I’ve had the pleasure of coaching at two Division III programs over the course of my coaching career. I started my career as a graduate assistant at SUNY Fredonia in 2004. I was coaching my former teammates, and at times things got a little strange during the season. As far as throwing outcomes go, it was a very successful season. One female thrower won 5 conference championships between the indoor and outdoor seasons. She broke our school records in the 20lb. weight, discus, and hammer. Jen also qualified for and threw at DIII Outdoor Nationals.
My first year at Nazareth was the 2012-2013 season. In that year our men’s throwers broke the indoor 35lb. weight and shot-put records, as well as the shot-put, discus, and hammer records during the outdoor campaign. Our lone female thrower broke the hammer record. Since it was my first time coaching in a few years, I wanted to focus more on developing positive coach-athlete relationships, rather than focus on breaking records and throwing far. Yes, throwing far is one of the main objectives of throwing, but there are many ways to get your athletes to throw far. Raw talent is great, but having a belief that you can achieve your goals with a little bit of talent also goes a long way.
In a couple of weeks, I begin a new chapter in my coaching journey. I’ll be joining my good friend Tim on his staff as the throwing coach at Alfred State. I’m a Pioneer!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been in contact with some of the throwers that are currently on the team. We’ve discussed class schedules and practices schedules. Tim and I have discussed what this coaching endeavor is going to look like, but we haven’t laid out all the specifics yet. I’ve been thinking about a few things in the hopes of making a positive and meaningful first impression on my new group of throwers.
As coaches, I think deep down we have a laundry list of things we would like to share with our athletes during that first introduction. I didn’t really have an introduction at Fredonia because I was coaching my former teammates. It was a little better at Nazareth, but in the first week I lost an athlete for the fall semester because they weren’t registered for enough credit hours.
Not everything is going to go perfect or as planned. And that is ok. My list of topics that I want to discuss with my athletes during our first meeting includes:
In the past, I’ve asked me athletes to write down their answers. Then before the season gets going into high gear I have individual meetings with everyone to discuss their responses to the question. As an educator and coach, I believe this is the most important series of questions to ask early on in the season for a few reasons. First, it helps reinforce or re-evaluate their expectations about themselves and myself. Second, I’m able to ask questions about their specific expectations and get a sense of the athlete’s work ethic and set of guiding values. Third, the conversation helps increase the athlete’s sense of autonomy because they are essentially in the driver’s seat of the conversation and the development of the roadmap. Finally, we have something written down that will hold both the athlete and myself as a coach accountable. It will be my job to safely and ultimately successfully guide my athlete along an illuminated path towards accomplishing their goals.
I’m looking forward to meeting my new group of throwers. Excitement is not quite the word to describe how I’m feeling right now. Anticipation and eagerness might fit more appropriately.
Every now and again I’ll get contacted by either a high school or post-collegiate athlete interested in my coaching support. This usually comes in the form of a direct message from either Twitter or Instagram, with the occasional text message. And most of the time the message looks like this:
Hi Coach Infurna. I know you have coached (insert thrower name here) and (insert thrower name here) in the past. I want to earn a scholarship to throw in college or qualify for USATF nationals. What do you think?
Now, I’m being a little dramatic here, but really the tone is that they (the thrower) want to throw far. That is a given and obvious. They also have the initiative to contact me or other coaches for that matter in the hopes of throwing in college or at the post-collegiate level. In my opinion, 99% of these athletes have their heart in the right place, but fail to follow up when the rubber meets the road.
It isn’t their lack of initiative at practice. Just by showing up they put themselves in a much better position to succeed. They usually have a strong work-ethic and are goal-oriented because they have a end point in mind. This lasts for a couple of weeks. When they don’t see huge gains (or any gains at all) from let’s say from week 4 to week 5, they often get frustrated and lose interest.
As coaches we can't wave a magic wand and instantly produce 60m hammer throwers and 20m weight throwers at the high school level. I have been fortunate enough to coach both male and female throwers over these “magical” marks at the high school level. It takes more than 5 to 10 weeks to produce the types of results some are seeking. Let me give you an example.
