlight thus far, Ashton Eaton’s world record in the decathlon, has the throwing events to thank. The record was only possible due to the progress Eaton has made in throwing over the past few seasons.
With all this excitement, it is hard to believe that the trials are only half-finished. Action starts again on Thursday and this weekend will feature three more finals in the throwing events. Take a look below to get a taste of what’s to come.
An epic hammer throw competition started off the 2012 US Olympic Trials off on the right foot, but we still have more than a week of action ahead of us including the shot put, discus, and javelin throws. As the hammer throw competition showed, there will be drama even in events where the Olympic team is all but set already. Overall, the throwing events feature a mixture of known stars in established events and young guns trying to resurrect dormant events. Throwers rarely get a chance at the spotlight, so expect a week of surprises as they fight for a little glory. Below is a quick preview of the events that will have finals in the coming days. Check back next week for previews of the remaining events.
Perhaps no athlete has had the high level consistency that Adam Nelson has demonstrated over the past 15 years. Since winning the NCAA title in 1997, Nelson went on to win a world championship and take second at three more. He has also captured two Olympic silver medals. Throughout this whole period many other shot putters come and went. Sydney Olympic champion Arsi Harju exited the international scene as quickly as he entered. Athens champion Yuriy Bilonog had a longer career but still failed to maintain form years later. Young talents like Janus Robberts never were able to make it on a podium, while others like CJ Hunter and Kevin Toth were sidelined by positive drug tests. But Nelson has continued to thrill crowds and with his win at last year’s US Championships he showed the world he will still be a contender in London at age 37.
I’ve always looked forward to watching him since I first saw him throw on TV at the 2000 Olympic Trials. His come from behind victory with a final attempt personal best was clutch, and his reaction was even better. He is known for the intensity he brings to the ring, but many people don’t know he brings that same intensity and success to all parts of his life. For example, he was an Ivy League graduate and holds an MBA from Virginia. He has also sought out and trained with the best coaches and was more than willing to share his thoughts with me. If you want to hear more from him, I suggest listening to the recent interview he gave on the Thrower’s Podcast. And be sure to support his sponsor Saucony, who plans to release its first throwing shoe this year.
In addition to the interview I posted earlier this week, there is some other information available online about Werner Günthör’s training and Jean-Pierre Egger’s training methods. I have tried to collect much of it below to help put the interview in context and also provide more information for those interested. Enjoy.
On Friday I posted the first part of my interview with Jean-Pierre Egger, the coach of former shot put world champion Werner Günthör and current Olympic champion Valerie Adams. Click here to read part one. After talking about training methods, our discussion turned towards throwing and technique and the future of the shot put.
Martin: Does Valerie normally throw without a reverse like she did today?
Jean-Pierre: She normally throws with a reverse at meets, so today was naturally not her competition technique. It is only a training technique that we use because she has a tendency to jump too early. Last year she came to Zürich and threw almost 20 meters and then came to Magglingen. We did five training sessions then like we are doing now: precise throws without a reverse and without measuring or anything else. Then in Croatia at the Continental Cup she threw 20.86m, the second best result of her career and in an important competition not just a small one.
Nearly every thrower knows who famed shot putter Werner Günthör is. But few people know the man behind the athlete: his coach Jean-Pierre Egger. A former Olympian himself, Jean-Pierre became the Swiss national throws coach and guided Günthör to three world titles and an Olympic bronze medal in 1988. After Günthör retired in the mid-1990s, Jean-Pierre began to focus his attention on other sports and found just as much success as the strength and conditioning coach for, among other, the America’s Cup champion Alinghi yachting team and the silver medal winning French national basketball team.
Jean-Pierre has now returned part-time to the sport and has been coaching Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams since last winter. In June I had a chance to visit a training session at the Swiss Olympic Training Center in Magglingen. After the workout we sat down to discuss throwing and training.
Bondarchuk is most well known for his legacy as both an athlete and a coach in the hammer. But his greatest success since he began coaching Western athletes has been in the shot put. His star pupil Dylan Armstrong increased the Canadian record to 21.58 meters and placed fourth in Beijing, just one centimeter off of the podium.
Often hidden in the shadow of Dylan is Justin Rodhe, and that’s something he hopes to change in the future. When Justin arrived in Kamloops in 2007, he had just graduated Division 3 Mt. Union College, where he was a consistent 16 to 17 meter thrower. During his last meet for the school, he threw 18 meters for the first time and won the NCAA D3 title. Since joining the group he has made quick progress: last year he threw 19.52 meters and this year he expects to be in the 20 meter range. Rodhe also married Megan VanderVliet in 2009, a Commonwealth Games participant for Canada in the hammer throw and is deciding whether to compete for America or Canada in the future. The two recently launched RodheThrows.com. Justin has been kind enough to share some of what he has learned about the shot put from Bondarchuk and others.