Compete Like A Beast

Today, I wanted to get you a quick strategy tip for competition.

A few tips back, I talked about prepping for meet…

…but it is also important to understand how to compete at the meet.

For most young throwers, setting up at meets is something they often do incorrectly.

Last week, at the invite I was at, one of my new throwers warmed-up, took her first 3 throws, and made the final. She then got in the ring and took an additional 3 warm-up throws between the prelims and finals.


Well, the other girls were doing it, but they shouldn’t have either.

If she had been in a flight prior to the last flight before finals, then warming up again would make more sense because she would have been cooled off and been waiting to throw for 30 minutes, or more.

However, in this case, her time between prelims and finals were close together and taking 2-3 throws between prelims and finals just isn’t what you want your throwers to do; not even a stand throw.

Now you might be asking yourself why I allowed it?

Unfortunately I didn’t catch it in time…

…. I had just walked away towards the boy discus to start working with my other throwers.

When I saw it, I told her, “You just got done throwing, you don’t need additional throws when you just got done throwing, plus you’ve been here for 7 hours.”

(that was more or less what was said)

As a rule,
I coach throwers to do turns, and air throws between prelims and finals.

I usually have my guys go into the ring with a towel and do an air throw, if the ring is open between prelims and finals, just to keep rhythm in check, but not to waste energy by taking throws that they need for competition…

Or worse, they leave their big throws in the warm-up!

At this meet, I saw plenty of kids taking 3-4-5 more throws between prelims and finals- BIG MISTAKE.

If you are a thrower, or coach, don’t let that mistake happen. You’re leaving results on the table.

You need all the energy you can for big throws in the comp.

My throwers always generally understand this, but I make it clear nonetheless.

Remember, practice what you are gonna do….

… 6 throws for the money.

Not 3 throws, 6 more warm up’s… then 3 more???

Do the math, that’s 12 throws…. You get 6 throws to hit it.

In between competition throws, throwers can sit if they like, do 30-60 second targeted foam rolling, but then they need to get ready.

4-5 throwers before they are up, go through their throw and work their rhythm.

We did this last week with Dante and Tyson.

(See my Instagram for their throws //IG: aretethrowsnation)

My advanced throwers never feel the need to take additional warm-ups. They should be conserving their energy for the comp, not leaving their best throws in the warm-up

Todays take away is this… during meet time:


1. Good pre comp warm-up

2. Plan to be ready in 4-5 throws or less.

3. In the shot: Usually 1-2 stand( Gotta get the hand warmed up)

4. Please no overhead throws.

  • For rotational throwers a wheel, then to fulls
  • For Gliders a Glide wheel, then to full glide.

5. No additional throws between prelims and finals.

Just do full throws movements


1. Good pre comp warm-up

2. Warm-ups 1 stand, 1 wheel, then to full. 4-5 throws

3. And if you know you are only getting 1 throw, make it a full throw. (Many of my guys in the past just did it that way, And that’s how I used to do it)

4. Just do full throws movements and walk throughs between comp throws Don’t sit around!

Seems simple, but I get this question a lot and cringe at virtually every meet I go to because I see kids warming up too much before the comp, and often again between prelims and finals.

Don’t waste your energy. Save that for when it matters.

Time to compete like a beast!


shot put and discus throw mental game

[VIDEO] “I Don’t Know Anything”

I am officially beat after coaching for 13 days straight without a day off.

After flying home from So Cal from completing my 20th year as Director of the Tony Ciarelli Olympian Throws Clinic, I got to enjoy a few movies on Sunday with the family.

Today wanted to send out a little mindset motivation.

For those of you that don’t know Tony Ciarelli, he is a USAW level 4 coach, Olympic throws coach, and has been my mentor and like a big brother for over 20 years.

It is because of this 20 yr relationship with Tony that I discovered that to become a great coach, you need to find some great mentors who are very knowledgable and experienced in the sport.

My goal with Arete Throws Nation and the TCR™ system is exactly like that….

… to become a mentor, a guide, and provide a fully comprehensive system to help fill a void in our sport and greatly increase the competition level…

… this is what Tony did for me, he provided great coaching and knowledge and it was up to me to apply it and push myself to max my potential.

