When Ethan Katzberg won the world championship title in the hammer throw last month, he surprised a lot of people. But for his coach Dylan Armstrong, it was what they had been training four years for. On this week’s podcast Armstrong breaks down how they used those years to develop Katzberg from a multi-sport high school athlete into the youngest world champion in the event’s history.
Dylan Armstrong is the coach at Kamloops Track and Field Club in Canada where he has guided throwers including Ethan Katzberg Tokyo Paralympic shot put champion Greg Stewart. Armstrong was himself an elite shot putter winning Olympic bronze, multiple world medals, and setting the Canadian record. As a junior athlete he also won World Junior silver in the hammer throw.
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- You can follow Dylan’s Kamloops throws group on Instagram at @KamloopsThrows.
- We also put up some recent analysis of the first half and second half of the throwing events at this year’s world championships.
- Our archive has a comprehensive introduction to Bondarchuk’s training methods: we have a simple introduction, as well video lesson detailing his approach, as well as a sample training program. We also interviewed him in 2015.
- Former world record holder Jüri Tamm also shed some insights on talent, development, and Soviet training in two multi-part interviews that we did with him over the years. You can read the first interview and second interview.
- Some of our coverage of the recent World Championships include a debrief on Episode 307 with René Sack, analysis of the first half and second half of the throwing events, regional/national trends, and our preview to kick things off on Episode 305 with Don Babbitt.
Key quotes and topics
- 0:00 – Introduction.
- 3:45 – Transitioning from athlete to coach
- 7:15 – The real Bondarchuk system: “You can read every book that Bondarchuk’s written, but that’s 40- 50 percent of it. You have to be there day to day. You have to try it out.”
- 12:15 – Moving beyond maximal strength: “Ethan can snatch probably 90 to 95 kilos. Maybe he’ll get up to 100 by next spring. But that’s not our focus. I want fast, loose, long muscle. And that’s what you need in hammer. You don’t, I don’t want tight and short.”
- 20:00 – From shot put to hammer and Ethan’s journey.
- 22:30 – In detail on the Bondarchuk method.
- 25:30 – The art of peaking.
- 28:30 – Mental preparation.
- 30:30 – The path forward for Ethan
- 33:00 – Learning as a tool to accelerate development: “A lot of these systems that people are using just old and if you make mistakes along the way and you only peak twice and twice a year you’re probably not going to grow that year. Where at least if I make a mistake, I’ve got, 16 to 20 more chances to to get back on track and get some growth. So that’s what makes it special.”
- 35:45 – Defining talent and the role of development: “A lot of people think of talent: can you show up and throw the hammer really far on the first day? No. Talent is how many sessions, how many programs you have the capacity to keep developing.”
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