Don't Sell Yourself Short
Blog 7 Don’t Sell Yourself Short - February 19, 2021
Over the course of the past couple of years, I have made a concerted effort to send a text message of each of my athletes. Each message usually takes the form of a couple of positive things that happened during the session, something about a conversation we had, and a question about one thing they would like to focus on the following session. The text exchanges vary in length. I’ve had some conversations go on for multiple exchanges. Sometimes I don’t hear back from my athletes for a day or two. Sometimes I don’t hear back at all. In those instances I usually need to prod a little bit during our next training session. I don’t like leaving things to chance and just showing up to practice without having a plan for my athletes.
The other night I had a conversation with one of my throwers about some goals he has for the upcoming outdoor season. During practice he asked about our outdoor school records. Our current hammer school record is just under 49m. The discus record is 44m. The shot put record is over 16m. The interesting thing about this conversation was that he said that his goal for his senior year was to break the hammer record. That kind of caught me off guard a bit because as a high-school senior he was a 70’ weight thrower and close to 200’ with the 12# hammer. He also asked about the weight throw record. Our current record is 17.16m. All of our current school records are well within reach of being broken at some time by the current group of athletes on our team.
On my way home from this practice I called a former thrower I had coached and shared the conversation with him. He, like myself, thinks that our athletes are selling themselves short of what they may be capable of accomplishing. This athlete also shared that me as their coach shouldn’t share unrealistic expectations with them, especially if I don’t really think they are capable of breaking the records. In my honest opinion, four years to 50m seems fairly likely. I believe there is a good chance that all the throwing records will be broken by this current group of throwers on the team. Maybe this year, but certainly within the next four years.
The following day I texted this particular thrower about the practice session from the previous day, what I thought, and what he would like to focus on. His technique is very good. His high school coach taught him very well. I shared with him that the hammer record is a realistic stretch goal for the season. I didn’t want to tell him outright that I know for certain that he will break the record, but that if he continues training the way that he has that he will give himself a good opportunity to do so. Now, a lot of factors will play a role into how this outdoor season plays out.
First, will we even have an outdoor season? As of right now, all indicators point in the right direction. We have a tentative outdoor season planned out. Four meets in April. Our conference championship in May. NCAA Division III outdoor nationals are scheduled for the end of May.
Second, the action plan this specific athlete and I put together should put him in a great position to have an exciting outdoor season. He was close to 50’ with the shot indoors, and his discus personal best from his junior year is in the 160’s.
Third, individual accountability will play a huge role in his success. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m only with the kids for a couple of hours a week. A lot of their success or lack thereof will hinge on how they take care of themselves when they are not lifting in the weight room or at a throwing session with me.
Fourth, are there certain sacrifices he will be willing to make to accomplish his goal(s)? From what I heard, he enjoys sleeping in until around noon. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to do much in the morning.
Finally, and maybe the most important idea here is that he needs to be able to articulate why it is important to him to throw far and break records. The answer(s) to those last two questions will give an indication into the likelihood he has to accomplish all his goals.
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Dr. Charles Infurna
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.