Here is a Method That is Helping Rachel Fatherly Achieve World Class Results
Rachel Fatherly is finding her path to greatness.
On track to have the best season of your career, the sun is shining, you got your sunglasses on because your future's so bright. Everything is grooving the way you dreamed. You are hitting weight room PR’s, PR’s and milestones in your respective sport and you are continuously having training epiphanies, creating a greater understanding for overall development. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Then all of a sudden, a freak injury. A dislocated toe, a hurt foot, something so simple, yet so painful. How can you possibly grow from this accident? Is it possible to pull yourself out of this crazy situation and still accomplish your goals?
Path to Greatness
This was the situation last year as World Class thrower, Rachel Fatherly built the foundation toward the greatest season of her career. For the past 3 years, all Rachel has done is embrace the journey. She has stayed the course, focused on specific goals in the weight room, she has focused on specific goals with her technique and she has developed herself mentally over a long period to achieve greatness in her sport.
During the 2019 Indoor season, Rachel had opened her competitions with big personal bests. She was throwing bombs at every indoor meet she attended. She steamrolled into the US Indoor Championship and came home with a fifth place finish, her best ever finish at a Senior level competition. Her hunger for more was ignited and she was prepared to continue snowballing her success into the outdoor season.
In training, Rachel was consistently hitting monster marks, we all knew she was prepared to drop huge throws. We saw it regularly in practice, we saw it in warm ups and even her “bad” throws in competitions were above her old personal bests! Rachel had found the groove. She had learned how to take her training to a new level, she learned how to optimize her recovery and continue to progress in the circle, creating massive throws and goals to achieve new heights of success.
We all watched as she started to blossom. Could this be her big year?
Rachel was warming up for a meet at the University of Virginia. Something seemed off. She wasn’t smacking the finish, she seemed tighter than normal, her movement was compromised and there was a clear lack of rhythm. As her coach, I chalked it up to simple fatigue. She was closing out her training program and she was in need of a new primary stimulus while we continued to work on her positions in the circle.
Her first throw in the meet was nearly 65 centimeters less than her seasons average. She was certainly off BUT Rachel is a champion and persists in competition. Even with meets where she may not feel her best, she is ALWAYS looking for a victory out of the meet. Could she come back from bad warm ups? Can she find a rhythm and get ahold of one big throw? Could she regroup and compete with the two best Canadian women in the competition?
Her second throw, she reversed and felt a pop. Looking back at her limp out of the circle, I should have recognized immediately that she did something bad. She knew something happened. RARELY does Rachel actually complain. Sure, she will bitch at me and challenge me to change some aspects of her program but RARELY is it a true complaint. That’s how I knew we had an issue on our hands.
After the meet, we gathered all of our stuff, Rachel refused crutches. Instead, her stubbornness decided to grace us tremendously as she hopped her way back to the van for the five hour trip home. It was essentially ruled that she dislocated her toe and would need to get back to the hospital, have it relocated and then take 2-4 weeks off from throwing.
This was a VERY difficult venture home. Rachel is a badass, she trains 9 sessions a week, she is striving to accomplish MASSIVE throws and she is motivated. But this roadblock broke her. She sat behind me on the drive, crying, questioning everything, doubting her future, wondering if she will ever get back into top form to become a world class shot putter.
We spent the next 2-3 hours discussing options, going over the “what if” scenarios of an injury and creating plans to keep her on track. She got her toe relocated and we took a week off from throwing.
We decided to push it. Within 8-10 days, Rachel was back in the ring. Within 8 throws, she dislocated her toe...A SECOND TIME! She knew it immediately. She got in her car, drove to the urgent care, got it relocated and then we sat down with the Mobility Doc and decided to wait 4 weeks for her foot to heal.
What happened next was nothing short of amazing…
Journey to Success
Rachel just lifted weights for four straight weeks. Then we started with practices entirely devoted to standing throws. We didn’t do any dynamic movements in the weight room, planning her entire program around minimal foot stress. After 2 weeks, we slowly got back into half throws and full throws but all at a very low intensity. Understanding varying situations and being dynamic with the position is one of the staples behind our program at Garage Strength. We are able to decipher strength codes for various types of athletes, all due to our past acknowledgment and movement of previous similar athletes!
When people ask me, “What does Cultivate your power, mean?”
It’s a hard answer. It’s an embodiment of internal struggle into a positive movement forward. Rachel embodied the saying, “Cultivate your power.” She spent the next 7 weeks SLOWLY building up her speed while strengthening her foot. She stayed focused on the journey. Rachel knew her foot was a set back but she also recognized the result of what happened could no longer be changed! What happened….well, it already happened! All she could do now is find her internal power and build toward her initial goals of becoming a world class thrower.
As she built back into her full throws, she stayed focus on the end goal of hitting 60+ feet in the shot and just making strides to a bigger world ranking. She flew to a meet in Texas for her first competition and hit a solid mark out around 59 feet. This was a good start back. Her goals were in line, she was prepared to continue her growth.
One week prior to US Outdoor nationals, she hit a HUGE PR with a throw of 18.48, well over 60 feet and far enough to help her earn a top 20 World Ranking! She was geared for US Outdoors but the pressure from the dislocated foot and some emotional stress that may have been mishandled prevented her from “success” in her eyes at that specific competition.
It’s important to remember that success is relative to the given situation. Rachel came back from TWO tragic injuries and was still able to compete at the highest level nationally. After nationals, she went to Arizona for a competition where again, she went well over 60 feet and cemented a positive closure to her 2019 season.
She has recognized the opportunity she has, she has grown from her dislocated toe. She has seized more and more opportunities in training to get better and is constantly making progress toward her goals for 2020. What’s even crazier?
We went to an indoor competition where she was “off” with her movement and still SMASHING throws at her old PR. She walked away from the meet with a HUGE indoor PR of 18.22 and is setting herself up nicely for a solid indoor campaign.
Rachel is embarking on the daily journey, on the weekly journey, on the monthly journey, never taking too many steps forward and instead being mindful of every rep that is in front of her. She knows that every journey starts with one small step. She understands the process and in turn has learned how to cultivate her power toward greatness.
Stay tuned as she builds into a phenomenal 2020 track campaign!
How far do you think Rachel can throw in 2020? What distances do you think she will need to become a top 3 female thrower in the US? Share your thoughts below and let’s keep crushing those goals!