At the wrap up of the clinic, Coach Ciarelli shared some great throws coaching knowledge with the clinic attendees…

…  I thought it was a great example of the mindset you need when learning how to coach AND to throw….  and I wanted to pass it on to you.

At the wrap up of the clinic, he said, “Always work with the beginners mind”

…. meaning, always approach everything fresh and always be open to learning.

He looked around at the athletes and followed that up with, “I don’t know anything”.

I have expressed this concept to you before; I am always learning, and always trying to get better….

… if you think you know everything, you stop learning, and therefore, you stop advancing your skill level, your knowledge, and you plateau.

Like I said, Coach Ciarelli has been my big bother and mentor for over 20 years. He has been one of my biggest influences that drives me to become a more knowledgeable and successful coach.

If I can have ATN and the TCR™ system have that kind of an impact on just few guys (coaches and throwers alike) the way he has on me, that will be a pretty great honor.

Always Work With The Beginners Mind!

Here are some words of wisdom from Coach Tony Ciarelli

New Tips coming tomorrow,

Coach “always learning” Johnson


Don’t forget, as a member of ATN, you’ll not only have access to next week’s live online workshop: Pillar Connection, you’ll have instant access to hours of confusion-free, real-world throws coach training. 

Everything you’ll ever need to become a successful throws coach/ thrower is at your fingertips.

Oh yeah.. because I’m obsessed with always giving you even more value, it’s updated EVERY WEEK with a new throws content. You’ll get the newest, freshest coaching advice and real time analysis thru our private Facebook group by submitting throws videos and questions.

Click HERE and see for yourself why thousands of throws coaches and throwers from around the world have stopped piecing together throws content they find on random YouTube channels…  and now count on the TCR™ system for all their online throws coaching advice, training and support.


throwing mechanics and distance

Mindset Monday: Focus on Throwing Mechanics and the Distance Will Follow

Whenever I do a throws camp,  I strive to teach the Process and the System of throwing to become a better athlete or throws coach…. We keep the groups smaller, so we can get in a ton of reps and throws.

The biggest take away is understanding that throwers and coaches need to train in a specific way that is exclusively for them.

… and the TCR system helps Coaches and their throwers understand what its takes to realize their throwing potential.

Most young throwers just want to throw, and try to throw far as far as they can each time ….

… but the throw is sequential and must be executed specifically.

The rules of physics in technique and the demand of explosive strength levels for the shot put & discus are crucial, so if a thrower doesn’t train correctly, they will never realize their true potential.


At Every camp, you will hear me say, “throwing the discus and shot put is totally unnatural, and the only way to make it feel natural is to train the correct sequence of movements; that means lots of reps and lots of drills”.

As I reflexed on this last throws camp of the year, I drew out 3 big lessons I want to share with you:


  1. The throw happens in 2 seconds, you can’t work on all 6 pillars in 2 seconds, therefore, break things down- this is the process of learning the throw
  2. The TCR™ show throwers and coaches how to better understand all the technique, imbalances, strengths and mindset that happening in those 2 seconds.
  3. The TCR takes you through the 6 pillars, spending a lot of time of Pillar 1&2… because if the TCR™ is done  incorrectly here, the throw is gonna sink like a rock.

These 3 items are the process of the TCR system, and why our member coaches and throwers are having such good results.

All of the Safford throwers that came to the camp have the ability to throw considerably farther, and some have the potential to be very good… but they have to work this process if they want to be the best!

Lesson #2: PATIENCE

As a coach, I just want to see 4 things

  • maintain a mindset of loving the grind while training
  • Do the work at 101%
  • Understand throwing is all about Reps, reps, reps.

Just focus on positions and don’t make the fatal error of obsessing about the distance.

Virtually all younger throwers are very, very impatient; I call it youngster syndrome.

Many of the kids will huff and puff if the discus or shot doesn’t go far after 1 or 2 drills.

This attitude is not gonna make them better.

One of my out-of-state Online members who lives by Seattle, Washington- Jackson- did this on Friday…

…. he was huffing and puffing on a drill that he didn’t get right after 1 throw!

