In the last few years Ryan Crouser has cemented himself as the top shot putter in the history of the sport. Behind the scenes along the way has been his father, helping him from his first throw to his world record. On this week’s episode Mitch Crouser joins us to discuss his own throwing career, the long-term development plan he put in place for Ryan, how they developed their technical model, and what the future holds for the both of them.
Notes and quotes
Mitch Crouser grew up in a family of throwers. He started as a javelin thrower, before picking up the shot put and discus in junior college and then at the University of Idaho. He had personal bests of 67.22 meters in the discus and 20.04 meters in the shot put. He has coached his Ryan Crouser in both the discus and shot put since he was a teenager. Along the way he set the national high school record in the discus and the world record in the shot put.
- 0:00 – Introduction.
- 3:30 – Mitch Crouser’s own background as a thrower.
- 9:00 – Lessons from his injuries and his own mistakes: “The basis for Ryan’s training is learning from all the mistakes me and my brothers made. There is more than just getting big and strong.”
- 11:45 – Development of Crouser’s technical model: “We realized right away technique would need to be a bit different for him. He ate up too much of the ring, so we started a bit slower, set up the throw, and finished like the glide.”
- 16:00 – Keeping the right side moving in the throw.
- 17:30 – Coaching influences on Mitch Crouser.
- 19:15 – The role of video analysis: “At the top level, video of most throws looks the same. But the feeling is completely different. It comes down more to feeling and proprioception than video analysis.”
- 22:45 – The role of the stand throw: “Our view of the stand throw has evolved. It played a big part from high school until 2019. We spent a lot of time developing a big stand and got up to 21 meters. But once you chase it too much you start to develop a whole different technique just to stand throw. It starts to become its own event. And then the correlation starts to go down.”
- 26:15 – The evolution of Mitch’s role: “It’s been a gradual evolution from teaching him the details of how to hold the shot, to now just looking at the big picture how things are going.”
- 31:30 – Heaving implements and specific strength: “When Ryan was younger, he wasn’t strong enough to handle heavy implements and they just broke down his technique. The 16-pound felt overweight. Now overweight is a big part of training since he can handle it. It just took a long time to get there.”
- 36:00 – Strength training philosophy.
- 38:45 – What’s next? How to improve on a world record level.
- 42:00 – Ryan’s future as a discus thrower.
- 44:45 – The difficulty of the shot put/discus combination.
- 46:45 – Lessons from the pandemic: “During the pandemic everything in life was going against you, but he made the best of it. Motivation was hard to find but he told me he’d never been more motivated than he was then.”
- 50:30 – Season and competition planning for elite shot putters.
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.
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- You can follow Mitch Crouser on Instagram (@mitchcrouser) as well as his son Ryan (@rcrouser).
- There are a ton of interesting tidbits about Ryan Crouser and his training in this recent Track and Field News interview.
- Mitch and his brothers were the focus of a Sports Illustrated feature story back in 1985.
- For more interviews with top shot putters, check out Episode 98 with Reese Hoffa, Episode 46 with John Godina, Episode 267 with Andy Bloom, Episode 42 with Adam Nelson, and Episode 278 with Ryan Whiting.
- To learn more about shot put, check out the HMMR Classroom where we have video lessons on Nick Garcia’s rotational throwing progressions, Don Babbitt’s rotational shot put master class, and specific strength exercises for throwing.