How to be good, when it counts

  • Hi, I'm a masters thrower and have never been a professional athlete. All the same athletics is a big part of my life and I'm enjoying throwing very much. Still there is one thing that is giving me problems quite often and that's a big lack of mental strength when it comes to important competitions. My thoughts go crazy, my legs get weak and I just can't manage to keep cool. Our world championships will take place in two weeks and thanks to my coach Lutz Caspers (former world class hammer thrower), who is always very patient with me, my training is going very well. But how can I be good when it counts? I would be very thankful for some advice. What are your experiences and strategies?

  • Hey Kristina, that's an interesting topic. While checking who really peaks at comps when it counts one should probably ask the coach of David Storl. I know this is not really helping since youre going to the WC in two weeks but maybe some others have some advice.

  • Right, David Storl is one of the kind who always peaks at the right moment.

    I believe I've read that #Storl 's coach is Lang something

    His coach is Sven Lang, who also coaches Christina Schwanitz. The training plan Sven Lang developed seems to work pretty well. But it is probably not only the training plan.
    There were some interviews with Christina about her change in consistency. Before she switched coaches to Sven Lang she was not really consistens. Now she is talking to a psychiatrist to be able to focus on major comps. Obviously we do not really know what they are talking about but it seems to help her besides the new training plan to stay focused majory comps.

  • What kind of event are you in @Kristina Telge ?
    It doesnt rlly matter but im just curios.

    Strategies? mhh I think do not focus on every single part of the technique during your throws. The thing is you have to repeat the throws thousands of times in order to get a good feeling for it. You only have three and sometims if youre lucky 6 attempts. Its different from training and it means that one cannot think of every aspect of the throw.

  • Its different from training and it means that one cannot think of every aspect of the throw.

    That's a good point ThrowerFanatic. That is exactly what [articledefinition=1]Jürgen Schult[/articledefinition] told us as well. During comps you might wanna focus on 1-2 technical aspects and the rest is to stay focus . As one could have read in the interview with David Storl one would have seen that after the second round he wanted too much and got really tight. So he couldnt improve any further.

    Focus only on 1-2 aspects, do not try to check the other athletes, focus on yourself.

  • Thanks for this post! I have been asking myself the same questions and found the following answers so far:

    - In the long run, meditation can help. It has to be done with the same consistency as the training though.
    - Where does your train of thought go when your thoughts go crazy? It can be worthwhile to examine it in a quiet moment outside of the competition to find out from which kind of fear they stem. Once you know the fear, you can devise a remedy.
    - Try to bring 80%, the adrenaline will take care of the other 30% ;-)
    - Remember all the good hard work you did during your training, trust your body, it knows what it has to do.
    This is why I love to watch Mr. Storl throw - he very often seems to smile when he gets ready to throw, like he knows exactly what he's doing and that it will go well.
    - Bring a friend who believes in you and/or a good luck charm :-)

    Oh, and I can recommend the book "Die Kunst der Höchstleistung" by Alois Kogler, it has some really useful advice regarding mental training techniques.

  • Thanks everybody for the nice response. @ThrowerFanatic, hammer is my favourite and I like doing shot put as well. If I have the chance, I do weight throw, too, and in summer I love the pentathlon. But I mainly focus on hammer and shot put training.
    @Melanie, I have never experienced meditation, maybe I should give it a try. It will take me a while until I can throw as automatically as tying my shoe, but I'll try and get there :-)
    Focussing on only one or two technical aspects is important, I know that, but my mind is alway playing tricks with me. Gotta work on that.
    As far as I know, Christina Schwanitz improved so much because she learned to have fun while competing. I guess, that's what it's all about. I watched Ryan Whiting's face during the competition in Sopot. He smiled alot and looked quite relaxed.
    So my new motto will be: Don't worry, throw happy! :-D

  • One thing that always helps is confidence. Confidence on meet day that is bordering on arrogance. It sounds bad but it helps when the first two throw go out of bounds and ya need a big throw to make finals on #3. The confidence will help tons when stepping into the ring on that last throw.

    Also simulate meets in practice. Have some kind of reward/pressure to make the big throw. Have all of practice stop to watch for the last throw of practice. Learn how to USE that nervousness and hype.

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