Yesterday I got a message from Will Gross. He is a New York State high school weight throw champion and one of 7 men to throw the weight over 70’ and the shot-put over 50’ in the same season. Will did it in the same meet.
He messaged me by asking me if I remembered what our first goal session meeting was about a couple of years ago. I had to pull out my coaching journal for the specifics. Before I was able to do that, he sent me the numbers he wished to hit. Before he left for Akron, we accomplished all but 1 of his goals. He wanted to throw the 16# over 60m before he stepped on campus. We got really close during the summer of 2019, but didn’t quite make it. I knew he was disappointed, but the fact that he threw over 58m as a true freshman told me that he was going to have a bright future ahead of him.
Well, he must have thrown over 60m a dozen times this past summer while training at home. The number he sent me yesterday made my stomach drop. I believe Will is going to have a very successful collegiate (and if he wants, post-collegiate) throwing career. Will was one of those athletes that reached out to me. Besides traveling to Rochester from Buffalo every Sunday to throw, Will put in mental work as well. I provided him with additional “assignments” to work at home that would help him become a more well-rounded thrower. There were times during our training sessions that Will became very frustrated. Frustrated both at me and himself for not being able to do what the focus of that training session was. But Will, unlike most of the others, kept coming back. Together we would address his weaknesses in the circle, as well as weaknesses between the ears.
The 2020-21 season may be a non-traditional one, but I suspect that Will has the opportunity to be one of a few freshmen throwers capable in capturing the MAC hammer championship next May, with a chance at throwing at nationals in June.
For most of us, the 2020-21 season may be a non-traditional one. We may only have a couple of indoor meets followed up by a couple of outdoor meets. We may be practicing double that of previous years. We may only compete in 5-10 total meets, which gives us fewer opportunities to accomplish our goals. Yet you will still have the chance to do so.
You may be asking yourself how you might be able to accomplish your goals with a modified/non-traditional season. Answering the questions below will better prepare you for the upcoming 2020-21 season!
2. Understand that you might need to make some sacrifices along the way
This is a screen shot of what one of my post-collegiate athletes and I discussed the other day. This thrower has added 15m to their hammer throw since they graduated from college. It doesn't come easy. Growth and development takes time.
I’m going to sound a bit redundant right now, but last year I began my recap by suggesting it would be difficult to top the previous season. I stand corrected. After this past season it might really be a challenge.
We began the season with two Forza Athletics high-school throwers. Two that went onto have very special seasons, and that joined very exclusive clubs along the way. On the men’s side, I’d like to talk about William Gross. William was a standout senior at St. Joe’s, located in Buffalo, NY. He began the season with a personal best of 59’ in the 25lb. weight throw and 45’ in the shot-put. We started working together at right around this time last summer. I knew from our first practice that William was a very talented thrower. He is a stickler for detail, asks a lot of questions, and is one of the most determined athletes I’ve ever coached.
From our early conversations, William was fueled by his performance at the previous year’s New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships. William narrowly missed qualifying for the finals of the State championship in the 25lb. weight throw. At the time, that probably wasn’t the outcome he wanted, however if he would have made the finals last year I don’t believe he would have had the season he did this year. William opened with a personal best throw of 66’ in the weight throw in December! In a couple of months William added 7’ to his personal best throw. I knew it would be difficult to maintain that momentum throughout the course of the whole season, but William proved me wrong.
William, I believe is the most consistent thrower I’ve ever coached. He was always within a foot or two of his personal best this season. He won more meets than he lost, but threw farthest when it mattered most. He unleashed a monster throw at the 2019 Indoor State Championships, securing the victory with a throw just over 70’. In the span of 12 months William added 11’ to his personal best in the weight throw. His winning throw broke the Section VI record for the men’s 25lb. weight throw. To top it off, William also threw the shot-put over 50’ at the same meet. This very rare accomplishment has only been completed by 6 throwers before him. William became the 7th male New York State thrower to throw the 25lb. weight over 70’ and the shot-put over 50’ in the same season. He accomplished this feat in the same meet!
