Skip to main content
The Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast

The Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast

By Charles J. Infurna, EdD
Welcome to The Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast! The purpose of this podcast will be to interview strength athletes from an array of disciplines to get a closer look at how they prepare for competition, their mindset, routines/rituals, how they got their start in their respective sport, and the work/life/sport balance. This podcast is will give the listener a behind-the-scenes look at how athletes and coaches alike achieved their success, what they did to get there, and how they compete at that level over a period of time. New episodes drop at 9am EST on Monday mornings.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Castbox Logo


Google Play Music Logo

Google Play Music

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

So You Want to Throw in College? College Recruiting

The Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast

Episode 31 - The Skill of Focus: Composure
Composure Finding your optimal level of arousal takes time and deliberate practice.  As an athlete and high-level thrower, this is another key element in finding your desired level of success.  Maintaining a state of equilibrium is very necessary in throwing.  Having emotional outbursts on every throw during warm-ups may not physically prepare your body to compete when necessary, when the competition actually starts.  As an athlete, you can experiment in practice.  Be aware of your thoughts before you step into the circle.  Do you feel nervous?  Can you see your heart racing through your shirt?  Are you sweating profusely?  What I mention are all signs of composure.  Finding the right level of composure or arousal will give you a better opportunity to be successful when the competition begins.
December 7, 2021
Episode 30 - The Art of Focus: Be in the Present Moment and Positive Strong Thoughts
The Skill of Focus In order to prepare our physical and mental states for throwing, it is vital for us to be ready and prepared.  Our mindset and emotions control our physical states. There are five steps to creating a clearer focus for ourselves as throwers and what we want to accomplish. Incorporating the five steps to prepare ourselves and be ready to compete are critical components to your success as a thrower. 1. Be in the Present Moment Distraction is our enemy.  When you are physically at a track meet, are you mentally present?  Are you engaged in your surroundings and what is going on around you?  Are you aware of what you may be feeling an hour before you throw, 30 minutes before you throw, during warm-ups, and during the competition.  Thinking about your homework, a conversation you may have had with someone that upset you, finishing a project, your significant other, or what you plan on doing after the competition with your friends will not prepare to compete well!  Distraction is the enemy! 2. Positive Strong Thoughts I am a strong thrower.  I am fearless.  Be smooth. I’m ready.  I look good in the circle.  I feel good in the circle.  These are examples of positive strong thoughts that you can think before you step in the circle, while you are in the circle, or when you begin warming up for competition.  Having a positive belief statement is key in achieving optimal performance as an elite level thrower.  Remember, our thoughts control our physical responses to situations.  Having a positive belief statement will increase the likelihood of finding success in throwing.
December 7, 2021
Episode 29 - A Holistic Approach to Coaching: Part 2
I’m really excited to announce that I will be offering a free 30 minute Holistic Coaching and Mentoring Consultation session for throwers this year.  I’ve been thinking about putting together an opportunity like this for quite some time.  My approach to coaching and how I work with my athletes is more outside-the-box than what we might consider more traditional coaching methods.  I emphasize more time spent focused on the mental aspects of throwing, which has led the throwers I’ve coached to achieve unprecedented success. Throwers that I’ve mentored have accomplished these outcomes: 2019 New Balance Indoor National Champion in the 20lb. Weight Throw 2016 Division III Indoor National Champion in the 35lb. Weight Throw Qualified for and competed at the USA Indoor National Championships Set numerous New York State and Regional records in the 20lb. Weight Throw and Hammer Throw Earned Division I Track and Field scholarships Over my 10+ years of coaching high-school, collegiate, and post-collegiate has provided meaningful insights into the types of physical and psychological traits required to accomplish one’s goals.  It is in this process that I have refined my approach to coaching which provides throwers both the physical and mental cues required towards achieving one’s goals. This specific free 30 minute coaching/mentoring consultation meeting with me, Dr. Charles Infurna, includes the following: A guided discussion about your goals, the goal-setting process, and what you want to accomplish as a thrower An overview of my holistic approach to coaching driven throwers and the  benefits to training the mental aspects of throwing Mindset training techniques that will enable you to unleash your true potential within the throwing circle and runway that will propel you towards greatness (confidence, self-efficacy, visualization, goal-setting, the skill of focus, controlling your emotions in practice and competition, time management, avoiding distractions, and journaling) I will share strategies and tips that I have incorporated with my throwers over the past decade that has led them down a path of accomplishing their goals.
