2015 Season

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: Just Saying Stuff #12

Date: March 30, 2015 at 9:22:12 AM PDT

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

Change of topic:  Instead of talking about the hammer, let's talk about the proper foot wear for all the throws.  To learn proper technique and to throw safely, you need to have the right shoes.  Too many people come to practice and expect to learn how to throw with their normal running shoes.  Can't be done.  (more)

A good pair of rotational shoes is a must.    You are looking for hard flat bottoms to allow you to rotate both on the balls of your feet and the heel.  They also need a rigid side to the sole so that  you can turn properly on the side of your foot as in the hammer and weight throws.  Attempting to learn technique with an inappropriate shoe with grip will put your ankles, knees and etcetera at risk for injury AND you will be unable to execute the throwing motion properly.  In fact, you will be reinforcing bad technique.

Where one good pair of rotational shoes can be all you need to throw shot, discus, hammer, weight and superweight; you will need a specialized shoe for the javelin.  Yes, depending on how you throw, you can get away with throwing the javelin with good grip running shoes.   However, a slip/slide when you are making your plant for the throw can take you out with injury for the year and, at the very least, take away your feeling of confidence on future throws.   A javelin shoe will have track spikes on the ball and heel.  For me, I will not throw without them.  Even when working on the standing throw, I hesitate to throw the javelin without wearing my throwing shoes.  They are that important.  

Where to get them?  I have been asked many times.  Personally, I buy mine online from Eastbay.  I usually wait  until the end of the season to get some better deals, but take the risk of not having my size being available.  Every year I buy two new pairs of rotational shoes (Nike Rotational 5) as I wear them out due to the amount that I throw.  My javelin shoes have lasted me 6 years and counting.  Careful on the sizing, I have small but wide feet and when ordering Nike products, I usually order shoes one half size larger.  Just Saying.  

Week's Outdoor Throwing Practices:

Tuesday, March 31st @ 10am (Coquitlam)

Thursday, April 2nd @ 10am (North Surrey)

Saturday, April 4th from 10am to 12 noon (North Surrey)

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: Just Saying Stuff #11

Date: March 22, 2015 at 1:58:55 PM PDT

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

The Javelin Throw

Of the 6 throwing events that I compete in, the javelin throw has the greatest potential for self injury by far.  The most common injury is with the throwing elbow and the rotator cuff.  However, it does not stop there; injuries to the calf, groin, quad, lower back, etc. are all possible especially if you do not warm up adequately and/or neglect training on your flexibility.  (more) 

Beginners, as well as seasoned throwers, must gradually work up to full throws.  Start your spring training by using a ball instead of a javelin.  This allows you to work on throwing technique and miminizes the risk of injury.  Check out "Javelin throw: ball throwing on Vimeo" (https://vimeo.com/31363517).  Start by throwing from a stand and then to a three step approach.  Keep your first sessions short, relaxed and without regard for distance setting.  The following article gives sound advise:  (www.selfgrowth.com/articles/5_Javelin_Throw_Tips_for_Javelin_Throwers.html).

Due to the high potential for injury, I would recommend working with a coach and/or seasoned thrower to help with learning to throw the javelin.  Stay injury-free and see you at practice.

Outdoor Practice Sessions:

Tuesday, March 24th @ 11am (Coquitlam)

Thursday, March 26th @ 10am (Bear Creek)

Saturday, March 28th from 9:15am to 1pm (North Surrey)

Next Week's Topic:  "Learning to Throw the Hammer"

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: Just Saying Stuff #10

Date: March 15, 2015 at 8:05:39 PM PDT

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

"Finding Balance within our Practice Regimens"

For us masters athletes, I feel there are 5 main components that make up our practice regimen: throwing/jumping/running workouts, weight training, rest, mental preparation and diet.  The question is; how does one decide on the actual makeup, frequency, intensity, duration and sequencing on each of these facets?  Complicated? Perhaps, and then of course, it also depends on the individual and their goals.  If you are happy with your regimen and the results; well, good for you and stay the course.  However, if not, then change is in the wind.   (more)

First things first, assess your current physical condition (take action on what you can improve on) and set some goals (realistic ones).  My goal is to improve on all my throwing events each year for the next 10 years.  This is an easier goal for throwers to make since we don't necessarily have to get bigger, stronger and faster to throw further.  There are huge gains to be had by working on proper throwing technique, improving our flexibility and balance, appying positive thinking and resting harder than we work out.  

