Don Babbitt has developed a name as one of the top throws coaches in the world after guiding athletes like Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson, Breaux Greer, Jason Tunks, and Andras Haklits. Recently he’s been involved with a number of projects in the throwing world like leading a rotational shot put project in Japan, analyzing throwing development in the US, and work with Koji Murofushi to research specific strength exercises like “hammerobics.” On this week’s podcast Babbitt joins us to brainstorm about what’s on his mind recently.
In addition to an impressive list of professional athletes, coach Babbitt is the associate head coach at the University of George, where he has also produced over 50 NCAA All-Americans and 11 NCAA champions across all four throwing events. And he is heavily involved in coaches education as Senior Editor for the IAAF Coaches Education Program and Lead Lecturer for the throws. Due to his wide-ranging background, the interview covered several different areas.
- 4:00 – The development path of the US throwers. The key to international success is how you develop after the age of 23. If you look at the successful, they have had a team together for a long time to support that.
- 7:15 – The correlation between youth and senior success.
- 10:30 – Poland and what countries we need to look at for developmental models.
Spin vs. glide
- 14:00 – Explaining the Japanese rotational shot put project.
- 19:00 – Where have all the gliders gone?
- 20:00 – Why does the spin dominate in America? To get support in the US, it is a race to 21 meters by age 23. That’s easier with the spin. The glide is a great technique, it just takes longer to develop.
- 21:30 – The future of glide vs. spin worldwide.
Specific strength and “hammerobics”
- 25:30 – What are hammerobics? Traditionally strength training only challenges athletes through a higher load. Hammerobics aim to challenge the athlete in other ways such as rhythm and stability.
- 28:00 – Other benefits of hammerobics.
- 29:30 – Comparing and contrasting hammerobics to Bosch.
- 31.00 – Where to hammerobics into program: hammerobics training is about timing, not speed.
- 35.30 – The genesis of hammerobics in Koji Murofushi’s training.
- 37:00 – Looking at the Art Venegas coaching tree.
- 40:00 – Learning from Art Venegas: “Art never told any of us to be coaches, but he made us love track and field and want to do that for a living.”
- 44.30 – Creating a legacy at one school.
- 47:00 – Why don’t all good coaches produce a coaching tree?
- 48.30 – The non-sustainability of outsourcing your coaching.
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The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
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- You can learn more about Babbitt’s background from the University of Georgia webpage. Babbitt sat down for a lengthy interview on individualization and other training topics back in 2012.
- You can learn more about hammerobics and see Koji Murofushi demonstrate some exercises in my recent article on the topic. You can learn more about Frans Bosch’s similar methods from his most recent book
- Two of Babbitt’s most successful athletes have also been guests on the podcast before. You can hear from Reese Hoffa on Episode 98 and Adam Nelson on Episode 42.
- The coaching legacy of Art Venegas was discussed in a good Track and Field News profile of Joe Kovacs last year.
- On the topic of developing throwers, we did an analysis of how much youth success predicts senior success in the hammer. We have also crunched the numbers on when hammer throwers, javelin throwers reach the prime of their career.