December 7, 2021
Episode 28 - 3 Strategies for Competing in a Four Throw Competition
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I share 3 strategies coaches and throwers can incorporate into their meet preparation for a 4 throw meet. 1. Encourage round 1 technique that helps make the thrower as comfortable as possible  2. Only focus on 1 to 2 technical cues through the competition 3. View the competition from the mindset of round 1 encompasses the first 3 throws of a regular competition and that rounds 2 - 4 are similar to those if you made the finals
December 2, 2021
Episode 27 - Holistic Approach to Coaching Consultation
I’m really excited to announce that I will be offering a free 30 minute Holistic Coaching and Mentoring Consultation session for throwers this year.  I’ve been thinking about putting together an opportunity like this for quite some time.  My approach to coaching and how I work with my athletes is more outside-the-box than what we might consider more traditional coaching methods.  I emphasize more time spent focused on the mental aspects of throwing, which has led the throwers I’ve coached to achieve unprecedented success. Throwers that I’ve mentored have accomplished these outcomes: 2019 New Balance Indoor National Champion in the 20lb. Weight Throw 2016 Division III Indoor National Champion in the 35lb. Weight Throw Qualified for and competed at the USA Indoor National Championships Set numerous New York State and Regional records in the 20lb. Weight Throw and Hammer Throw Earned Division I Track and Field scholarships Schedule your free 30 minute Holistic Coaching and Mentoring Consultation by clicking here Over my 10+ years of coaching high-school, collegiate, and post-collegiate has provided meaningful insights into the types of physical and psychological traits required to accomplish one’s goals.  It is in this process that I have refined my approach to coaching which provides throwers both the physical and mental cues required towards achieving one’s goals. This specific free 30 minute coaching/mentoring consultation meeting with me, Dr. Charles Infurna, includes the following: A guided discussion about your goals, the goal-setting process, and what you want to accomplish as a thrower An overview of my holistic approach to coaching driven throwers and the  benefits to training the mental aspects of throwing Mindset training techniques that will enable you to unleash your true potential within the throwing circle and runway that will propel you towards greatness (confidence, self-efficacy, visualization, goal-setting, the skill of focus, controlling your emotions in practice and competition, time management, avoiding distractions, and journaling) I will share strategies and tips that I have incorporated with my throwers over the past decade that has led them down a path of accomplishing their goals.
December 1, 2021
Episode 26 - Catching Up With National Champion Thrower Jordan Crayon
This week I got the chance to catch up with former Ashland Eagle and National Champion thrower Jordan Crayon.  Jordan won the 2016 Division II Indoor National Championship in the 35lb. Weight Throw and is a multiple time All-American thrower in the 35lb. Weight Throw and Hammer Throw.  In this episode, we discussed:  1. How playing Football led him to throwing in college  2. Meeting Jud Logan for the first time  3. Competing during his freshman season  4. Learning how to compete at indoor and outdoor nationals  5. Sweeping the circle at the 2016 Division II Indoor National championships  6. It taking a village to raise a thrower  7. The goal-setting process and illuminating his path  8. Training with a team of All-Americans  9. The decision to continue training as a post-collegiate thrower  10. Advice for those who are thinking about competing at the post-collegiate level
November 29, 2021
Episode 25 - My Sincerest Thank You
I'd like to take the time to express my gratitude to my current throwers and coaching staff at Alfred State for allowing me the opportunity to be your throwing coach.
