When I began throwing the shot in 1997 I pretty much knew nothing about the sport, what shoes to wear, whose technique to copy, etc. I just did what I was told to do by a coach who was there probably once a week. Proof of this is the fact that my first pair of throwing shoes were the classic turquoise, orange, and beige Nike Zoom Rotationals. These were obviously too fast and too advanced for a beginning thrower, especially a glider in the shot put. I was fortunate enough to have a solid Junior College coach Jeff Dunn. He was not well versed in relation to the rotational technique so we stuck with the glide even at 5-foot 7-inches tall.
About Nick Garcia
Nick Garcia is one of the leading high school coaches in the country. For more than a decade he has served as the throwing coach at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. Garcia is also an active thrower and has been throwing the shot put for the last fifteen years. As a student at California State University Northridge, Garcia was a two-time Big Sky conference champion in the shot put and has continued to progress collegiately. You can find him on Twitter at @nick_g_garcia.
Entries by Nick Garcia
Recently I was challenged. I was challenged by a long time friend to step up and coach at the college level. He said “I talk the talk” by all the stuff I have recently done on HMMR Media in regards to the blog and podcasts so why don’t I “walk the walk.” This basically stemmed from when I was a younger thrower and coach and would get upset with guys who self promote them selves on the internet. Although it is true that those type of guys upset me back then, I feel I take a different approach to how I put out information. At least I try to take a different approach.
Seventeen years ago I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to Cal State Northridge and compete for coach Glenn McAtee. While at Northridge coach McAtee instilled in us a blue collar work ethic. Our group of throwers were jacks of all trades. We built and fixed everything that needed it. This included plyo boxes, shot put, discus, javelin, hammer, and med ball storage. We fixed our cages, installed the nets, and chalked/painted our own arcs and sectors. We even built our own shot wall out of railroad ties.
While I coach the throwers at Notre Dame High school, my main role is actually as head strength coach for the school’s athletic teams. From baseball to water polo I get to work with hundreds of athletes each year at a critical time in their athletic development. For the vast majority athletes this is the first time they have seen the inside of the weight room or done any supplemental work. Therefore it is critical start out on the right foot. This is the topic I focused on for my presentation at GAIN 2015 last week.
Over the course of last season I was asked to put together a weekly video journal that tracked my team’s training and progress throughout the season. Championships Products has just compiled them and released this as a resource for coaches to learn from.
A week and a half ago I went on a major rant about how poorly the throws are treated and how the majority of coaching in the throws at the high school level is very poor. However, I did not go over what could be a solution. I put a lot of thought into how we as a throwing community could rectify each and every problem we have experienced at a meet and this is what I came up with.
I have been thinking a lot about this since our meet this afternoon. I am a bit worried about the sport I am so passionate about and particularly the events I am so passionate about.
When Martin and I outlined Bondarchuk’s approach to periodization at our seminars in December we received a few comments that, while it sounds great in theory, it could not be implemented in a high school or college setting. College coaches are under pressure to produce results fast, the argument goes, and traditional methods work better over the short-term. Others said that this may work for elite athletes but that high school athletes need to build a better base before moving on to a more complex method that includes emphasis on specific exercises out of season. Last month Derek put together a great comparison of different approaches to periodization, but one thing he didn’t address were arguments like these.
After a year of using the system myself I felt it was time that I go ahead and implement it with some of my high school athletes. I had the perfect candidate to experiment with: a young thrower on my team named Ginika Iwuchukwu. As a freshman and sophomore Ginika had played basketball in the winter and we only had a short time to prepare her for the upcoming track season. During this time I had her on a traditionally periodized training plan and at the end of her sophomore year she had thrown right at 12 meters (39 feet). Looking ahead to her junior year she decided to focus on throwing. Therefore, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to apply Dr. B’s system or what my idea of what the Dr. B. system was. Rather than going into the structure of the program, which Martin has explained and had examples of it up in the past. I will go over the results we got, mistakes I made, and what I am doing differently this year compared to with Ginika over the last two years.