Last year, Forza Athletics senior thrower Drew Palermo accomplished the feat as well, throwing the weight over 70’ and the shot-put over 50’ in the same season. Two Forza Athletics throwers have accomplished the very rare 70/50 double. William is taking his talents to Akron University, where he will be majoring in Engineering and will be a member of the Akron Zips men’s track and field team. Congratulations William and best wishes to you on all your future endeavors!
On the women’s side, junior thrower Monique Hardy returned for her third season as a Forza Athletics thrower. Monique completed one of the most historic seasons in New York State throwing history. Monique won the Monroe County, Section V, and Section V state qualifying meets by very large margins. As the top ranked thrower in the nation, Monique entered the New York State championships as the top ranked female weight throw. Similar to her previous championship meet outcomes, Monique comfortably won the New York State 20lb. weight throw championship. At the New Balance Indoor National Championship meet the following weekend, Monique moved up to #6 all-time in the women’s 20lb. weight throw, throwing 64’7”. Her throw won her the New Balance National Championship in the 20lb. weight throw! Monique finished the season as the #1 ranked thrower in the United States, while also breaking the New York State junior class record in the process. Monique is just under 1’ away from breaking the New York State 20lb. weight throw record. She also narrowly missed breaking the national junior class record in the 20lb. weight throw. Next year Monique has the opportunity to become the first female high-school thrower to throw the 20lb. weight over 70’. There is not much more I can say about Monique’s indoor season. Much like last year, it was one for the record books!
On the post-collegiate side, Luis Rivera maintained his status as one of the best 35lb. weight throwers in the country. Luis increased his average in the weight by almost a full meter compared to the previous season. Again, Luis qualified for the USATF Indoor National Championships in the 35lb. weight throw, but elected not to compete at the meet this year. With his focus on qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the men’s hammer throw, Luis primarily threw the weight this season as a training tool for the hammer.
Outdoors, Luis set another personal best in the hammer throw, throwing over 65m on multiple occasions. Similar to the weight throw, Luis increased his season average in the hammer by about a meter and a half. He set a new personal best by over 2 meters, but the increase in average tells me that he is going to have a huge 2020 season in which I believe he will be one of the elite men’s hammer throwers competing in the 2020 Olympic Trials!
It has been awhile since I wrote a blog post here, and I couldn’t think of a better way to get back to sharing than by posting about something that has received a lot of feedback over the course of the past couple of years—the collegiate recruiting process.
The last time I wrote something about this topic was about two years ago. You can go back and read more about what I wrote by clicking <HERE>, <HERE> and <HERE>. I also recorded a couple of podcast episodes about the subject. You can listen by clicking <HERE>. I think this is an important topic that warrants another post with what I believe to be insightful information for high-school athletes interested in competing at the collegiate level. Some of what I will be sharing has been discussed before. I want to give a little more insight into what I’ve shared in the past, but also include more general information for athletes if they might be on the fence about competing at the collegiate level.
Let’s dig into five more things to consider during the recruiting process.
1. The Social Environment on Campus
In all honesty, this is probably the most important of the five. I didn’t rank order these, but the high-school athlete that is on the fence about competing in college, this is probably the most important. The reason why is because you may wake up one morning and find yourself thinking that you are not interested in playing (insert sport here) any longer. It isn’t something that most high-school athletes think about, at least I don’t believe so, because you never know when the passion for competition will burn out. Then, you wake up one morning a thousand miles away from home and think to yourself, “Oh boy, I’m away from home, homesick, and the only reason why I came here was to play (insert sport here)”. When making the decision to pick a college or university, think about the social environment on campus. How do you feel walking around campus? Are other students friendly? What kind of vides are you picking up when you visit? If you aren’t picking up good ones, that may be a sign that this place isn’t right for you.