November 25, 2021
Episode 24 - The Reflective Thrower
As you have probably read or listened, the past couple of weeks I’ve shared a lot of strategies, suggestions, and tips for coaches and throwers when thinking about goals and the goal-setting process.  A central tenet of this process is establishing open lines of communication in sharing expectations with athletes, and in turn athletes sharing their expectations for themselves and their teammates.  Taking everything into consideration, a lot of this can be summed up with one word. Reflective Over the summer I shared a lot of thoughts about the importance of journaling and how keeping notes on training and throwing would serve as the ultimate accountability partner.  Taking the time to journal and write really causes someone to be reflective and think about what they want to accomplish. To accomplish this one needs to think about where they came from, where they currently are, and where they want to go. It might seem more difficult than it actually sounds, but broken down into small segments one can be honest with themselves about where they currently are and where they want to go.  Much of this comes from where they were. An example might look like this.  Let’s say we have a senior thrower on our team.  As a junior they ranked in the top 50 nationally in the discus and competed in their last chance qualifier meet in both the discus and hammer.  Removing those that graduated, they return as a senior with a top 35 ranked discus throw and top 60 in the hammer.  Their aspirations for their senior year are to become an All-American in both the discus and hammer. They came off a relatively successful junior campaign in which they improved their best discus mark by 6m, while also improving their hammer mark by 8m.  They made significant improvement from their sophomore year (COVID year) to their junior year (still under COVID restrictions, no indoor season).  The 2021-22 season will seem to allow more opportunity to throw with fewer travel and competitive restrictions in the North East. Our current (November, 2021) indicators suggest that this thrower is on a positive trajectory towards accomplishing their two goals for the season.  Earlier in the fall this thrower hit discus marks over 50m in training, which lets us know that his aspiration of getting to nationals and earning an All-American award is fairly realistic.  To qualify for nationals, one needs to finish the season ranked in the top 24 in their respective event.  Hitting a mark to get there is obviously the first step, but what happens once at nationals is a completely different story.  
November 25, 2021
Episode 23 - Discussing Goals and Expectations With Your Athletes
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I discuss strategies you as a coach can easily incorporate in your conversations with athletes that help establish realistic expectations and goals with your athletes.
November 22, 2021
Episode 22 - On The Clock
In my last post I shared some thoughts about early season training, the complexities of how our season is structured, and the processes we implement as the season rolls on.  All of those topics are centered around one core item, Time. In total, 26 weeks may seem like a long season.  However, with the intermittent breaks along the way, some of the training time falls independently on each individual thrower.  We have 26 training weeks for our season, but with our scheduled breaks along the way, there is some time that is spent away from our facility.  It is what happens during that time that will either propel a thrower towards achieving their goals, maintain their technique without a fear of loss, or fall behind because the thrower didn’t train over their breaks. You see, everyone has the same amount of time.  No college is granted more training weeks than others.  It is how the training weeks are utilized that ultimately makes a substantial difference in athlete successes. How we spend our time is critical to ensure athlete success.  How that success is manifested is dependent on a few factors.  First, are athlete aspirations realistic to their current technical prowess or their future technical prowess?  Second, are athlete goals process based or outcome based?  Third, does the athlete have a specific technical focus they are working on in practice, or are they simply getting reps in for the sake of getting reps in? This week begins our third week of practice for our throwers.  I’m writing this before our training session today, in which I am introducing a time management/goal setting activity with everyone.  This activity has a central focus of sharing the importance of time, to think about what we want to accomplish over the course of the season, and how our daily/weekly actions impact whether we move closer or farther away from our yearly aspirations. Another central tenet of the activity is to think about team based expectations and how those expectations will be integrated into our daily practice sessions.  You learn a lot from individuals after having worked with them for a couple of weeks.  Our march towards our first meet begins to reveal certain personality traits of individuals, the eye of the tiger if you will.
