Who do you coach?
In addition to working with Tom Walsh, I also coach a young javelin thrower, Hayden Hall. He’s just switched to javelin after being focused on discus, which is a unique and exciting challenge.
Where does your group train?
We have a nice High Performance facility in Christchurch, New Zealand. It has everything we need and plenty of character to make it an enjoyable place to train. We’ve just (today!) had our new shot put ring laid adjacent to the gym.
What is the core of your off-season training goals, philosophy?
Tom has had great coaches through his development, particularly Ian Baird who is still overseeing our throws training. As a result, Tom has learned a good understanding of how to put force into the ball.
Our guiding principles for the off-season have been;
1. Continuity of throwing (i.e. not getting too far away from what works for Tom.)
2. Increasing Tom’s horsepower. Giving him more top-end capacity.
Do your athletes throw in the off-season?
Yes. Regularly. Right now we focus on rhythm & efficiency.
What weight lifting exercises do you focus on?
We don’t focus on exercises, per se. Rather, we start with the approach of what’s needed to achieve the identified goals, then work through the structure of our training phases, and then plug the exercises in accordingly.
Does that change during the competitive-season?
Yes, to a degree.
Are you going to try anything new this off-season?
Tom’s had a bit of a modification in his support team (myself included), so that will bring some inevitable changes. However, his development across the 2014 season doesn’t necessitate any big divergence from the blueprint.
The only other difference will be that Tom’s made the decision to cut down on his work commitments [construction worker] to facilitate better training.
Are you using any new equipment?
We’re training with some overweight shots at the moment. Other than that, nothing revolutionary.
Is there anything you would like to do but cannot?
Since the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch hasn’t had a proper Athletics track. There are places and ways to train here and it doesn’t impact on us too much for shot put, but there is a void of other elite athletes for training partners etc.
Do you take your group to warm weather training?
Christchurch! One of the many benefits of being based in New Zealand.
When do you plan to compete again?
There are a few domestic meets at the end of February. This will be Tom’s first proper hit-out for 2015.
How is Walsh’s fitness? How does he relax these days?
Tom spent a week up in Auckland/Raglan with his partner and some mates over the New Year period.
Working as a builder (three days per week) keeps Tom reasonably grounded, both mentally and physically. Whilst it presents some challenges for his physical state, we’re closer to finding the best balance for him.
Tom is also vigilant with his own self-management, recovery and treatment praxis; lead by Angus Ross and Vanessa Trent. Health is a very high priority for us.
What do you do to stay fit?
I like to play golf. I’ve always loved the game but didn’t get much of a chance to play seriously whilst I was competing in Athletics.
Carrying a golf bag for 18 holes is a different type of fitness to throwing shot, but there are many parallels; timing, rhythm, patience and efficiency. Having four hours of peace and fresh air is a beautiful thing too.
What are your goals for 2015 and 2016?