Mike Barber came to the javelin as an outsider, but a fresh perspective has helped him rethink the event and led Kelsey-Lee Barber to World Championship gold last month. On this week’s GAINcast we talk with Barber about how his career has developed, his approach to the javelin, and how he navigated complex waters in the lead up to the World Championships.
Notes and quotes
Mike Barber is currently High Performance Coach for Athletics Australia based in Canberra. He began his career as a biomechanist and transitioned into coaching athlete of different disciplines, including parasport as well.
- 5:30 – Background in sports and transition from biomechanics into coaching.
- 11:30 – A look at the Australian Institute of Sport.
- 14:00 – Starting with Kelsey and influences of Grant Ward: “Not coming from a javelin background I didn’t have any inherent bias in how I looked at the event. I just used logical reasoning in deciding what to do in training. “
- 17:30 – The first years with Kelsey: “When you are a young coach it is hard to have the confidence to tell the phyios and performance staff what you need vs. being dictated to. “
- 19:30 – Looking back at the 2019 season.
- 21:45 – Adaptive planning leading into the World Championships: “Kelsey didn’t throw much in training from July to October because we were managing some shoulder inflammation. That meant we had to get quite creative with training, but we able to focus all the other elements. “
- 25:00 – Doing less in training: “As Tero Pitkämäki got older, his coach said as Tero got older he wished he was brave enough to do less in training rather than chasing the same loads each year. “
- 28:00 – Technical models: “Athletes come to me with a unique set of skills based on their body type and strengths. If I were then try to fit them into a technical model, it is like putting a square peg in a round hole. Throwers know how to throw things, so I try to find out what they have thought about in the past and try to amplify that. “
- 32:30 – Lessons learned and evolution of his strength training programs. “Knowing when to push and pull back with different elements of conditioning is key. I never want to be more than a couple weeks away from throwing far. If we are too far away from that, we are too far away from feeling what a good throw is. ” “We do we do so many stiff slow movements if we want to be quick and elastic? For S&C it is thinking about exercises and more about movement commands. “
- 37:00 – Influences from John Pryor: “You are never going to get a perfect runway, so if my athletes are better at finding stability when they are off balance, then they will find a way to get a throw away if they get into a bad position on the runway. Aquabags help teach the athlete to find their center of mass and timing. “
- 41:30 – Changes leading into Tokyo Olympics.
- 44:00 – Working with Para Sport: “The throws are governed by the same principles, whether you have a disability or not: try to accelerate the implement and throw it as far as you can. The guys in Paralympics just have different factors that might limit their ability to hit technical models, so you have to be a good problem solver and find where their strengths are and put them in positions to produce force. “
- 47:00 – Kelsey’s multi-sport background: “We’re trying to find the world champion at 12. We want the world champion at 28. “
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- Come join us at the GAIN Europe Deep Dive on foundational strength. It takes place from January 10 and 11 in Devon, England. Find out more here. And save the date: GAIN 2020 will take place from June 16 to 20.
- The GAINcast is brought to you by GAIN and HMMR Media. This month’s HMMR Media site theme is foundational strength, so stay tuned for more resources coming soon on the topic, including last week’s HMMR Podcast. Join HMMR Plus so that you get full access to our video, article, and podcast archive here on HMMR Media.
- You can follow Barber on Instagram (@barberathletic) and Twitter (@barberathletic).
- Some of the other episodes referenced on this podcast: GAINcast 156 with Steve Backley and HMMR Podcast 130 with Jeremy Fischer. We also put some javelin specific strength exercises together with Terry McHugh.
- For more resources from John Pryor, see an overview here.
- Vern also referenced his recent post on rhythm.