November 17, 2021
Episode 21 - Working Towards Our First Indoor Track and Field Meet
Practice officially began a couple of weeks ago for our Alfred State throwers.  In the time we have had, everyone has worked diligently in honing their throwing craft or learning how to throw the various implements.  Efficient time management has been the conduit that has held things together. We have 11 total throwers (4 women, 7 men).  Some of which are returning (7) and some are new (4).  Others have also never thrown before (2).  It is a great mix of personalities that has kept practice fun and interesting. One thing that always creeps into my mind at roughly the same time every year is the amount of time (or lack thereof) we have before our first meet of the season.  Essentially, our throwers this year have 4 weeks of training before our first meet.  We lose a week for Thanksgiving, and when we return we have a day or two to train before a Friday meet. When taking the whole indoor/outdoor season as a whole, we have roughly 26 training weeks allotted to us.  That takes into consideration the Thanksgiving break, winter recess, and spring break.  It really doesn’t leave that much time to train. On the surface a 26 week season seems long.  Depending on your perspective you may think that you have plenty of time to achieve your goals.  From a different perspective it isn’t quite enough time.  As a former collegiate athlete, I had the former perspective.  As a coach, I tend to lean more towards the latter and think that we don’t have enough time. A strategy that has assisted me and my athletes over the past few seasons has been to have a plan for each successive week based on aspects of their technique they (the athlete) wants to improve.  The emphasis leading up to the first meet is to ensure each athlete has the skills necessary to compete in a manner that shouldn’t lead to an injury.  What I mean by that is that each thrower should have mastered basic technique in order to compete in such a way that is healthiest for them.  I’ve been to plenty of high school meets over the years in which athletes are asked to throw (or maybe they want to) without proper form or technique that could lead to an injury.  You may be able to muscle around a 25# weight as a male thrower, but eventually bad form/technique might lead to an increased chance of injury. For now, we are on the clock.  With roughly six practice sessions left until our first meet, our goals are to continue building upon the technical foundations we have already established while focusing on specific aspects of the throw that will provide the best opportunities for success.
November 17, 2021
Episode 20 - Communicating Expectations With Your Athletes
In this week's episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I discuss ways in which you as a coach can begin to have a conversation with your athletes about goals/expectations/aspirations for the upcoming season.   This season at Alfred State I have 6 returning throwers and 5 new throwers.  As a group we have a wide range of ability levels with regard to the individual throwing events.  It is my job as a coach to maximize the time we have together in practice, along with maximizing the expectations of each thrower in order to assist them in achieving their goal(s).   This episode shares insight into how you as a coach can begin the conversation with your athletes, how to ask questions, how to provide autonomy, and ways to have your athletes think about their own goals and expectations for the upcoming season.
November 8, 2021
Episode 19 - First Training Session of the 2021-22 Season
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I discuss our first training session as a group at Alfred State.  Our first training session as a group took place on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021.  In total we have 6 returning throwers and 5 new throwers.  Some of our new throwers threw in high school and some did not, which made for some interesting dynamics at practice yesterday.   This episode was recorded on November 3rd, 2021.  
