HMMR Podcast Episode 280: Father knows best (with Mitch Crouser)

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.

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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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