When you are at a throwing practice, resist the temptation to just throw and throw some more.  Albert Einstein said it best with "Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".  Einstein was a smart man, and remember that 'technique rules' in the throws.  It does not help you throw further by continuously reinforcing poor technique.   So, after a good warmup and some dynamic stretching, work on event specific drills for about 50% of the time.  When you do work from the circle or the runway, do not throw for distance.  Use this time to reinforce the proper technique from the drills you had been working on.   Only the last three throws of a session should be for distance if you do any at all.  Remember, you always want to reinforce sound technique.   Take your time and keep at it.   It is hard work, and you will improve!  Don't forget to end every session with warmdown stretches.  In addition, after practice spend some time researching videos on the web for drills to help with technique and to help you visualize the proper throwing motion.

The weight room for the masters athlete is not all about lifting heavy.  Half your time in the gym should be working on balance, flexability and on the smaller stablizing muscles.  When you leave the weight room, you should be somewhat energized and not depleted.  Start small and increase the load slowly.  I like to keep lifting sessions in the gym to one hour or less.  

Finding time to fit everything in is not always easy.  Life seems to get in the way even when you are retired.  When I was still working, I fit in my weights before work.  If I left it for after work, it usually didn't get done.  If your workout regimen is not working, change it.  If your body is telling you to take a break, listen to it.  It is so much more enjoyable to be outside and competing than inside at physio rehabbing,  Train smart and you will enjoy our sport for years to come.

Dave's Outdoor Throwing Schedule:

Tuesday, March 17th @ 11am (Coquitlam)

Thursday, March 19th @ 11am (Bear Creek)

Saturday, March 21st @ 9:15am - 1pm (North Surrey)

Next Week's Topic:  "Throwing the Javelin"

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: "Just Saying Stuff #9"

Date: March 10, 2015 at 4:25:10 PM PDT

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

This week's Topic:  How to put the rotation in the shot put

You've all heard of the real estate mantra; location, location, location.  Well, in shot put. it is all about power position, power position, power position.  There are many routes you can take to get to the power position whether it be the side shuffle, glide or the rotation.  Whatever method you use, you have to arrive at the power position in proper body alignment, balance with speed.  When compared with my standing throw, I get more added distance with the rotation than either of the other two methods.  Here's how to begin. (more)

Before thinking about the rotation from the back of the circle, you have to take the time to master the standing rotational throw.  It may look easy, but the muscle sequencing is deliberate and precise.  Adam Nelson is a good example of getting the most from the rotational technique.  He may not be as big as most throwers, but he makes up for it with his speed.  Check out his video on youtube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDyYMLlbDX4) and pay particular attention to the sequencing of his right side (foot, knee, hip, shoulder, arm strike).  Watch it, study it and practice trying to copy it.  See you at practice!

Next week's topic:  Finding balance within our practice regiments (% of weight training, throwing and resting)

This week's outdoor practice place and time:

Tuesday, March 10th @ 12 noon (Coquitlam)

Thursday, March 12th @ 10am (Bear Creek)

Saturday, March 14th @ 10am - 1pm  (North Surrey)

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: Just Saying Stuff #8

Date: March 2, 2015 at 9:49:32 AM PST

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

How to develop the turn in the discus.  For this blog, I am assuming that everyone reading has an understanding of the proper grip and are able to throw from the power position.  Learning the turn will dramatically increase the power you generate and the distance you throw.  However, there is a catch....read more.

Learning the turn is about body position, balance and patience.  Do not expect to be able to pick it up right away, it will take time AND you will lose distance at the beginning.  That is why now is the best time to work on improving your technique as we have 7 weeks before our first meet in April.  Remember, technique rules in the throwing events.  The following video on youtube "How to Throw the Discus - The 4 Step Approach" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgR7ZUDMS7M) was a big help to me and is a great learning tool for the sprint and body rotation through the circle.  Take your time and work on one step at a time. Master it well before progressing to the next step.  Another source of great instuctional videos is Primal ATC.  Matt goes through the complete throw from the back of the circle to the release in a series of youtube videos.  The turn adds 10 meters to my throw compared to the standing throw.  Time spent will be worth it.