November 4, 2021
Episode 17 - The Beginning of the End of My Collegiate Throwing Career
September 28, 2021
Episode 16 - Seven Successful Strategies As You Transition to College
As a student-athlete I knew I had to maintain at least a 2.0gpa and could not participate in or indulge with drugs/alcohol for fear of either being kicked off the track and field team or expelled from school.  I had a few teammates over the years that stayed on campus for a fall semester and didn’t return for that spring semester.  The same for those that didn’t return in the fall of our sophomore, junior and senior years too.  The one thing I remember Coach OG sharing with me in one of our first meetings on campus that August was to learn how to manage my time so I could get everything done and remain eligible to compete on the track and field team. That was all great and good, except nobody told me or taught me how to exactly do that.   Here is a list of some strategies you can begin to incorporate to ensure you give yourself the best opportunity to be successful as you navigate your way through the 2021-22 academic year. Buy a journal/daily planner/daily calendar and write down when all of your assignments are due.  Yes, this is a bit old school, but writing things might ensure you remember those things moresoe than if you don’t. Plan out your day ahead of time.  If you know you’ll be in class for 5-7 hours a day, you should be able to build in study/homework time throughout the day.  For some of us, completing homework in the morning is best.  For others, finishing our work in the evening works better.  You need to figure out what works best for you.  Waiting until the night before to complete a paper/project/report might not be the most efficient way to navigate through college. Schedule time to complete work/assignments with peers in your classes.  Scheduling time to complete assignments together will hold you more accountable to the group because others will be counting on you to join them. If you have questions about an assignment or project, ask your professor.  Schedule a time to meet with them.  Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about your projects, assignments, or homework. Don’t wait until the night before an assignment is due to ask a professor for help.  You should receive a class syllabus on the first day of class.  If you are unsure about something a few weeks or months away, ask for assistance sooner rather than later. Try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night.  There is tons of research out there that suggests this is an adequate amount of time for a multitude of reasons.  First, it will give your body a chance to recharge from the day before.  Also, if you are a student-athlete you will need the time to recover from training sessions and competitions. If you have concerns that might not be academically related, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  The counseling center or health center on campus would be a great place to find someone to talk to about whatever your concerns might be. What strategies/suggestions would you add to this list?  These specific items are concepts I wish someone would have shared with me 21 years ago.  To say I was clueless would be an understatement.  My one priority in college was to compete well enough to someday be inducted in our SUNY Fredonia Sports Hall of Fame.  That priority almost cost me my education, but I did end up winning a first place medal the size of a quarter for my efforts.
September 2, 2021
Episode 15 - Where Do I Want to Go?
First , when reflecting back on your season, it’s important to consider if you met and achieved the goals you set out to accomplish this season.  Nobody could have predicted the number of restrictions we would have faced and encountered this season.  With all the trials and obstacles in your way, how well do you think your season went?   Did you accomplish your goal(s) (yes, no, both)?    Second, when reflecting back on your goals and if you accomplished them or not, another idea to consider is did you live up to your standards?  Did you hold yourself accountable to your goals, and did you spend purposeful time during the season on completing the mundane tasks that may have been required to achieve your goal(s)?  When you look back and think about the intermediate goals (microscope goals) you set for yourself, did you do what it would take to accomplish them?   A microscope goal may have been to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, go to the trainers room when I needed to, did I ensure I completed 3 or 4 weight room sessions a week, did I watch film of my throws, etc.  Finally, I ask you to consider two final thoughts.  First, how did you expect your season to go?  What were you expecting was going to happen?  In September or October what would your ideal season look like?  How did you expect it would end?  Why did you expect it to go that way?  Second, how do you feel your season went?  Did your early season expectations manifest themselves?  Did you envision yourself standing on the first place podium at the end of the season?  Did you expect your bench press or squat numbers to increase by 10% or 15%?     Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I have written a lot about your window of excellence.  In essence, we only have a short amount of time to achieve greatness.  In this sense, the greatness I’m talking about is on the track, runway, and circle.    When you take the time to answer the questions above, I want you to be honest with yourself.  Did you achieve what you set out to do?  If you did, that is amazing and I applaud you for it.  When you think about all that you accomplished this year, what made that possible?  Now, on the flip side, if you didn’t achieve your goals, why do you think you didn’t?  What stood in your way from achieving your goals?  If you can answer these questions honestly and truthfully, you will better prepare yourself for the 2021-22 season.
