It’s Monday, and I’m back from North Carolina from the New Balance High School National Championships. It was a great weekend!

I saw a ton of Arete-affiliated coaches and got the chance to chat about all the successes they’re having with their athletes. It’s really great to see!

I want to give a BIG shout out & Congrats to:

  • Coach Tyler Pettit (ATN Alpha Member) from Michigan & his athlete Corrine Jemison, who competed and placed 6th in both the Championship Shot Put and the Discus
  • Also, Coach Pettit had a shot putter, Logan Brown, who placed 10th in the Championship Shot Put
  • Rebecka Bergquist, who placed 13th Championship Discus just a junior and to her dad/ Coach Bob Bergquist (ATN Alpha member)
  • The husband and wife coaching team—The Kowalchicks (ATN Members & throws camps attendees), who have twin boys, David and Paul. They were in the boys’ Emerging Elite Discus; one of the twins, Paul Kowalchick, was also in the Emerging Elite Shot Put & finished 13th. Way to go guys – you both work very hard!
  • Also, Coach Josh Patulski from Virginia, who has attended our ATN camps and did some private coaching out here in AZ last year, and his athlete Jabari Bennett who placed 3rd in the Championship boys’ Shot Put. It was very exciting—nice job, Coach!
  • ATN camp attendee Ethan Alyea was in the Championship Shot, where he had a big throw that would have been a big PR.

If I left anyone out, please let me know so I can give you some ATN love!

It was good to see ATN representing STRONG!

And last but not least, as most of you know:

ATN athlete Tyson Jones had a really good day, winning the Boys Championship shot put with a throw of 70′ 1.5″

Here’s a clip on my Instagram.

It was great to cap off his high school career with a #1 ranking and winning the High School Championship.

yea, having the title National Champ always feels good, so enjoy it Tyson—you earned it!

Now I’m shifting gears and this weekend, I’ll be headed to Des Moines, IA, for the USA Track and Field Championships…

… where Jason Harrell, who has the 4th best US performance this year and 15th in the world in the men’s discus, will go and try to repeat his most recent performance and finish big… which will likely lead him to competing, potentially overseas, for another few weeks.

Now, let’s get to a VERY OVERLOOKED throws coaching concept….

Traveling & Prepping for Championship Meets

It’s always a tricky thing. What’s the ATN game plan?


Ever notice that at least 2 weeks before the Olympics, the athletes will travel to the host country and begin their pre-competition training?

Ever wonder why?

It’s to:

Get acclimated to the weather, the time zone, altitude, and all other competition conditions.

This concept isn’t just for Olympians, it’s for anyone who is going to a competition to do some damage!

For example, we are pretty used to the heat here in Arizona. In fact, I think it was 110˚ the day before I left for North Carolina.

… and, for my final practice with Tyson, it was probably 108˚!!!!

Why does this matter?”

Well, when we arrived in North Carolina and it was high 80s, or low 90s; no biggie there…

… but the very high humidity, THAT was the equalizer!

We’re experienced with the need for  hydration and body climate control in the high heat, but the humidity was the evil factor we were dealing with….

I just wanna say, as a desert rat, that humidity is on a totally different level. It really sucks the energy out of you—FAST!

So, if you are not used to hotter weather, or life-sucking humidity, etc. then it’s best to arrive a couple days early to get accustomed to it and understand it better.

Another item in our plan of attack was the time difference.

Whenever we’re traveling to a time zone that’s 3+ hours ahead, we arrive a couple of days early so we can jump into the cycle of what’s morning and what’s bed time for recovery!

Competing 3 hours ahead of your normal time zone can mess you up. You risk showing up tired, or too amped on all the coffee you downed to wake up.

Again, you’ll want to—ideally—get to your location at least two days before competition, so you have a full day to adjust before the competition.

One of the things that Tyson learned last year was that if you fly in the day before a competition, it really doesn’t provide adequate time to get adjusted to the area and the time zone difference, or just the difference in the weather.

So, when it came time to compete, Tyson was exhausted and weaker than normal due to catching a flu bug while competing in Cuba…

… and traveling the next day after after competing.


To give you a little reminder, here’s my Power Coaching check list I use:

Power Coaching Checklist

  1. Give Yourself Time – Arrive at least 2- 3 days before the competition. I think I made this point clear enough already.
  2. Weight Room – Find a place to go get a workout; I call it a “shake out workout.” You do a little workout, striders, stretch, and maybe some ring time if you like to throw the day before. HOWEVER, be aware of what makes the athlete perform; some athletes need a full day of rest instead!
  3. Eat To Win – It’s not a vacation, it’s a competition. Eat performance-enhancing foods. The night before and in the morning: high in nutrition, low in grease and sugar. Think about it: no one would feed a racehorse a bunch of slop, and then expect it to run like a Ferrari.
  4. Hydration –  This is no joke! Muscles fire fast and explosively when hydrated. This prevents muscles cramps, foggy thinking, and fatigue.
  5. Get SLEEP – I can’t stress this one enough. A sharp, clear head and an energized, rested body is going to throw farther—period!
  6. Get In The ZONE – Adrenaline is a fickle beast; it can make you throw the snot out of it, or be too much and your technique will suffer. We practice all year how to put ice in those veins and step up in high pressured comps.

If anything, when it comes to throwing, remember this:

In Times Of Battle, The Plan Kills. The Weapon Only Does The Deed

Tomorrow I’ll share with you some of the tactics I do in the weight room prior to competition…

… you’ll see it’s not a “one size fits all” strategy. What I will coach with Tyson is different than what I coach Jason, to what I’ll coach to a newer thrower who’s having their first time at a major meet 😉

Until tomorrow, study your TCR™ drills. The video analysis content and new content is being worked on right now!

Always Be Prepared & Throw Far!

– Coach Johnson