2. Academic Environment
This should probably be the first item to think about, but I’ll explain why I put it second. Not every major Division I college or university has 300 academic majors for you to select from. Similarly, what you want to spend the rest of your life doing may only be offered at a dozen or so colleges. For example, one of the high-school athletes I had the pleasure of coaching this season was offered a scholarship to throw at the collegiate level. Fortunately for him, the college he was interested in had the specific Engineering major he wanted to enroll in. Actually, only about 25 colleges in the United States had the major he wanted. His choice was narrowed down a bit because of that. Not that the school he picked doesn’t check the other four boxes here, but it is because he knows that his major is more important to him than the location of the college, financial aid, and the list of 50 other things that assisted him in making the decision.
Now, if you want to become a high-school social studies teacher, then you pretty much have the pick of any college you want to attend. Division III all the way up to Division I, NAIA, and all points in-between. Most colleges and universities have a School of Education. Narrowing your search from there may be taxing, but there are ways to figure out what the environment is like. I encourage athletes to think about the post-Bachelor’s degree opportunities. Does this college offer a graduate program in what I’m interested in? Are there opportunities for internships along the way? How will my certification be affected if I don’t decide to live in the state I graduate from? Are there academic clubs that I can join? What was it like speaking with some professors on campus? How did they make me feel?
Questions like this might not be at the forefront of a 17 or 18-year old’s mind, but four years of college goes by pretty quickly, and depending on your undergraduate major, you’ll be required to earn a graduate degree, especially if you want to become a teacher in New York State.
3. Financial Cost
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Division I and Division II colleges are able to offer athletic scholarship aid. Not all Division I and Division II school’s offer the same amount, but I’m pretty sure if a school wants you bad enough, they’ll offer some type of athletic and academic package.
We are not able to offer athletic scholarships at the Division III level. We offer academic scholarships, but unfortunately you will not receive more aid if you are able to throw a discus 200’. If you throw that far, I’m 100% confident you’ll get a call from a Division I or II coach. Every year I’m asked by a recruit that if they play more than one sport on campus would they be eligible to receive more aid. The answer is unfortunately no. But, if you raise your SAT, ACT, or GPA a few points you may qualify for more financial aid. Throwing a discus or shot-put far in this case will not result in you receiving more aid.
4. What is the Track Program Like—Are you Competing Up or Down = Commitment
This is a difficult one to write about, but I’ll try my best. As a high-school thrower, are you more interested in winning, earning scholarship money, or both? The reason why I say that is because you could be the #1 ranked javelin thrower in the country as a high-school senior and unsure of where you want to compete. You could be a big fish in a small pond and compete at the Division III level. You may make the decision to compete down, not have to work as hard as you might at a Division I or II school, and give yourself the chance to win 4 Outdoor National Championships in the javelin. Your high-school personal best may be 25’ better than the previous year’s National Champion. You may not need to commit as much to throwing if you decide to compete down to the Division III level. The same could be said about the Division II level. It depends on your main throwing event.
Now, if you are the top ranked high-school shot-putter in the country and want to attend a Division I school, you may come in within the top 20 or 30 or 40 returning throwers in the country. You may be a little fish in a big pond, but that may be what you aspire to do. Your commitment level (time spent training for your event(s)) will probably be much higher than at the Division III level, and there may be no guarantee of ever earning an All-American award of even competing at a National Championship meet. Financially, you may need to compete at the Division I or II level because the cost of college is too much at the Division III level without the athletic scholarship portion of the package.
If you want to get a research-based perspective of the big fish in a little pond scenario or rather the little fish in a big pond, I encourage you to read the book David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell. You can purchase a copy of the book by clicking here.
5. Mentor My Dream
My thoughts on this topic may upset some people, and that is ok. This narrative is simply a way to share some ideas about the recruiting process and what it entails. But what may often be overlooked by the high-school athlete is whether the current coach and coaching staff is able to mentor their dream.