August 31, 2021
Episode 14 - Talents, Skills, and More About Luis Rivera
The suggestions I’ve shared in the past are quite universal.  Get sufficient sleep (7-9hrs a night) instead of staying up playing video games or scrolling through social media until 4am.  Take advantage of the recovery protocols offered to you (especially at the collegiate level and maybe as a post-collegiate athlete as well) by visiting the athletic trainer if something doesn’t feel right, speaking to a nutritionist to discuss eating habits and proper fueling, and meeting with your strength and conditioning coach to discuss efficient recovery methods post weight room training.  Maybe sacrifice isn’t the right word in this instance.  Maybe the term sacrifice sends more negative vibes than positive ones.  If you have been watching some of the swimming and track and field Olympic Trials and listening to athlete post race interviews, you will see that they have dedicated their lives to their sport-which is why they are competing at the Olympic Trials.  Even take a listen to some of the interviews and sound bytes given by the high school age swimmers that have made the Olympic team in their respective events.  Even at the age of 15-18 they understand that they should and shouldn’t do certain things to give themselves the best chance to realize their goals.  I revisit the story I shared in the last article everyday.  At sometime during each day I’m reminded of what might have been, what could have been for the thrower I was coaching.  When athletes suggest to me they want to be an All-American or national champion I think about what the past All-Americans and national champions have sacrificed in order to achieve their unique goals.  Their individual journeys are no more unique to them than they are to those that win national titles in their respective events.  I believe that those athletes understand that they will need to do things others won’t do to achieve what others talk about but are unwilling to fully commit to.
August 24, 2021
Episode 13 - End of Year Thoughts
In this week's episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I share my end of year thoughts about our awesome 2020-21 season.  I also share a little bit about our summer programming and the importance of training while off for 3 months.
June 7, 2021
Episode 12 - How Much Effort is Enough to Meet Your Expectations?
In Episode 12 of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching podcast I discuss a wide range of topics, such as; 1. Why I started this podcast three years ago 2. How to gauge your effort in competition 3. Do you compete like you practice 4. How my coaching philosophy has evolved over the past 16 years 5. Are you all gas no brakes or do you have a rhyme and reason for each throw in practice
May 26, 2021
Episode 11 - End of Season Overview
In this week's episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I give a very detailed overview of our 2020-21 season at Alfred State.  We all overcame a lot of adversity as we traversed through this season.  I go into some detail about what that adversity was, how we overcame it, and what we will be working on as we prepare for the 2021-22 season.
May 23, 2021
Episode 10 - Proud Coach Moments from 2020-21
Welcome back to another edition of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast.  I'm your host Charles Infurna.  Episode 10 was recorded on Tuesday, May 11th, 2021.  In this episode I provide a brief recap of our 2020-21 track and field season.  We still have a few more athletes competing over the course of the next couple of weeks in the hopes of moving up the national's list, so this episode provides a brief look behind the curtain.
May 12, 2021
Episode 9 - Life, Regrets, and Windows of Excellecne
This week's episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast speaks about life, regrets, and windows of excellence.  This episode was recorded on Friday, April 30th, 2021. As I reflect upon my time as a coach, I often think about the what if's that are associated with life in general.  As the athletes I coach approach graduation, I offer some type of life experiences and some suggestions about navigating life in the post-collegiate world.  For a majority of the athletes I've coached, the last time they compete in a track meet is the last competition of their collegiate careers.  I can only count on one hand how many athletes I've coached in college that went on to compete as post-collegiate throwers.  But the suggestions about life I give I think are universal to the fact that while they (my athletes) are still young and able, they should try to get as much out of their life before they think that they need to "settle down".  Now, settling down has different meanings for everyone, however the nuggets of advice I give are based on the missed experiences of my own life. Like I tell my athletes, we make thousands of tiny decisions every day that often times will determine the outcomes of competitions later on down the road.  The little things we do or don't do today will catch up to us tomorrow, and those tiny decisions begin to compound.  As a post-collegiate student-athlete, the decisions we make might impact our lives immediately or later on down the road.  What job to accept, to buy a house or rent, buy a car or lease, etc. are some of decisions I talk to my athletes about.  I also talk about thinking about the future with retirement etc.  At the time these conversations may seem harmless or meaningless, I share my own experiences with my athletes because there may come a time when they make a decision because they feel as though they have to or because someone else thinks they have to make that decision.   I've made a lot of decisions in life because I felt I had to or because other people expected me to.  They aren't always easy decisions to make, but then again you don't realize how impactful they are until it's too late.   In this episode I discuss some of those decisions, how they impacted my life, and how they could have impacted others that have come into my life.  One of my favorite quotes from Jud Logan that compliments this episode nicely is, "Never take for granted your window of excellence."  I guess we never truly know how long our window in life will be open.  From my perspective, my window was closed before I even realized it was open.