This week's outdoor practice schedule:

Tuesday, March 3rd (12 noon) @ Coquitlam

Thursday, March 5th (12 noon) @ Bear Creek

Saturday, March 7th (I am unavailable, but practice is ongoing at 10am) @ North Surrey

Next Week's topic: "Putting the Rotation in the Shot Put"

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: "Just Saying Stuff #7

Date: February 23, 2015 at 1:22:26 PM PST

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

Change of topic this week.  With the weather shaping up as it has lately, throwers and jumpers will come out of hibernation and descend on throwing circles and jumping pits throughout the lower mainland and the Fraser Valley.  Some things to keep in mind. (more)

Keep it simple and short.  Do not try to reach the distance or height that you left off before the winter rains.  For example, I put the shot for the first time since recouping from my rotator cuff strain.  20 minutes was all I put in.  I used a lighter shot than I compete with and resisted the temptation to 'let one fly'.  Even at 70% effort, my wrist was telling me that it was enough after only 15 tosses.  Focus on relearning technique that may have slipped away from muscle memory.  Don't be discouraged if it takes time; train smart.  Listen to your body and stay injury-free!

Next week's topic:  Developing the turn in the discus

Next week's outdoor practice locations and time:

Tuesday, February 24th (12 noon) @ Coquitlam

Thursday, February 26th (12 noon) @ Bear creek Park, Surrey

Saturday, February 28th (12 noon) @ North Surrey

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: "Just Saying Stuff #6"

Date: February 15, 2015 at 1:22:01 PM PST

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

How to describe throwing the weight.  Well, I could come up with only 1 activity that resembles the weight throw in the real world; the tug of war.  However, the tug off war is one dimensional.   The weight (and hammer) is a tug of war in three dimensions (adding the rotation and a high and low point) with an extra person being put at the opposite end of the rope each turn.  You have to learn fast that the way to succeed is by pushing into the ground with your legs to counter the weight, not by pulling in with your arms.  (read more)

First of all, I need to point out that I only started throwing the hammer and the weight 5 years ago.  So again, I am 'just saying stuff' without the credentials of certified coaching training or years of youthful experience in the event.  Self taught also means having an abundance of experience in making mistakes and (hopefully) learning from them.  At the beginning, there were many times that I went further than the implement I was trying to toss.  Watching videos, reading technical articles and watching others throw is a starting point.  However, the value of a good coach or (at the very least) a second pair of eyes to give you feedback on your throwing form is extremely valuable in learning the skill progression needed to be successful.

Dr. Rande Treece has put together a series of video blogs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxHxoVAf-TM) that do a super job in helping one understand and learn the basics of the weight throw (and hammer).  In Rande's first video (an absolute must for any beginner), he shows and explains in simple terms how one throws the weight from the ground up.  The second video shows Rande adding turns to the throw.  It is a good video to watch, but a little too advanced in skill progression.   In my opinion, beginners should go to his 5th video where he shows a drill to learn the turns with a hammer.  Now the fun begins.  Do not expect to learn the weight throw in the throwing circle.  Learning how to turn needs space.  I taught myself turns with a hammer in the middle of an empty lacrosse box.  At the beginning, I was all over the place and needing time after each attempt to stop the world from spinning.  Eventually, I started getting smoother and straighter.  Patience and persistence are traits that you will have to draw on.  Good luck and see you out at practice.

Next week's topic:  "Developing the turn in the discus."

Next week's outdoor practice times:

Tuesday, February 17th - 12noon - Coquiltam (throwing cage)

Thursday, February 19th - 10am - Bear Creek Park (will change to 12 noon next week)

Saturday, February 21st - 12noon - North Surrey Secondary

From: Dave McDonald 

Subject: Just Saying Stuff #5

Date: February 8, 2015 at 5:33:08 PM PST

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

After 3 to 6 weeks of pre-conditioning and working up to 3 sets for each exercise, it may be time to split the workout into two; legs/back and arms/chest.  Although there are countless variations that one can put together for the weight training component of your own program, I will detail what I do in the weight room.  (read more)

I've tried the three days a week weight training program, but have found that it takes too long (up to two plus hours) to fit everything in and I tend to be depleted of energy for the rest of the day.  Instead, I have gone to splitting the workout into two.  I train legs/back on Mondays and Thursdays (LEGS/BACK PDF LINK), while doing arms/chest on Tuesdays and Fridays (ARMS/CHEST PDF LINK).  Wednesdays and Sundays are complete days of rest without any weights or throwing.  Weather permitting, I try to throw 3 times a week (usually on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).

