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First, I think it’s ridiculous that USATF would screw over coaches and athletes by having a staggered start for two of the biggest throws competitions at USA’s. For those who aren’t aware, USATF decided to have women’s shot and men’s discus basically at the same time and at different locations at outdoor USA’s. I know several coaches (myself included) whose ability to coach their athletes was dampened by this issue. When problems like this arise, it really comes off that USATF doesn’t care about their throwing athletes. This was just a big example of poor planning. They could have easily held the women’s shot at the rings near the men’s discus, which would have created an amazing competitive environment for both sets of throwers.
That being said, it was a pretty awesome rush for me as a coach. It was a serious challenge of my abilities to try to handle this situation. Before the competitions, I was very clear with my athletes about what I expected from them. Sam and I spoke about how it would be ideal if he could start off the meet with a big throw early, so I could go back and coach Mo through the second flight of women’s shot. I felt Rachel needed my presence the most, so I made sure to be there to help her find her groove in the competition. Thankfully, several people had good live streams going so I was able to remotely follow the other competitions when I got a chance. I do think I could have given Mo some more help with a technical issue that held her back a bit, but because of the situation, I had to make decisions about where to be and when.
Sam executed exactly as planned, although I would like to improve his ability to find 6 good throws. He had the best series of his life on four fair throws, but even those two fouls were just bad releases, so that’s something we need to clean up. It really was a fun experience for me to see Rachel hit a big throw in prelims and then run over and watch Sam go 65 and then 66 to open his meet. Before the finals of the women’s shot, I spoke with both Rachel and Mo about what I wanted them to think about technically for their final throws. The finals didn’t go exactly the way we wanted, as I think Mo just had one or two things slightly off and Rachel may have been a bit gassed from hitting a big one early. Regardless, they both placed well and we are definitely proud. In the men’s discus, all three of the medalists competed very well and headed up one of the best men’s discus competitions in recent memory. Overall, it gives me a lot of confidence moving forward that the members of my group can face a challenge like this at the biggest meet of the season and hit throws when they had to.