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.
Entries by Martin Bingisser
Jacob Furland (Classical, Providence, RI) continued his late season hot streak. After winning Weightarama earlier in March, he captured the win at the Hershey USATF Youth Indoor Championship on Saturday. Little more than a foot separated the top three boys and Furland came through with a personal best to jump into the lead and claim the win at 72’03.75″. In the girl’s competition Furland’s teammate Cheyenne Figueroa (Classical, Providence, RI) easily captured the win by nearly eight feet.
Start talking about special strength or specific strength and one of the first things that often comes up is Yuri Verkhoshansky and the principle of dynamic correspondence. In our latest video lesson, I sat down with German national discus coach René Sack to discuss his framework for specific strength and how he applies it to discus throwers. What stood out to me the most is how big of a gap there is between the theory of special strength and how it is put into practice by top coaches. Dynamic correspondence might look good on paper, but top coaches like René are finding different ways to make specific strength effective in training.
After Friday’s Emerging Elite competitions, action continued on Sunday at the New Balance Nationals Indoor with both championship competitions. The girl’s took off first in the morning with a bang. Already on her first throw Monique Hardy (Webster Thomas, Webster, NY) improved her national lead, then jumped ahead even more in round two. Her winning throw of 64’7.25″ added nearly two feet to her best and shot her up to sixth all-time among high school throwers. Behind Hardy were Rhode Island’s top throwers, but not in the order you would expect. Annika Kelly (Barrington, RI) added more than a foot to her best to beat state champion Cheyenne Figueroa (Classical, Providence, RI) for the first time this year and claim silver in the process.
Watch the javelin in full speed and it is a thing of beauty. Watch it in slow motion and it’ll often make you cringe. In order to throw a spear the length of a football field requires athletes to put their body in extreme positions with massive amounts of force transferring through the kinetic chain. Mastering it is hard, staying at the top even harder. Steve Backley was not just one of the best javelin throwers of all time, but sat atop the sport for 15 years. On this episode of the GAINcast, Backley joins us to discuss how he developed in the sport, what creates the perfect throw, and becoming a better competitor.
Competition and the New Balance Nationals Indoor kicked off on Friday with 70 throwers facing off in the Emerging Elite competition. In the girl’s competition Julia Garcia (Cornwall, New Windsor, NY) and Kaitlyn Conte (Marlboro Central, NY) both broke 50 feet for the first time to place first and second respectively. Aaron Williams (Bloomfield, CT) added more than three feet to his best to win a close boy’s competition where six of the top seven throwers improved their personal best. The weight throw competition will continue on Sunday with the Championship competition.
After struggling at the state championship last month, Jake Furland (Classical, Providence, RI) took some revenge and improved his personal best on his first throw to claim the win at this year’s Weightarama meet. His new best captured the win by just inches in a close competition with Kyle Moison (Lincoln, RI). In the girl’s competition, Furland’s teammate Cheyenne Figueroa (Classical, Providence, RI) also won with a big first round toss.
Back in December, I invited Sergej Litinov to Zurich to present a workshop and work with some of the Swiss hammer throwers. Since I first got to train with Litvinov in 2004, I have been impressed by the different perspective he brings to the event. He conceptualizes the hammer throw different than any other thrower I know. Back in August 2017 and September 2018 he joined member hangouts to try and explain his approach, but only seeing him with with athletes in person do you really get to understand how to put the concepts into practice.
The fields are set for this weekend’s New Balance Nationals Indoor in New York. More than 140 throwers are signed up across different categories. Action will start on Friday with the Emerging Elite competition, and conclude on Sunday with the Championship competition. As usual, the fields are deep. In the boy’s competition the nation’s top 18 throwers and 19 of the top 20 will all be in attendance, led by national leader Trey Knight (Ridgefield, WA) looking to defend his title and chase the national junior class record. In the girl’s competition 16 of the nation’s top 20 throwers are on the start list with favorite Monique Hardy (Webster Thomas, Webster, NY) looking to improve upon her fourth place finish from last season.
The making of a champion starts at a young age with the athlete’s family, youth coaches, and community. The champion’s mindset then grows from there. Kevin McMahon won two US titles in the hammer throw and competed in two Olympics and four World Championships. He joins this week’s podcast to share how he started out as a thrower, the San Jose throws community he came of age in, and the inspiration he took from that. In addition, we look a bit at what it takes to be a champion in the hammer throw, and more.