Monday Bacon: Happy New Year!

A small post on the Facebook a few weeks ago by Champion thrower Brian Oldfield caught my eye. He spoke of throwing season wrapping up and though he’s been retired for quite some time, he still remembers reflecting on how things went and moving into off season training. He wrapped up the post by saying, “Happy New Year!”

I like it. Reflect; make notes; be thankful, and move on. With that in mind…

I’ve learned an immense amount on the events and showed many times my naivete.  I’ve muscled the stones as far as I’m going to and this off season must include understanding the mechanics better. Mike and Mindy Pockoski have come up with a great DVD and book breaking down all of the events with cues and examples of the teachings. Getting this is first on the list so I can practice at home. Also, I’m hoping to make a few treks to Minnesota to see my twins and ALSO spend as many sessions as possible with Brian Hare over at the Southside Bully gym in Burnsville. Brian is a great throws coach and always sends me away not only a better thrower but also with a better understanding of throwing terms (separation; orbit; fast arm; quick release…) Here’s where I’ve shown how utterly naive I am in this throwing stuff, when a few folks have said I have a fast arm or quick release I’ve had to ask them if that’s a good thing. I guess it is so I should figure out how to use it to my advantage.

Hammers. I’d like to pick up a 16# hammer to feel the heavy more often. I’ve struggled so much with this event but a few things clicked for me this past weekend and I’m looking forward to practicing that more. My hammer must improve in order for me to frankly be competitive. I can hang in the other events but lose many points on the Hammers and the Sheaf.

Sheaf toss. I PR’d my toss at 18′ last April at Jason Clevenger’s backyard games; tied it again in August at his Throwing For the Cure event; and hit it this last weekend in Kirksville. Another points loser for me. This weekend’s throws actually felt really good and just like the hammers, I have some good things to work on. I need to get serious though and find a system to put a bar up in the back yard so I know how high I’m throwing. Throwing into open space isn’t teaching me anything but how to “hope” it’s going high.

Distance throws: thanks to the help of Kerry Overfelt and Craig Smith here during the Wisconsin games on Labor Day weekend, my two spin is back and this event is feeling extremely good. I was reminded by Jason Clevenger and Jeff Armstrong last Sunday in Lake Forest to throw the weight out and not up and I’ve had some nice numbers. Now I just need to dial it in and especially control my nerves on Games day. I’ll be practicing with all, the 28#, 21#, and 14# so I’m ready to go no matter where I throw.

WOB: no matter what the weight is on this one nerves are really my killer. So again, practicing with an actual height target will help to build confidence and I’m just going to have to get advice on the nerves thing. I do okay until it gets into PR’sville and then the adrenaline begins to make everything shaky.

Caber: just practice. I need practice. I need picks; and picks; and then controlling the log; and then toss after toss after toss. I know I can do well on this but need picks.

I need to make sure stretching and better nutrition stick with me into the second half of the season next year. In March, I came off of a very intense bodybuilding type program that was very helpful in gaining strength and making me feel better but I also came into the season very tight with erectors that were ready at the drop of any hat all season long to seize up. Stretch; massage; take better care of myself. Less sugar; less booze (not much less, just less during the week); keep the walks going all summer long.  I’m really hoping to get a board and do some of this next summer…

It looks fun and relaxing and I’d love to wake up my day on the water.

I’ll throw more and worry about strength less than I did this summer. I’m very pleased on how the last 1/3 of my season went in the gym and credit Matt Vincent’s Training Lab for that. There, he states that last part of the season gym sessions are very light and to be done on throwing day. I put the ego aside, did some squats at 135# and headed to the field. It worked very well and I was able to hit PR’s at the very end of the season which felt awesome.

I’ve written, probably ad nauseam, on how thankful I am for this entire season and the people who I’ve come in contact with. I can’t reflect without saying it one more time. I met an entire new crew of great Highland folks this past weekend in Kirksville and I’m looking forward to spending another day on the field with them in the future.

I know I can walk away from the field and say I’ve done my best. I’ve worked as hard as I could in the gym and on the field with what knowledge I had. I’v’e tried to be a good fellow competitor and find new ways of politely asking overzealous “coaches” on the field to not throw 20 observations at me after each throw in exasperated voices when I don’t do what they want me to do. Heh. I’m healthy and strong and though I’m tired, I feel pretty damn good.

So now I lay it to rest and move on. Just like 11:59pm on December 31st…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave- win or lose.

Gordie Howe

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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