I had to tell him to be patient, and after about 10 throws, he was already improving a lot.

Kids at the discus camp last Saturday did the same thing…

After 1 throw, they started getting frustrated… even when it was actually pretty solid.

Then, after 10 throws, were doing much better…

… after they all threw 10 whole throws,  I told them they only have 990 to go!

I made it clear, that what makes a great thrower is the ability to realize that you MUST put in the reps.

.. After a 100 throws…. it’s a totally different ball game. So be patient!

… because when you are not patient, the frustration will take over- Remember it’s the Performance Killer!!!

The TCR™ system works, but its not magic… you have to be patient and do the work in the system.



Listen, as a private coach, I must have kids throw far-  NO EXCEPTIONS.

Nobody pays a guy if he doesn’t produce… that is why I use my own system to the letter.

I understand that distance comes when the positions are right, so I’m concerned with distance when it matters most- closer to the season or during competition.

Sure a lot of studs compete in indoor meets back east, but most throwers that are still green and need the time to develop good patterns that will help their mechanics to throw far.

So at my camps I try to make sure the throwers know they have to only be concerned with the positions…

… When they do that, the distance automatically comes.

Bad positions equals short throw and young throwers need to realize this and fast!

The best kids are the ones who have a bad throw and take it for what it is… a missed the throw.

They reset their positions and then they try to hit the positions the next time.

The throwers that walk around and huff and puff, are just killing progress.

Yes, I’ll likely talk about this forever because it’s such an important part of becoming a better thrower, quickly, and it’s double important for coaches to recognize their role to explain this to throwers.

So, lesson 3 is:

  1. Focus on the current drill or throw, and its positions and rhythm…. Once it is over, it’s done… Coaches will then analyze, adjust it if necessary, and then move forward!
  2. All that matters is the correct mechanics, not the distance. When both the coach and the thrower make that switch, the big throws start to happen fast.
  3. Until I see a sector and meet officials, THEN it’s go time and we let it rip….  But until then, chill out!

What you do in the 8’2″ circle, or the 7′ circle is all that really matters. Do that right and everyone will be stoked with the results.

Coaches and throwers need to be laser focused on the Mechanics- Hit the Positions, and the distance will follow!

Train Smart!

Coach Johnson

Throwing Kiss of Death

Well the election is over, and perhaps it’s my age, or that I was hyper focused on the issues that are important to me, but I’m exhausted.

A lot of people thrilled, while many others are frustrated at the results….

I zeroed in on the people who are frustrated because it is the #1 emotion I see as a throws coach…

… whether you are a thrower, or a throws coach trying to better your understanding of how to teach such a technique heavy sport, frustration can be your enemy!

The biggest reason throwers fail is due to how they handle the frustration that will inevitably happen as you strive to become a better thrower.

Frustration is something that quickly needs to be shifted to a solution based action,because on-going frustration is a massive performance killer… it’s the throwing kiss of death.

Every year there will be the throwers that simply get too frustrated too often, and the frustration gets in the way of staying open-minded to find ways out of the problem.

Typically, the scenario goes something like this…

The thrower can’t figure out Pillar 1 & 2, and by now you should know that, that means the throw is toast and all kinds of shit is gonna go wrong.

After about 6 unsuccessful throws, or drills, and usually me saying ” NOPE!” …lol…

… the thrower’s response comes along the lines of “Ugh!!!”, and then the look of “WTF! You don’t understand coach, I just can’t do it!” or, my favorite… “I don’t think this is right…”

For the thrower, the solution to a Pillar challenge is typically an ungodly amount of drill reps to train the new movement pattern… and that takes serious mental fortitude…. Gotta grind!

As a coach, I must do my best to not get frustrated as well, and this happens every year with a few athletes, and I nip this in the bud ASAP.

There is a right way to deal with frustration as a coach, or thrower, and an unproductive way.

The key, as a coach, is to get the athlete out of this pattern quickly.

Most of the time, the frustration is rooted in insecurity and fear.

