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Training Talk with Mac Wilkins (Part 1)

1976 Olympic Champion Mac Wilkins

While my true love lies with the hammer throw, I try to learn as much as I can from all of track and field’s various disciplines. The best coaches and athletes that I have met all accumulate knowledge from every source possible. With that in mind, I decided to ask Mac Wilkins a few questions about the discus throw. Mac was the 1976 Olympic Champion in the discus throw and set five world records. But even though he had much success in the discus, he also knows a thing or two about the other throwing events. His nickname was “Multiple Mac” since he had impressive personal bests of 70.98m (discus), 21.06m (shot put), 63.66m (hammer), and 78.44m (old-style javelin).

In 2005, Mac decided to turn his attention back to the throwing events. He accepted a job as the throwing coach at Concordia University and started the Mac Wilkins Throwers Academy. Through those two roles he is involved in a long list of pursuits from offering online video analysis to hosting frequent competitions and clinics. One of his more recent ventures is The Wilkins Review, a subscription based service that provides coaching tools, analysis of the world’s best throwers, commentary, and training tips for the discus and other throwing events. His contribution to the sport is already paying dividends. This year’s top ranked male high school shot put, discus, and hammer throwers all train at his facility (in addition to the national high school javelin record setter last year). Despite the mild weather in Portland, it is the best throwing facility I have ever seen.

Below is part one of the interview where we discuss his projects and the current state of discus throwing in America. Check back for the final part in the next day or two, where we’ll discuss more about training and the elements of success for elite throwers.


The Mac Wilkins Throws Academy

Martin: After working in the business world, what made you decide to switch your focus back entirely to the throws?

Mac: In about 2000 I realized that my best and highest use was teaching the throws, not selling corporate technology solutions. Opportunities presented themselves such as starting a Throwers Academy and being invited to be the Technical Consultant to the Elite US Discus Throwers. In December 2004 I was contacted by Randy Dalzell who was starting a track program at Concordia University. Concordia’s long term plan of growth in enrollment, neighborhood involvement and becoming a center of excellence was a good match with my vision. The resulting Throw Center is clearly a miracle of the Lord. It was crazy since their enrollment at the time was about 700 undergraduates.
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I Remebered I Have a Blog!

The other day I was talking with a friend and they asked me about my blog? Wow, I hadn’t been there in ages. It would be a good time now because my season has started off well. After some rough times over the past few years, I am finally coming into my own in discus. I should give more updates but I get wrapped up into daily life and forget. I am training well and my throws are good. PR 69.90m and so far no meet under 65.98m. My last competition was 66m and pretty calm conditions. I can throw far!!! Thanks to Mac Wilkins for the “secrets” lol. Read more

Well, the training must continue!

This past season was full of ups and downs. The start of the season provided some bad happenings in my personal life and this seemed to put a strain on the rest of the season. After starting my season off the right way, I started to tinker with my training and technique. I had a plan and then decided to go away from it. Nearing the trials, I was plagued with lots of bad luck and injuries. Over the last 16 days of preparation, everything started to go wrong. Sickness, muscular injuries, nerve injuries and even none throwing related injuries! After all of this, I can say that I was prepared for the trials about 5-6 weeks after it was over. Read more

Me and My Wife

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Me Single-arm Snatching 90 kilos

Let the Blogs Begin

I created this blog because I wanted to make a website but I don’t feel that I have time to manage one. This is much easier and I can post some training journals, statistics and get some video up as well. My goal is to be at minimum an Olympic finalist in 2008 and at minimum by 2012 a medalist. As for now, I am just training and making preparation for the years to come. I will turn 26 in a few days, which is very young for discus throwing. Most Olympic medal caliber throwers are the best around the age of 30 or beyond. I have a long way to go but thinking toward the future should be helpful in my quest.