As we entered a new century it had been 30 years since an American woman ranked top 10 in the world. Suzy Powell-Roos led a group of throwers that changed that and put the event on the map globally for the US. On this week’s podcast, the 3-time Olympian and former American record holder joins us to look back at her throwing career and look ahead at her coaching career.
Notes and quotes
Suzy Powell-Roos is currently the throws coach at Modesto Junior College in California. As a thrower she jumped on the scene at an early age by setting multiple age groups records and being named the national Girl’s High School Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News. As she graduated to the senior ranks she made 3 Olympic teams, 4 world championship teams, and set the American record at 67.67 meters.
- 2:00 – Where is she now?
- 5:15 – Finding continuous development and overcoming the struggles of age group champions: “One of the great things about my experience at UCLA was trying to be a big fish in a big pond. I never felt entitled winning, I always felt I had to go and earn it. You were only as good as your last meet. “
- 8:00 – How high school and youth athletics have changed.
- 13:45 – Getting into throwing and having a father as a coach.
- 17:00 – Reflections on time at UCLA.
- 21:00 – Leaving UCLA, transitioning to post-collegiate throwing, and working with strength coach John McBride.
- 23:15 – Late-stage career lessons from coaches Dan Pfaff and John Godina.
- 25:00 – Comparing the coaching of Art Venegas to John Godina: “Art had a way of making performance very personal. That is effective in getting people to do things, but can also burn people out. Godina tried to change things without becoming overly emotional about it. You didn’t live and die by every throw. “
- 29:30 – Training explosiveness: “My worst years were always when I trained more in the strength throw model rather than the snappy elastic style thrower that I was by nature.”
- 32:00 – Managing explosive training and injury risks.
- 34:00 – The allure of size and strength and VBT: “Find and trust works for you. As soon I got insecure enough and tried to lift heavier or put on more weight, it never really worked out. “
- 38:30 – Finding consistency.
- 41:00 – What contributes to a long career: “There is a physical aspect of staying injury free. And there is a mental aspect of staying motivated year after year despite financial ups and downs and hold off normal life. It is a battle of attrition. “
- 45:15 – Finding the right type of tension in the throw: “You can create shoulder stability through hand positioning. Just look at martial arts. How your hands are have a chain reaction up to the shoulder. ” “Do we need a long left arm out of the back in the discus? Could you shorten it and use it to accelerate you out of the back? “
- 51:15 – Lessons learned from becoming a coach.
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:
- This month’s site theme is the future of training. Join HMMR Plus so that you don’t miss out on our archives and new resources.
- In our discussion of explosive strength we referenced our recent interview with Rene Sack on Episode 211. You can learn more from on the topic in Video Lesson 16.
- Former coaches John Godina (Episode 46) and Dan Pfaff (Episode 59) were both early guests on our podcast. We also did two written interviews with Dan Pfaff that have been included in our book Training Talk.
- For more on the UCLA pipeline of coaches, listen to our interviews with John Frazier (Episode 179) and Don Babbitt (Episode 116).
- Discus has also been covered in our interview with Sack linked above, as well as his interview on Episode 79. Powell’s rival Aretha Thurmond was a guest on Episode 166. Jamaican discus coach Julian Robinson was a guest on Episode 155. We also have done written interviews with Vésteinn Hafsteinsson, Mac Wilkins, and Eric Cadee.