The “what if I fail” dialog begins to dominate the mental dialog, and when it becomes continuous noise, the thrower is gonna tank… and fast, because every little mistake is going to be over scrutinized and that gets in the way of learning.

… Trust me, when an entire practice, or two, or several stalls happen due to frustration trumping patience, the training is just wasted time; and that’s why it must stop!

This sport is too damn difficult to waste time. It takes so many reps, and if a thrower stands in their own way… THAT’S FRUSTRATING!

Now listen, I completely understand….

I threw too. I remember days when I was pissed, but I would throw for hours until I figured out what I was doing wrong. I turned my frustration into determination!

As a coach, I always am sure to quickly tell the thrower “if you get too frustrated you’re killing your progress, it’s a total waste of time, so let it go and relax or you will ruin your practice.

So let me be clear… How a thrower handles frustration is going to determine their ability to succeed as a thrower.

You know you’ve seen it before…

… the kid at the meet that’s embarrassed because they are throwing badly, and they make it worse by putting pressure on themselves, and they just go down-hill and crash.

Coaches and throwers must understand the mental game is a MAJOR part of developing successful throws … especially when it matters most, in competition!

I’ve had my share of head cases- to put it nicely- and I had to change my style of coaching slightly to ensure that they succeeded.

There are a lot to things that will contribute to frustration in the throw, but by using the Throwing Chain Reaction™ system you will simplify training and reduce frustration.

Often time, technical development struggles will stem from the KCR, Kinetic Chain reaction, which we cover in our online Strength Training for Throwers Course. This means there are legit physical limitations that make it nearly impossible to throw far.

But no matter how good you are as a coach, no matter how good the throwing system is, or how great the weight training program is, the mental frustration battle must be won.

If you want to see the mental game in action, check out the Olympic trials this year….

You will see some of the best throwers in the nation falling apart as they try to adjust to the weather, the pressure of this intense competition…

… and how anyone who tried to force it, instead of relaxing and performing the throw as it is intended, fell short; some of the biggest and best didn’t make the final… but my guy got 4th!

why? Well, all I did for 3 days was focused on keeping him relaxed and mentally prepared for throwing in the rain. I told him he had the advantage technically (due tot he TCR™ system), and he went into that competition believing he could win…

and his performance showed that.

So, I encourage coaches and throwers to turn those struggles into determination to conquer the challenges…

… It’s the biggest key to becoming a successful thrower or coach.

… And dare I say it’s kind of addicting.

I love the challenge. I thrive on it. I’m always determined to beat it. I want to conquer the problem. I get amped by it.

I never give up on an athlete- or a coach, and that has served me and my Arete Nation of throwers well.

The key is to never let the frustration hit the tipping point.

If it does…. progress over!!

You must get it on track. Learn to change the channel and get into a winning frame of mind, because what a throwers does it in practice- good or bad- they’ll do it in competition.

As coach who teaches other coaches and throwers the technical ins-and-outs of throws technique and lifting…

… it’s easy to forget about the mental game, and prepping throwers to be mentally tough is critical.

That’s one thing all the greats have in common: MENTAL GAME DOMINATION!

Look at Michelle Carter at the Olympics…

It’s her final throw, and she basically has to throw an American Record to win…. SHE DID!

That’s some serious mental grit, and I get fired up just thinking about it.

So, as you learn a lot of throwing technique in the TCR™ system…

… and I mean A LOT, don’t forget that the mental side is HUGE for throwers.

Mental domination is just another part of what you have to work not only as a thrower, but as a coach too!… it will always serve you well.

Train smart.

Coach Johnson


We will discuss the mental side of coaching in our upcoming live TCR 2.0 Throws coaches course that starts next Tuesday.

All session are recorded for replay and posted the next morning in case you can’t attend live.

You can submit questions live, or email them, and they are addressed in Q&A during each module.

Please email at

Each module will start at 6pm (PST) is better for your ability to attend.

If you want into the course, details are here.

P.S.S. Throws camps are filling up in So Cal and AZ. Click here for camp details.

TCR system for a limited time includes the TCR 2.0 course and Strength Training for throwers course ($334 value) Get in now while you get it ALL! Click here to check it out.