This may be the simplest idea to think about. When on a recruiting trip, do I (the athlete) believe the person(s) sitting across from me will be able to mentor my dream of; throwing farther, winning a national championship, qualifying for nationals, qualifying for the Olympic Trials, qualifying for the conference meet, etc. The questions may seem obvious to some, but not as obvious to me. From my perspective, I’d want to know other things besides will you help me throw farther. And not throw farther by 5’ in the hammer. Depending on your outlook that I’ll try to explain below, 5’ in the hammer could be a lot or not far at all.
I don’t know for sure, but I’m sure the top ranked high-school throwers in the country have their pick of which college they want to attend. If that is the case, and they have a list of five colleges that check off all the boxes before this one, this specific thrower has one last decision to make.
Some other topics that may come into play are previous athlete successes, longevity of stay at this particular college, and the number of other throwers on the current team. I hate to mention previous athlete successes, but it is worth mentioning because if I am a 200’ male high-school discus thrower, and my goal is to throw over 200’ in college, I would want to know how many other collegiate throwers my potential coach has worked with in their career that they got to throw over that distance. I understand the list is relatively short, but if the coach you are sitting across from has authored that list on a few occasions, you may be in the right place.
The same could be said with the hammer throw. If I’m a 58m female hammer thrower with a goal of throwing over 68m in college, I’d like to know how many 65m throwers my potential coach has worked with. It’s not that you as the athlete can’t be the first for the coach, but at the Division I level it may be trickier than the Division III level. I’d like to know where other athletes entered college distance wise, and how much farther did they throw after four or five years. It may be more difficult to gauge for a male thrower, but the implements remain the same weight for female throwers.
Another example we can look at is Luis Rivera. In 2016, as a senior, Luis became the first collegiate thrower I’ve coached to throw over 20m in the Weight Throw. He may not be the last, but I have yet to be asked how many athletes I’ve coached over certain distances in any throwing event by a recruit. Not to say it doesn’t ever happen at the Division III level, but the dream of some potential Division III throwers is to simply be on the team, have fun, and graduate on-time. If that is your dream, throwing at the Division I or II level may not be for you.
If you are still reading, thank you. What do you think I missed? Are there other important topics and ideas to think about when entrenched in the collegiate recruiting process? Again, I write specific to throwing because that is what I know best. From what I understand, the recruiting process for other sports looks quite different. There may be some areas that overlap, but if you are the top ranked high-school quarterback in the country, you may be thinking about other factors besides the one’s I listed above. Then again, maybe not.
As always, thanks for reading ~ Charles
Our 2nd Forza Athletics season actually began with the conclusion of Luis’ senior season at Nazareth College. It was at this time that Luis was nominated for the James D. Ulrich USATF Niagara Division III Thrower of the Year. Luis had a very special senior season. He won all 10 of his indoor meets, broke the Empire 8 and NYSCTFC Conference Weight Throw records, was awarded Atlantic Region Male Field Athlete of the Year, and won the 2016 Division III Weight Throw National Championship with a throw of 20.45m. That throw ranks Luis 6th all-time among Division III throwers. He also won Empire 8 and NYSCTFC titles in the Hammer throw, to go along with his 3rd place finish at the 2016 Outdoor National Championships.
It was a very special moment for me for a couple of reasons. First, it was the first time one of my athletes had been nominated for and received a prestigious post-collegiate award. Second, Luis invited me to attend the awards ceremony with him. The second reason may sound funny, but athletes were only given one ticket for a guest to attend the ceremony-and Luis picked me!
Luis made the move to Buffalo during the summer. That made training together a little bit more difficult for us, but it provided him a great opportunity to work with our high school athletes a couple of times a week when he was on campus for class. Our indoor season consisted of working with the following athletes on a consistent basis; Monique Hardy and Andrew Palermo. Monique just completed her sophomore year at Webster Thomas High School. Andrew will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall.
You are able to view some throws from their training sessions on Luis’ Instagram and Twitter account’s @luis4real. Monique and Andrew had fantastic indoor track & field season’s! Both athletes broke the Section V record in the 20# and 25# weight throws. Monique threw 56’1” at the Section V State Qualifier Meet. Monique won her County and Sectional meets as well, capping off her season with a New York State Championship in the 20# weight throw. Monique finished 4th at the New Balance Indoor National Championships. She also broke the New York State sophomore class record. Her throw of 56’1” ranked Monique #4 in the country and #1 sophomore.