At the beginning of this program, I usually do only two sets and work up to completing all three as I improve.  To fit this program into an one hour time frame leaves very little time for socializing.  Be careful and I would recommend socializing after the workout; spending 5 to 10 minutes in conversation instead of lifting puts you at risk of cooling down and increases the possibility of a muscle pull.  Having hurt myself in the weight room more times then I care to admit, experience dictates lifting realistic weights for each exercise with good form with short rests between sets.  What is good form?  Well, don't be afraid to ask.  Most gyms have staff that are only too happy to help you out and will demonstrate how to use each machine and to do each exercise.  A second set of eyes on your lifting technique is as important as having a coach watching you throw.  If you want more information on how I use the spreadsheets; go to 'Just Saying Stuff' #2, or send me an email.

Next Week's Topic:  "How to Train for the Weight Throw."

Unfortunately due to a pulled right quad on Saturday, I will not be able to make practices for the week (February 9th-13th) leading up to the BC Masters Indoor Championships in Kamloops.  Still having trouble listening to my own advise.

Back and Legs

Posted February 9, 2015 

From: Dave McDonald <dmcdpmss@yahoo.ca>

Arms and Chest

Subject: "Just Saying Stuff #4"

Date: February 1, 2015 at 12:45:58 PM PST

To: Greyhounds

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

For those of us who live with osteoarthritis, joint pain and swelling is a part of everyday life.  Well, it has recently changed for me.  For the past year, I have not had to ice my knees or to continue ingesting ibuprofen at an alarming rate.  Want to know what I did?   (read more)

I am not a health professional, so this is really 'just saying stuff'.  Some background; since the knee specialists at UBC told me at 20 years of age that if I gave up competitiive sports then I should still be able to walk at 40, I have had 4 knee surgeries, lived a life with a constant diet of anti-inflamatories and pain relief medications, experimented with joint injections and knee braces, and needed a railing to pull on to climb stairs.  My 40s sucked.  At 55 with the prospect of a left knee replacement looming and a painful right knee, I decided to take up throwing instead.  One last 'kick at the can' before I went for the 5th and, most likely, final surgery.  Well, after 4 years of hurting, icing, medicating and hobbling around, my wife convinced me to change my diet.  It has been over a year now and the results have been very noticeable.  I am actually walking without a limp for the first time in longer than I can remember.  Whether the change of diet is the main reason for the improvement can always be questioned.   However; as much as I was a skeptic at the start, I've had to give credit to my wife and to listen quietly to her 'I told you so!"  With that being said, I will let Carolyn finish this blog with the changes she put in place for me.

"I am a firm believer in Hippocrate's quote "Let food be thy medicine."  We have gotten so far away from the way our parents and grandparents ate.  Consuming "fake" food disguised as packaged/processed which is full of unhealthy fats, sugars, MSG and GMO's just to name a few of the additives that wreck havoc with the body, causing widespread inflammation.  Getting back to "clean" eatting is the first step back to a painfree body.  It may seem like a huge task, but taking baby steps is the key.  Try eliminating sugar from your diet the first week and see how great you will start to feel.  The second week, try to go gluten free and see how it works.  The next week, swap unhealthy vegetable oils with coconut oil and olive oil.  Get rid of packaged and processed foods.  Make food from scratch so you can have control over what you consume..  If a recipe calls for sugar, try raw honey or maple syrup if you absolutely must have sugar..  Instead of  processed salt, use himalayan pink salt, which is chock full of healthy minerals.   Almond, coconut or oat flours can be used instead of white flour.  An absolute essential kitchen utensil to invest in is

a good masticating juicer. to make daily juices with organic vegetables.  There are lots of recipes you can google, but the key items to juice are carrots, beets, ginger, tumeric, lemon, parsley, cilantro, green apples, kale and spinach.  These are all chock full of alkalizing nutrients that are key to reduce inflammation in the body.  Juices should be consumed on an empty stomach so the nutrients go directly to your blood stream.  Try incorporating some or all of these steps and see how you feel."

Next week's topic:  "Changing the pre-conditioning workout into two; legs/back and arms/chest."

“Just Saying Stuff #3” - Jan. 25/15

Reply-To: Dave McDonald 

Without a doubt, stretching is a vital component in any athletic endeavour or training session; however, the type of stretching and when we do them will make a substantial difference in our performance.  Contained in the 'Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research' (Jan 2014 - Vol 28 - Issue 1 - p 140-146), an original research paper was presented entitled 'Static stretching can impair performance for at least 24 hours'.  