May 5, 2021
Episode 8 - Pressure is a Privilege
In today's episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching podcast I spent some time discussing the idea that pressure is a privilege.  I first heard this expression at a sports coaching conference in June 2018.  It was mentioned in a discussion about peak performance, mindset and how athletes' thoughts control their emotions.  These positive or negative emotions would in turn cause our bodies to have a physiological response which would ultimately determine our performance(s) for that situation we would be in (sports, business, medical, etc.).
April 30, 2021
Episode 7 - Improvement and Proficiency: Can You Have Both?
What’s the Difference? If you’ve attended enough track meets in your career much like I have, you may have heard coaches and athletes or coaches and coaches discussing the topic of improvement and proficiency.  I overheard the conversation take place at the lone indoor meet we had.  The conversation wasn’t between coach and athlete, but rather between two coaches from two different teams.  To paraphrase, the conversation went something like this: Coach 1:  This is our only indoor meet of the year.  I was hoping our athletes would have consistent performances in their events. Coach 2:  Yeah, I was hoping our athletes would have improved their times from last week. Coach 1:  How many meets have you had? Coach 2:  This is our 3rd meet of the year.  With such a short season, I was hoping our athletes would make significant improvements in their main events from week to week. Coach 1:  We wanted to have more consistent performances. This conversation may sound far-fetched, but I’ve heard stuff like this a lot.  More often I’ve heard this conversation take place at either indoor or outdoor nationals.  The end goal there is to have a performance that is good enough to win, earn All-American status, and make the finals.  Not necessarily to have the best-looking technique or form. So, what’s the difference? Webster’s dictionary defines ‘improvement’ as the process of improving, having a performance that was better than your previous outcome.  ‘Proficiency’ is defined as the advancement in knowledge or a skill.  For this blog post, we want to improve upon our distance, height, or time from week to week.  We may not always set a personal best, but we want to improve upon those factors.  In the same sense, we want our technique to “look” better or become more “efficient”, thus removing some technical errors that may have existed in the past.  Essentially, we want our physical form to look better.  But an improvement in physical form may not necessarily equate to a better performance.  I use both terms quite often in practice.  Our goal there (in practice) is to improve our proficiency (technical form) because in the long-run better technique in the circle will in fact cause our distances (performances) to improve.  Does that make sense?