Andrew threw 70’ at the New Balance Indoor National Championships, placing him 4th! He also won his Sectional and State Qualifier meet, finishing 3rd at the New York State Championships. Andrew is only the fourth male thrower in New York State to throw the shot-put 50’ and the 25# weight 70’. Not to be outdone with his prolific weight throw marks, Andrew also won the shot-put at his sectional meet.
Additionally, two new high school athletes trained with the Forza Athletics family this season. Bailey Robinson and Lindsay Johnson. Both seniors achieved personal best throws in the 25# this season, with Lindsay finishing 3rd at the Section V state qualifier meet with a throw of 44'6", earning the opportunity to compete at the Indoor State Championships. Bailey broke the Wayne-Finger Lakes Class D 20# weight throw record with a throw of 42’.
Luis built upon the indoor success he had last season by again throwing at the 2018 USATF Indoor National Championships. Luis placed 7th this year, capping off a season in which he fulfilled graduate school courses and acted as recruiting coordinator for our collegiate program. Qualifying for and making the finals of the USATF Indoor National Championships while maintaining an internship, full-time course work, and a graduate assistant position made for a remarkable indoor season.
Our outdoor focus began when the majority of the high school season was completed. Luis and I began working with Monique after her dual-meet season was completed. Our initial focus was to develop rhythm and establish technique in the hammer after having not thrown the weight/hammer in 3 months.
Monique opened her outdoor campaign with the New Balance Outdoor National Championships. She did not disappoint, finishing 2nd with a throw of 56.12m, just 10cm away from the National Champion. Her throw broke the New York State sophomore class record, as well as placing her #4 all-time in New York State. She continued to build upon her season by winning the USATF Junior Olympic Regional Qualifying meet by throwing 53.05m (new meet record). Monique recently completed her outdoor season by winning the 2017-18 USATF Junior Olympic 17-18 yr. old Hammer competition in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her throw placed Monique as the #1 sophomore in the country, #4 overall in the hammer.
Reflecting back on this season, I count my blessings every day I have the opportunity to coach young athletes that are focused on becoming more efficient and confident throwers. We want our throwers to grow and develop into better people as well, by interweaving “life” conversations during practice. The goal of some of our throwers is to one day compete at the Division I or Division II level. Besides assisting them with what the decision may come down to (distance thrown), we guide our athletes in many other ways.
We take time during practice to discuss some of the many factors that may play a role in that decision, such as; grades, SAT/ACT scores, intended major, distance from home, visits, how well they may get along with the current throwers on the team, how well they may get along with the current coach, and financial aid just to name a few. Many other factors may play a role in the decision, which is why we openly discuss these topics with our athletes.
If you are a local athlete, and are interested in joining our throwing family, please contact me or Luis. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about joining our club team, when we practice, where we practice, and our summer competition schedule. Or better yet, you can contact the throwers we have previously or currently coach. They would be able to answer your questions as well.
As always, thanks for reading ~ Charles
It is difficult to gauge how an athlete will respond to extended season, especially an extended high school season. In New York, the high school season typically ends around the first week of June with the state championships. The weekend after that the New Balance High School Nationals are held. Then, if an athlete qualifies, the Junior Olympics are held the third week of July. For some, the season begins in late October.
How an athlete embraces the extended season makes a significant difference in the success that athlete has. The dedication and determination to continue throwing well into the summer is something to be admired. The mystery of success makes the process all the more enjoyable.
And for Monique Hardy, the process was well worth embracing and extremely satisfying. You see, Monique just completed her sophomore season at Webster Thomas High School by winning the 17-18 year old age group Hammer competition at the 2017-18 USATF Junior Olympics on Monday. Her winning throw of 51.95m came in round 6, locking up her first National Championship.
