As a javelin thrower Dana Lyon was undersized and overlooked. It forced her to aim high and learn more about the event to succeed. She climbed her way up to become US champion. On this episode of the podcast she comes on the show to discuss how she developed her throw, her coaching philosophy, the competition mindset, and military life.
Notes and quotes
Dana Lyon is currently the javelin coach at the Air Force Academy, where she also oversees the strength and conditioning needs of select event groups and assists current US champion Kara Winger. As an athlete, she was the 2005 and 2006 NCAA champion in the javelin, as well as the 2007 US champion. She competed at the 2007 World Championships and took fourth place at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Understanding the javelin throw
- 4:30 – Transitioning from athlete to airman to coach.
- 8:30 – Reflections on coaching Kara Winger.
- 11:30 – Approach to javelin technique and key technical points: “Throwing the javelin and flying the javelin are two different things. “
- 15:30 – Injuries and javelin: “Your body doesn’t want to go from a full speed to a block. But if you trust the technique and know the biomechanics, you are safer. If you try to brace too much, it can wreck you. “
- 19:30 – The role of strength in javelin throwing: “The elastic component of the muscle means you can relax the muscle to lengthen it to produce more force. If you rely on brute strength you might actually take away from the power going into the implement. ” “You don’t need strength to throw the javelin farther, you need strength to take the ground reactive forces and hold the forces when you are put in other positions. “
- 23:00 – Training deceleration: “Your body only allows itself to accelerate to the extent it can decelerate. Training the decelerators will help you accelerate more. “
- 24:45 – Lessons for discus throwers from the javelin.
- 26:30 – What college coaches miss in teaching the javelin: “Just because you see it doesn’t mean that’s what is happening. You have to understand the components of what causes it. “
Mental drive and competing
- 30:15 – Mental toughness, drive, and the academy life: “I see a lot of people with fear of failure or fear of success. They just show up and survive. If you only survive life, you’re missing out on opportunities. “
- 37:30 – Becoming a better competitor. “I want the technique to be perfect, but I freelance to get there. I let the athletes find their own process to get there; I’m not going to dictate their every move. Athletes can’t compete if they are freaked out they’ll make a wrong move. “
- 40:30 – Developing the competitive mindset as a child.
To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- Join HMMR Plus so you don’t miss all the content on our site, including past episodes of the podcast, our deep article archives, video library, and more. If you like the podcast, don’t miss our latest book Training Talk: Conversations with a Dozen Master Coaches for more in-depth insights on training from some of the world’s top coaches.
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- You can find Lyon on Instagram (@danapoundslyon) and Twitter (@USAjavLyon). You can read her full biography on the Air Force Academy webpage.
- We have had a few other javelin guests on the site. On Episode 170, Don Babbitt discussed results from the IAAF Biomechanics study on the javelin and other throwing events. Legend Steve Backley was a guest on last week’s GAINcast 156 and Olympic medalist Goldie Sayers on GAINcast 106. Former javelin thrower Justin St. Clair was also on Episode 105 to talk about the program he has set up at North Dakota State University. Javelin coach Terry McHugh also shared his javelin specific strength exercises on the site.