Sunday, January 18, 2009
This blog entry comes as I am preparing for a winter training camp in Scandinavia. I am leaving the sunny Southern California weather on Friday and headed to Finland and Norway for some training with the worlds best. This is the time of year last year, that I left for Australian summer Grand Prix series. After being notified that the javelin would not be part of the 09 Aussi Grand Prix series, I decided to head to training camp instead.
The timing could not be better! After competing well into the end of September on the Olympic year, I felt I needed the extra few weeks of training and will now push my 09 season opener back to the end of April. Most of the worlds best javelin throwers are either in Portugal or South Africa on warm weather training camps this time of year. Fortunately for me...living in San Diego, I am at warm weather training year round, so its good for me to change it up and head north to get some solid technical training in.
Some people may wonder why I would leave the comfort of my home training camp and head to where the temperatures hover around 15 degrees and the sun is only out 4 hours a day...the answer is an easy one...thats where the best in the world do it. All of the northern European throwers and Scandinavian throwers, who just happen to be the best in the world...throw indoors 7 months out of the year. Throwing inside into a net takes away the distance factor in your training, which allows you to focus more on refining your technique. When you are changing your technique, the distances you are throwing are almost always very bad and subconsciously your body wants to revert back to what was your prior (and not necessarily better) technique in order to regain some of that distance. If you take away the distance component, there is no need or desire to see the javelin fly far and thus allows you to continually refine your throwing motion to perfection.
Lets use golf as an example, which is very similar to the javelin. All power and no technique will often result in sliced or hooked ball flights, and no power and all technique will result in straight flights but no distance. Its the same in the javelin. If you take a golfer away from the driving range and make him hit inside into a net where he cant see how far the ball goes, the golfer then focuses on the swing, not how far it goes.
Lets have a look at the top ranked throwers in the world this year and see where they come from...of the top 25 throwers in the world, here is the breakdown:
21 of top 25 throwers are from Northern Europe (myself, Canada, S. Africa and Australia are the only exceptions)
7 of the top 10 and the entire top 5 are from Scandinavia.
Impressive numbers for such a small region. I guess one can say going to Scandinavia for javelin training is like going to Mexico to learn Spanish, its simply where they do it the best and most often. I haven't been back to Finland since 2007 and I spent almost a year there from the fall of 2004 though the summer of 2005 and cant wait to see some of my old friends and training partners. My last week of my training camp I will be training in Oslo Norway and staying with the current world #1 and the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Champ, Andreas Thorkildsen. Andreas is one of the coolest guys on earth and has always gone out of his way to help me out even though we are competitors. For a really cool story, dig through my blog entry "The Doha Disaster". The airlines lost all my bags on my way to my 1st Super Grand Prix in Doha Qatar and Andreas let me borrow his old competition spikes and I ended up setting a new personal best. I'm hoping that I borrow a few pieces of his good luck while in Oslo and bring home some new technique and monster throws in the future.
Heres a clip of the some of the snow in 2004...