Two of the three competitions for Brady Mider, one of our top on-site high school shot putters, have been three throws, no finals competitions. While we are happy to see him get the opportunity to compete, these competitions have hampered our vision of going big early in the season. In this week's blog, I will discuss how I went about planning for this style of competition and share some of the lessons gained.
Three Throws, No Finals
As previously mentioned, two of the three competitions Brady has competed in have been only three throws, no finals competitions. We don't favor this type of competition, as it affects our game plan going in. Only having three attempts puts more stress on those three attempts, something we don't typically train for. Knowing these competitions were limited, I saw it as an opportunity to use my experiences as an athlete and coach to ensure that we could go out and execute to the best of our ability, even though the conditions were quite what we hoped.
Luckily, we were told ahead of time that the first competition would be limited. Knowing that, I adjusted our pre-meet session, putting more emphasis on priming the central nervous system (CNS) through our dynamic warm-up. With the CNS firing at all cylinders, Brady would be in a position to take higher-intensity warm-up throws earlier than normal.
Taking those warm-up throws at a higher intensity would prime him going into his three attempts. I considered those three warm-up throws to simulate the first three attempts of a competition where there would be finals, so when he takes his actual three attempts, it could simulate as if he were taking attempts four through six.
Another strategy I implemented into our pre-meet session was range throwing. I used Brady's first competition series to determine ranges where he should throw. One range was a distance I knew he could clear easily, the other a range we would chase. The first marker was at 17m, a distance he cleared on every attempt at his first competition. The second marker was at 19m, a distance that we've had our eyes on. The goal was not throwing under the first marker while chasing the second one. This put a big emphasis on having to go big early on, something we would have to do going into this competition.
Day of the Competition
With the gameplan established going into the meet, the focus was going out there and executing. I emphasized controlling the controllables, for example, our preparation, game plan, and execution. Anything outside of that, we shouldn't worry about. Not worrying about things outside our control was a big piece for me, just as it was for Brady. As coaches, it's our job to remain poised. If our athletes see us worrying, that can make them feel a sense of worry, creating an unnecessary distraction.
Brady's series was as follows: Attempt 1 16.56m, Attempt 2 17.85m, Attempt 3 18.58m
The first attempt wasn't the start we were looking for, but we were able to take it for what it was, review the throw, and prep for the next attempt. The second attempt was significantly better execution-wise. He executed the cue we've been working on and smashed the finish. That was a big confidence booster going into the third and final attempt, the attempt where thinking is at a minimum and just smacking the finish. On the third attempt, Brady gets the crowd to start clapping. With the crowd engaged, he flows with the energy and crushes his final attempt!
The video is of Brady's third attempt:
As we can see in his series, each attempt got better. If he had given three more attempts, I believe he would have been in a position to break the 19m barrier. It sucks not having the opportunity to continue when things are going well, but his series put it into perspective that a big toss is coming, given the right circumstances. That was a message that I stressed after the competition. We, as coaches, can use reflection to ensure our athletes, alongside ourselves, are in the right head space about a good or bad competition.
Using recordings of his throw and his series, I could review the overall performance and further pick out things we need to adjust for the next competition, so next competition, he's in a position to go BIG!
When things don't go as planned, the best thing to do is remain calm and control what you can control. Make adjustments where you see fit. Reassure the athlete that everything will be fine and stick to the game plan. Those micro managements will ensure that everything goes to plan!
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