Monique completes her sophomore season ranked:
National #4 in the 20# weight (#1 sophomore) – 56’3”
National #4 in the hammer (#1 sophomore) – 184’
While breaking these records:
New York State Sophomore Weight Throw – 56’3”
New York State Sophomore Hammer Throw – 184’
Monroe County, Section V, and New York State Championship in the 20# Weight Throw
Monroe County and Section V Championships in the Shot-Put and Discus
17-18 division at the 2017-18 USATF Junior Olympics (National Champion) – Hammer
High School All-American in the 20# Weight Throw (4th place finish at NBN)
High School All-American in the Hammer Throw (2nd place finish at NBN)
I would like to tell you about the last couple of weeks of training with Ms. Monique Hardy. Monique is a sophomore at Webster Thomas High School. She started throwing the weight and hammer last year. It would be an understatement to say that Monique has taken quite nicely to throwing the weight and hammer. I don’t believe it is that far-fetched to say that Monique is one of the most talented high school throwers in the country. She finished fourth at the New Balance High School Indoor National Championships this past March in the 20# Weight Throw and holds a personal best of 56’3”. Yesterday, at the New Balance High School Outdoor National Championships she threw the hammer 56.15m and finished 2nd.
Last Sunday at a USATF sanctioned meet held at Roberts Wesleyan College, Monique threw a personal best of 49.86m. In seven days, she added about 25’ to that distance. One of the text messages I recently received from a coach asked, “How did you do that?” It is very simple, Monique did all the work.
For those of you that are still reading, this is how her last five practice sessions were structured:
Day 1: 6k x 10, 4k x 12
Day 2: 6k x 6, 4k x 16
Day 3: 4k x 24
Day 4: 4k x 16, 3k x 8
Day 5: The day before the competition 4k x 5
We don’t mark every throw in practice. We know which throws are the good one’s based on what Monique tells me. The prettiest ones don’t always go the farthest. The poor mechanical throws go far sometimes too. The cues we gave Monique to focus on during the competition were; 1) increase speed on second wind, and 2) push hard into the first turn. Nothing very complicated or elaborate.
Monique is a very dedicated thrower. She is very engaged in practice. Rarely, if ever, does she check her phone or lose focus in what we are doing. At times, I can’t get my college athletes take two throws without looking at their phones. The secret lies in her work ethic. She watches throwing videos of herself and elite world class throwers. She is committed to getting the most out of every practice, even when we have some poor ones. I’m proud of the fact that I coach Monique. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to coach you.
Just when we thought we were through with snow storms in Western, NY, Mother Nature decided to throw us a curve ball on the eve of the 2018 Indoor New York State Track & Field Championships. Unfortunately, due to the weather, some athletes from across the state were either unable to make it the Ocean Breeze venue in time to compete, or in some cases a couple of Section's did not travel to the meet at all. For two Forza athletes, the weather was not able to deny them a chance to compete in the weight throw and shot-put competitions.
Not much more can be said about Drew Palermo and Monique Hardy. Competing at this indoor championship meet was a culmination of all the hard work, time, and effort they put in, beginning at the end of the 2017 outdoor season. A lot of throwers say they want to be great. They say they want to be champions. They say they want to win. However, most are not willing to do what it takes to win. They aren't willing to do what it takes to prepare their bodies and minds for the process it takes to accomplish the goal of being a champion.
Drew and Monique have 'it'. They have that look in their eyes that tells you they are willing to get an extra training session in, not skip their weightlifting sessions, and watch video to ensure they are doing everything they can to be champions. They don't need to tell people what they are doing. They show it. They show up everyday; focused, ready to learn, willing to ask questions, and knowing they are going to make mistakes.
Congratulations on a fantastic indoor state championship meet. Four events entered, four events medaled in.
Pictured below-Webster Thomas sophomore Monique Hardy (1st in weight throw/5th in shot-put) and Spencerport senior and Dartmouth bound Drew Palermo (3rd in weight throw/8th in shot-put).
Pictured below-Webster Thomas sophomore Monique Hardy-2018 New York State 20# Weight Throw Champion
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.