HMMR Podcast Episode 241: The mailbag (with Grant Cartwright)

It’s time to open the listener mailbag again. A few times a year we solicit listener questions and take them on air. This time, the format is a little different. Recently we’ve been getting a lot of great questions from Boston University’s Grant Cartwright. So we invited him on to help us answer some questions, ask a few of his own, and talk about the major influences on his coaching.

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Notes and quotes

Grant Cartwright is in his second season as throws coach at Boston University. Prior to that he was a standout shot putter and hammer thrower at the University of Michigan, where he earned All-American honors.

Introduction and learning from Grant Cartwright
  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 3:15 – Training for success in multiple throwing events.
  • 10:00 – Influences of coach Jerry Clayton and lessons learned.
  • 13:30 – Examples of athlete autonomy under coach Clayton: “I’d almost describe coach Clayton as a Buddhist monk. At practice you’ll never hear how good it is and you’ll never hear bad it is. You’ll just hear what it is.”
  • 18:30 – Starting out as a coach: “A big young coaching mistake that I made was I would change things a lot. We might do something for two weeks, and then an athlete would start getting into a funk so we’d change things already. But they simply hadn’t had enough time.”
Q&A roundtable discussion
  • 24:00 – How much is too much or too little variation? “Beginners do not need as much variation. There is so much variation in every rep that this might be enough.”
  • 30:15 – What factors help decide how many programs you alternate in a Bondarchuk-style system?
  • 35:30 – How much of the training effect comes from particular sessions vs. the cumulative effect of training? “It’s hard to get in that ring if you’re beat up. It’s hard to get the rhythm if you’re beat up. When you are microdosing training, doing a little each day, you’re better able to train rhythm and technique.”
  • 43:30 – How many throws do you take in a session? “How many attempts you take in each session is going to depend on the demands of your event, the density of the training week, and the work capacity of the athlete.”
  • 50:30 – Do you need to squat?
  • 1:02:15 – How should you periodize specific strength? “Rather than periodizing specific strength exercises based on the physiological goals of the phase, now I prefer to select exercises to assist in the technical goals we’re reaching for.”
  • 1:07:15 – Rant about social media and coaching.

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.

Further reading

  • This episode is brought to you by HMMR Plus. This month’s site theme is microdosing, and we’ve got plenty of new articles, videos, and podcasts about how to get the most out of short training sessions. Become a member for full access to our videos, articles, and podcast archives.
  • You can learn more from Cartwright on Twitter (@gwcartwright) on Instagram (@gantcartwright). You can also follow his squad on Instagram (@terrierthrows).
  • Cartwright’s former coach Jerry Clayton was a guest on GAINcast 86.
  • Several of the topics we covered today were looked at in more detail in the HMMR Classroom. Video Lesson 1 looks at Bondarchuk programming. Video lesson 16 shares René Sack’s approach to specific strength training and planning. Alternative approaches to leg strength were also covered in GAIN Video 11.
  • You can hear us answer more Q&A on Episode 213, Episode 199Episode 176Episode 174Episode 143Episode 126 and Episode 89.