Its peaking season in high school track and field. This is one of my favorite times of year, everything is planned out and kids are ready to compete and drop bombs. I pride myself on “managing what I measure.” This is a quote I stole from an old farmer who was talking about keeping measurements and data for all farming input to compare to farming output. With my athletes, I love to keep little measurements of where they are in training to better my ability to peak them as individuals.
But what happens when things go awry? Maybe a kid gets sick, they roll their ankle, maybe they completely lose the feeling to throw or maybe they go to another coach and that coach has an input on their volume entirely different from that of your own…all of these things can completely throw off the peak of a track and field athlete.
What can you do to save the peak for the individual. Maybe saving the “peak” is out of the question, but how can we as coaches save the result so they can still throw well in the big meets? There are a few quick things to use. First, if the athlete has no feeling in the throw, I usually recommend giving them a heavy implement to use. The heavy implement will force them to have more “feel” than they typically would with the competitive weight. If they start to feel it with the heavy implement, they might start to feel it with the competitive weight. Another quick trick is to have them warm up with pauses. Make them pause in the power position to feel where they need to be and to relearn that specific position. Finally, I like using “no feet” throws. Have them do a full throw without moving their feet at all. They can’t step forward and they can’t reverse. They have to completely control the final position and finish properly.
Save the peak and throw long!