Hey Forza Faithful!!! How the hell have you been?! Fighting the good fight, letting your arrows fly true, walking with the sun on your back, other cliches? Awesome! Guess what followers? Its the time of year to let the inspirational quotes that mildly reflect what you train for apply to you. Time to hit the meat of the highland games season here in the Northeast!!!
Coming up this weekend, one of my favorite Highland Games, the Finger Lakes Celtic Festival. The guy who runs this one Ben Beavers does a hell of a job considering he puts it on his backyard and on his own dime! Out in Farmington, NY just a short jaunt from the ROC (that's Rochester, NY for you people not cool enough to know, and obviously this guy knows cool)
I've always thrown well at this games, good time of year, only 1.5 hours away, good equipment, and I love Rochester, and they love me. That's where I went to college, had my first job, apartment etc. If you've never visited you should check it out, its a cool ass city.
See I've been in the Democrat and Chronicle... so you could say things are getting serious....
Anyway I'm in mid-season training and just about to mid-season form. Practices are going really well, hitting good numbers there, hopefully soon they will start transferring to games where the marks count. I've cut my lifting back to 2-3 days a week, and increased practice to 3-4 times a week. This balance is seeming to work for me so far. Trying to take some of the advice i gathered from my previous article, cutting back on lifts during the season. Being precise with them, getting the work in with them early in the week and having a few days to fully recover come game Saturdays!!!
One thing I've decided to bring back into the fold for me is #MockMeetFridays. Back in my Brockport days, on weeks where we had a meet. Fridays were always reserved for this mock competition. You warm up as if you're going to throw in competition, take the same number of throws you take in comp, and put it all away. That's practice, good or bad that's your practice. I like it, gets me into the right mindset, I move a little bit before the comp, and you aren't burning yourself out with a ton a throws less than 24 hours before a games. Obviously the highland games isn't track and field. You might only take 3 throws at a track meet, at a games your comp throws could be in the 30's or 40's with 9 events, two of them for height, and depending on number of cabers. So you aren't taking comp throws in all the events...but I like to take 1 event type do the heavy and the light and call it a day.
For example, today 5/19 I went to the practice field warmed up for the hammers, just as I would for a comp. Took 4 heavy hammer throws, and 4 light hammer throws... put it all back in the car and came home. I feel good about tomorrow, moved a little bit, got in the right mindset, and tomorrow its time to light that field up with bombs like test area out in Nevada!!!
Operation: Cattle Prod
So after having several conversations with competitors and fellow gym goers, and by conversation I mean they yell at me "how do you throw so far/ lift so much with such little calves". Most of us know that calves are mostly genetic, which a bitter truth that most of us with small calves have had to face. That no matter how much you lift/ train them they are still gonna be small. They might get a little bigger and way more toned...but every that reads this page has seen someone with giant calves that can't do a damn thing, and guys with little calves that blow your mind how they can do so much with such lil baby calves.
So after having a good talk with my gym owner, Emily Water, I came up with this experiment called Operation: Cattle Prod. 1... before any of you internet scientists get on me for it not being a real experiment, I'm fully aware of the holes in this from beginning. No real control group other than my previous lifts and throws, and 1 guy does not make a reasonable sample size. And there is no real way to monitor the progress I make and claim that it was increased calf strength was the cause. I'm going to lay out the pieces of this test, and hope that there is a marginal increase in explosive lifts and my throws. And if there is a marginal increase, i'll turn this over to someone with the resources to make this a real experiment. Hopefully there is a reasonable hypothesis after this.
So I'll be sharing the progress on here. I'll share my spreadsheet on here in a few days. My thoughts on this are I have nothing to lose. In my mind either I'll get a little better or nothing will happen other than some more toned calves. Im starting out from the base number of 15.75" inches on left and right calves. Don't bother measuring that...its small lol.
So keep in touch Forza Faithful. Check out Dr. Charles' blog and thank you for reading. Leave comments and calf sizes below if you want to make me feel bad about myself. Follow on twitter and the grams @MattHandThrows
Former Track and Field athlete and coach turned Highland Games Athlete. Follow along for advice mostly through trial and error, and maybe a few laughs along the way. My mom says i'm funny and handsome, and obviously she's right. LOL