The most common thing I hear from athletes at the end of the season is a variation of, “I’m going to live in the gym this summer and come back jacked”. I love that enthusiasm but can’t help feel like I have failed a little bit as a coach. Don’t get me wrong, general strength is an important part of throwing, but its not everything. What I really hope to hear from my athletes is “I am going to work my ass off this summer and come back a BETTER THROWER“. Looking “Jacked” or simply getting stronger in the bench press and back squat isn’t necessarily going to make you throw further. General strength will ALWAYS be included in my athletes workouts, but there are so many other aspects of the day and training habits that should be addressed. In this article I will cover some things you can do to tune up your daily routine. The off season is the perfect time to reassess everything, make new habits, and prepare for fall training.
If you want to get better at something, do it MORE. I have always been fascinated with throwers taking the entire summer off from throwing. Stop it! You need to be throwing year round! Do you think Michael Jordan took three months off after the season? No, he and every other great athlete spend their off season working on things that need improvement.
Throws Specific Strength
This is a big one. I think that this is where we as American throwers have gone wrong. Being able to squat/bench/dead lift a bus does not translate to a world record throw as much as we want it to. Being strong never is a bad thing but we need to be stronger throwers not stronger power lifters. After we finish throwing my athletes work on throws specific strength with exercises like heavy implement throws, kettlebell throws, shot throws, and other exercises that mimic the throws.
No one can know everything about any one subject. Look at any great coach, professor, or entrepreneur and you will find they are always seeking more knowledge. Devote at least 30-60 min. a day to learning more about your sport, it will make you a better thrower.
I have found that there is something very therapeutic about going on walks and there is no doubt that moving more is great for us all. This is especially true for people like me who sit at a desk all day. For the last year or so I have made it a point to go outside and walk on my lunch break. On nice spring and summer nights I take a second walk after dinner. These walks give me the opportunity to unwind, get away from the pressures of life, and learn something new (walks are a perfect time to feed your brain with knowledge from audio books and pod casts).
Eat Real food
This subject could be several posts in itself and people have a lot of political, ethical, and religious views that influence their food choices. With that said I think that we can all agree that there is always room for improvement in our diet. Michael Pollan reminds us that, “We are what we eat eats” and that a lot of what we consume is “edible foodlike substances”, not REAL FOOD . My advice would be, eat as far down on the food chain as possible. Eat whole, organic, and local foods. The fewer ingredients the better.
Goals and a Plan
Goals get us motivated, plans KEEP us motivated and give us the directions to our goals. Don’t limit yourself, put real thought into what you want to do, and then map out a plan of how you are going to get there. Having smaller goals can serve as milestones and show you that you are on the right track.
The better I am at following the above mentioned things the better I feel and the better I throw. If I am feeling “Off”, low on energy, or my motivations is missing, chances are I am slacking off on one or more of these items. There is nothing ground breaking in any of these suggestions nor are they meant to be a quick fix to anything. What I hope you do take from this is, always having goals, being dedicated to those goals and putting in the work will always help you improve at anything.