Throwers Unite , an organization commited to bringing the global throws community together, has recently submitted these questions to Rodhe Sport. They have kindly allowed me to post the interview on this blog. Be sure to check out their webpage and the great source of other athlete/coach interviews.
TU: How crucial do you think heavy/light implements are for an athlete?
RS: Using light and heavy implements in conjunction with the competition weight are crucial to growth over time for all athletes. If an athlete has already achieved the sport level required for competition and doesn’t wish to grow their results anymore, then multi weight throwing is not crucial.
TU: What do you think separates elite athletes from those athletes who are trying to become elite?
RS: Assuming athletes have the same genetic potential, I think the largest gap between athletes that make it to a high level and those that don’t is personal sacrifices. I’ve watched many talented athletes say they want to improve but their actions don’t indicate it. They won’t move out of parent’s house, they won’t move to work with the best coach, and they won’t work long hours to financially support themselves. The biggest challenge is money. Young athletes today are afraid to work hard and afraid to incur debt. To achieve the highest level you must have no fear of former or latter.
TU: Do you think there is a correlation between what u18 & u20 athletes throw and how well they will do at the senior level?
RS: The competition result they post is not a strong indication. The training system they used as a young athlete is. If athletes use a sophisticated system and specialize in their sport too young then odds are that they have tapped out their potential for continued growth. If the athlete is using heavy/light implement training and they can already throw the senior weight a competitive distance when u20, then of course that is an indication that they will be able to at least compete that level as a senior. But there is still no indication of continued growth.
TU: Favorite exercise for the throws? (shot/disc)
RS: For these events I think the best universal exercise that people might not immediately think about is the dip. Dips provide explosive arm muscle, shoulder stabilization, core strength and precision focus to execute. These are all strong correlatives to the throw. It is both an entry-level and high-level exercise. Little instruction and equipment is required; it is highly adaptable in variation and in location. It is the ultimate thrower exercise.
TU: Favorite technical thrower?
RS: I’m going to answer this question less traditionally. It is hard to pick names because everyone does something well. Saying one thrower is better than the other is kind of like teenagers arguing who would win a fight, a gorilla or a bear? My answer today is going to be any thrower who delivers the final and finishes their release on bent legs, particularly the front leg. This is true for all events, hammer, shot, javelin and discus. Bondarchuk was the first person in sport to show me this concept and it was the corner stone of my personal development to 21,29m. It was an antiquated idea in North America then (2008-2010), but over time more and more coaches and athletes have adapted the bent leg principle after the results achieved by the Canadian Shot Putters (2012-2013).