Kara Winger has been the top American javelin thrower for 15 years. This season was her last, and she went out in style. Her season highlights included a world number 1 ranking, Diamond League title, World Championships silver medal, and an American record. She joins us on this week’s podcast with her husband and coach Russ Winger to discuss what made this season such a success.
Notes and quotes
Kara Winger is the American record holder in the javelin. The 4-time Olympian and 9-time US champion finished her career in September. Her final season culminated with a world number 1 ranking, Diamond League title, World Championships silver medal, and yet another American record. This season she was coached by her husband Russ Winger, himself a former elite thrower who won the NACAC champion in the discus, as well as bronze at the Pan Am Games.
- 0:00 – Introduction.
- 2:15 – The small world of throwing.
- 4:15 – Deciding to work with Russ as a coach.
- 7:30 – What makes the javelin different from the other throwing events.
- 9:15 – Deciding to make 2022 the final season.
- 13:00 – The financial side of throwing.
- 17:45 – Wrapping the javelin, input from Neeraj Chopra, and rethinking her technique.
- 19:30 – Coaching philosophy and aligning with the athletes: “Once there is a trigger for athletes, your brain rights a program that it runs. How do we change the trigger so the program runs better?”
- 24:15 – Kara’s thoughts and synergies in the strength planning.
- 26:45 – Splitting forces: “Splitting forces: it’s not about losing control of the implement, but energy leaks since the body is going one way and the implement another.”
- 27:45 – Season objectives, the value of consistency, and learning to trust yourself.
- 32:00 – Intentionality in training: “When you start out throwing, you throw as hard as you can every day. And you get better, but there is no intentionality. You should come into each session with some intent or goal.”
- 35:00 – Finding focus through change.
- 37:00 – Throws volume for javelin: “I leaned into the stuff I hadn’t gotten to do for a year and trust that the stuff I didn’t want to do any more would still be there for me since I’d been doing it for 20 years.”
- 40:00 – Accumulated effect of training and fun in training.
- 41:00 – Influence on the javelin community, coaches education, and faith in your coach.
- 46:30 – Future work in coaching.
- 49:00 – Resurgence in the American javelin and the value of sticking with it.
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- You can follow Kara Winger on Instagram (@karathrowsjav) as well as Russ (@russthrowsstuff and @longdraw_woodworks).
- Winger’s retirement has been the subject of a lot of recent media, including these articles from Track and Field News and World Athletics.
- We’ve had several javelin throwers and coaches on our podcasts in the past, including Episode 268 with coach Asmund Martinsen and Episode 193 with Dana Lyon. The GAINcast has also featured GAINacst 156 with European champion Steve Backley, GAINcast 175 with coach Mike Barber, GAINcast 237 with Debbie Strange, GAINcast 106 with Goldie Sayers, GAINcast 229 with Kevin McGill, and GAINcast 230 with Ken Shannon. We also put together a video of specific strength exercises for the javelin from Irish record holder and World Championship finalist Terry McHugh.