People with varied and diverse backgrounds come to the NY Weightlifting Academy with a common goal – to improve their Olympic Weightlifting capabilities. In my short time with the NYWA, I’ve seen so many make improvements they did not think possible, from young Juniors to the more experienced Masters. Have you ever thought about why the system at the NYWA works as effectively as it does? Well, the coaches are the key. They are extremely knowledgeable and they put together a unique plan for each individual. Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have worked with some of the best coaches in the world resulting in a long and successful career throwing the javelin. Recently, I came across notes I put together many years ago when I was helping a high school track and field team. I thought I’d share them as I believe there are many parallels with Olympic Weightlifting and hope it helps you on your individual journey.
At the NYWA, the coaches will help you to improve your weaknesses and to build your strengths, step by step. This might mean spending time on certain basics with a stick, only the bar or very light weight until the coaches feel you’re ready for the next phase. Remain patient. The idea is to make consistent improvements, not just an initial jump. Then systemically build upon the solid foundation. So, continue listening to your coach, relish all your special assignments, do the supplemental exercises, and enjoy your time on the War Chariot. You’ll love the long term results of training methodically.
An Approach to Learning the Shot Put, Discus, and Javelin
A fairly common question begins something like “I work very hard every day but I don’t see any improvement in my distances. Why?”
Success and improvement in the throwing events are primarily based on improving your technique. The technique of each throwing event must be broken down into manageable components. Build a plan to improve each component, one step at a time. This may sound a little boring but it is the best way to improve. You should NOT be throwing for distance every practice. Don’t take out the measuring tape more than once a week. The distance will come with improved technique, not with throwing for distance every day. Consider other sports. If you lift weights, you know that you cannot Max out on Squats every workout. Instead, you may plan to gradually decrease the repetitions and to increase the weight each workout so that you can attempt a maximum lift once every 6 or 8 weeks.
Tennis is another example. You would not play a match every day. To improve your game, you may spend one workout or large parts of your workout focusing on your forehand, another day on your backhand, another practice on your volley or on your serve. Each area of the game can be broken down further. You may spend hours just working on tossing the ball – in different winds, in sun, etc. Other important parts of your practice would include speed, endurance, strength, and flexibility. The idea is to systematically improve all the pieces individually and then put it together for a big competition.
The shot put, discus, and javelin events are similar. Understand the components of each throw and work on the individual pieces one at a time. Break your bad habits by improving your technique BEFORE you try for distance.
Technique is THE main success factor, but not the only one. You also need a combination of speed, strength, and flexibility. Each workout should focus on a component or two of your technique and also work on these other success factors. Not everyone is a natural-born athlete, but everyone can improve their athletic performance with a methodical approach.
Header photo courtesy of Everyday Lifters.