Eugene might be TrackTown USA, but Los Angeles has a good claim to being ThrowsTown USA. Not only does Nick live there, but it is home to UCLA and USC, with two of the nation’s top throwing traditions. Five years John Frazier got a unique opportunity as a coach: he got to return to his alma matter UCLA to continue the school’s legendary tradition of throws dominance. Since then UCLA throwers have only gotten stronger and Frazier has solidified himself as one of the top shot put coaches in the country, routinely qualifying multiple athletes for the NCAA Championships. On this episode of the podcast we talk to coach Frazier about his experience starting out as a throwing at UCLA under Art Venegas, his evolution as a coach, and his approach to continuing the UCLA tradition.
Notes and quotes
John Frazier is currently the throwing coach at UCLA. As a student at UCLA in the mid-1980s under coach Art Venegas, he was a three-time all-American and still holds all-time top 10 marks in the shot put and hammer throw. In over 30 years of coaching he has worked at top schools across the country, including most recently long stints at the University of Tennessee and University of Arizona. Throughout his career he has coached 43 all-Americans, four NCAA champions, and numerous Olympians. He has been back at UCLA since 2013, where he has helped keep its strong throwing tradition alive.
- 5:00 – How Frazier got involved in throwing.
- 8:30 – Meeting Art Venegas and experiences at UCLA. “Art Venegas instilled in all of us a passion for track and field. He developed not only athletes, but helped shape humans. “
- 13:30 – Looking back at Frazier’s coaching career.
- 15:30 – Top moments as a coach.
- 20:30 – The value of throwing multiple events. “As a developmental athlete, throwing other events will help your main event. Throwing as many events as you can will help you. Throwing the hammer helped me learn how to use my right side in the shot put. “
- 23:30 – Evolution on his approach to the rotational shot put: “My approach now is more individualized than it was 30 years ago. You cannot have a manufactured technique that everyone has to fit into. “
- 26:30 – The value of studying film.
- 29:15 – What does it mean to be a Bruin? “Give respect where it is due. Never let the foot off the gas pedal. Always know there is someone better than you and you have to keep working. “
- 32:00 – Evolution of his training approach.
- 34:15 – Learning to step away as a parent of an athlete.
- 37:00 – Comparing the SEC to the Pac 12.
- 39:15 – Recruiting: “I’m not a salesman so I just tell recruits the truth: this is what we have, I’m not the best coach in the world, but I’ll do my best to get you better. “
- 42:00 – The value of keeping your eyes open and learning from others.
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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 Frazier’s background on the UCLA webpage. The UCLA newspaper also did a great profile of him in May. You can also follow UCLA track and field on fTwitter and Facebook.
- We also had other former UCLA throwers on the podcast, including John Godina on Episode 46 and Don Babbitt Episode 116 and Episode 170 as well as Frazier’s former athlete Adam Kuehl on Episode 113.
- We’ve compiled a list of our top throwing resources on the throwing topic page.