Research over the past ten years has conistently found that static stretching has a negatiive impact on performance (up to 9%), especially within one hour of competition.  It is on the web for all of us to read.   Forget how we were trained (or lack of) in high school, everyone involved in athletics today should research dynamic vs static stretching.  They both have their place in injury prevention, increasing range of motion and performance.  However, dynamic stretching is better suited as a warmup ritual before training and competition, while static stretching is better suited for a cooldown ritual after training or competition.  A couple of points to clarify in the last statement.  First of all, dynamic stretching is not to be mistaken as 'ballistic'.  You are not forcing range of motion by overly twisting, bending or pulling body parts.  Dynamic stretches are slow, controlled movement that are usually done while walking.  As in my workouts and pre-competition ritual, my arm circles, shoulder stretches and truck twists are all done while walking.  If you want to know more, there are many examples of dynamic stretches for all events to be found on the web.  The second point I want to clarify is with the term 'ritual'.  Stretching has to be a 'ritual' or essential component of every workout or competition.  Although we always seem to find time to put stretches into our warmups, way too often we skip them after.  I am guilty as most and must change my 'ritual' to conclude all my training or competitions with specific static stretches.  

Next Week's Topic:  'Suggesting ways to reduce chronic pain and inflamation caused by osteoarthritis.

“Just Saying Stuff #2” - Jan. 19/15

"Off-season throws training; 'Where did I put those New Year's Resolutions?'  The good intentions you had at the end of last year's outdoor season in September are now past overdue to put into practice today.  Time to do some weight training."   (read more)

This week's entry is aimed at those of us who have neglected or yet to start weight training.  I cannot emphasis this next statement enough.  It is very important to start light and to take our time to build the weights up.  I say this because I did not take my own advice and paid a price.  In October, I started my weights again after ignoring the gym during the competitive season.  Starting the weights at where I left off in May; two days in, I strained my right rotator cuff.  Two plus months in physio and I have just been given the go ahead to throw lightly.  My mindset may still sometimes go back to when I was in my twenties, but my body tells me I am now 60.  

I have enclosed a template of a pre-conditioning workout.  These workouts should take less than one hour to complete with the warmup and stretching included.  Remember what I said earlier; 'start light!'  We have to prepare the body and muscles to handle actual training.   The top part of the template has my warmup which includes some core exercises.  The bike can be interchanged to the same time duration on an elliptical (you are warming up and not trying to build endurance).  The medicine ball and dynamic stretching (google 'dynamic flexibility exercises for a thrower') can be done inside a squash/racquetball court.  Any sturdy wall will do.  In the second section with the 9 exercises, I do one set of 10 reps (ignore the red squares for the '8' and '6' reps - used after the initial 3+ weeks) and am done in about 20 minutes.  That leaves the most important part and most often neglected section of any workout; post workout stretching!  This will be next week's topic.

Here is some more information on how to use the spreadsheet.  The column under 'reps' is to put the amount of weight being lifted.  There are 9 columns after the column with the red squares; these are for 9 days of training (if you train 3 times a week, it gives you 3 weeks of data on what you lifted).  I write the dates that I lift in the row after the word 'start'.  Try to be consistent and work out two or three times a week for good results.  By filling in the squares during the workout, I have found it helps me complete a full workout and gives me a record on progress being made.  Motivational.   In two weeks time, I will explain how I divide this workout into two (legs/back and arms/chest) and add throwing specific exercises to the spreadsheet/workout.  


Next week's topic:  "Flexibility exercises and their role in throwing technique, performance and preventing injuries.

Pre-conditioning Workout

“Just Saying Stuff #1"

Greyhound throws training until end of February, 2015

    Tuesdays @ Guildford Leisure Centre 11:30am - 12:30pm (Indoor weight training)

    Thursdays @ Bear Creek Park 10am - Noon (Outdoor throws, weather permitting)

    Satrurdays @ SFU 11am - 12:30pm (Indoor throws technique training)

This past Saturday at the SFU practice, I did an informal survey on who would like to purchase the Stormtech jacket and/or pants that I bought recently (as in my picture) from Bold merchandise.  10 of the 20 Greyhounds there said that they would.  Cost is (tax included) $76 for the jacket and $59 for the pants.  This cost is the highest it would be, with a price reduction depending on the numbers ordered.  I will get Bold Merchandise to bring in every size for both womens' and mens' jackets and pants so that you can be assured of the correct fit.  When they arrive I will bring them to each practice for 2 weeks.  I have included a copy of a mock-up of the jacket (read more) 

Next Week Topic:  Off-season training (getting started with a pre-conditioning weight program)

Mock ups Stormtech

Mock ups from Stormtech

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