April 26, 2021
Episode 6 - Meet #2 Recap, Body Language, and Competition Expectations
On Sunday our team competed at the Brockport Invitational meet.  Yes, the meet was held on a Sunday.  The week of practice and preparation leading up to the meet went pretty well.  Lots of good throws in practice, the throwers’ technical efficiency improved, and we had some strong performances in the weight room.  Then the competition began. As a whole, the competition went fairly well.  We had lots of personal best and season best performances.  It was the distance of those performances that I think most of our throwers didn’t like.   In my experiences as a throwing coach, I’ve come to learn, understand and accept the fact that the best week or weeks of practice does not always necessarily translate into a great or even good performance on meet day.  Ah, why is that you may be asking.  Well, here is a conversation I had with my athletes today about just that. Coach (me): We won’t have practice today.  We’ll get back to it tomorrow.   Thrower 1:  Are we still lifting today? Coach (me):  Yes, you are still lifting, but no throwing. Thrower 2:  Thank you coach. Thrower 3:  Does anyone else feel tired, or is it just me? Coach (me):  Although the actual volume of work conducted yesterday was relatively low, the intensity was very high-hence your fatigue today. Thrower 3:  Oh, you’re a lot smarter than me coach. Coach (me):  Well, let’s not get carried away here.  I think it’s important to take into consideration that a lot of factors play a role in fatigue.  Yesterday definitely plays a huge role.  Other factors like CNS, rest, recovery, and nutrition are also critical. Thrower 3:  I just thought I didn’t sleep enough.  My brain lacks the wrinkles yours possesses. Yes, that is the actual text exchange from earlier this afternoon.  And yes, that is how I respond to my athletes in our group chat.  And even further, those factors listed above do indeed play a role in fatigue and to a greater extent, performance.  So what’s the catch??? There isn’t one really.  Our performances as athletes, and in this case throwers, is often pre-determined by the factors above.  That isn’t 100% always the case, but in my experiences the few days and certainly weeks leading up to a meet determine the likelihood of perceived athlete success or less success (failure).
April 24, 2021
Episode 5 - April 9th, 2021 Meet Recap and Picking Events
Welcome back to another episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast.  In this week's episode I spend some time providing a recap of our first outdoor meet of the season.  I also spend some time discussing the process of picking events moving forward throughout the remainder of the season.  This past Friday our Alfred State throwers competed in their first meet of the 2020-21 season.  It was also the first time in many years that Alfred State had hosted a meet.  We had great weather, great competition, and exciting performances. The meet began at 3:30pm, and all throwers were given 4 attempts per event.  We just finished up the men’s discus before dusk. The men’s competition started off with the hammer.  Overall, we had our two best performances in the hammer throw.  Freshman Nate Chambers won the competition with a throw of 48.03m.  Directly on his heels was sophomore Dylan Perlino.  Dylan threw 47.88m.  Both of those performances qualify these two athletes for our regional championships in mid-May.  These two performances also rank Nate 3rd and Dylan 4th all-time in the hammer throw at Alfred State.  Also having strong performances were freshmen Joe Hammer, Devin Gross, and Wilfredo Rodriguez.  Joe finished with a personal best of 24.05m, Devin hit 21.51m, and Wilfredo threw 17.90m. After the hammer, we transitioned to the shot-put event on the other side of the track and field complex.  As with the hammer, we had great performances here as well.  Dylan led our group with a toss of 11.17m.  Joe and Nate were right behind with tosses of 10.45m and 10.26m, respectively.  Wilfredo (9.57m), Jamison Pomroy (8.68m), and Devin (8.28m) all had personal marks. Lastly, we wrapped up with the discus portion of the competition.  Beginning right around 6:45pm, we were able to get 44 discus tosses in before dusk.  Dylan led our throwers with a mark of 37.97m.  Nate and Wilfredo were right behind with throws of 36.70m and 26.52m.  Jamison, Joe, and Devin also had solid marks of 25.29m, 24.00m, and 23.99m respectively. We began this spring semester with many unknowns.  We weren’t sure if we would have an indoor season, an outdoor season, or any seasons at all.  Beginning in January, we started having practices 2x per week from 8:30pm-10:30pm.  We made it through those late evening practice sessions and successfully transitioned to outdoor training outdoors.  There are still many unknowns left this season.  What we may have taken for granted in the past with Friday or Saturday track meets may go by the wayside.  We sit on the edge of our seats waiting for correspondence from other coaches and universities with updates about meet schedules, dates, and times.
April 13, 2021
Meet Week Preparation - 3 Strategies That Lead to Optimum Performances
Welcome back to another edition of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast.  In today's episode I share some strategies and tips that coaches and athletes can easily implement that will lead to optimum performances during competition. This will be the first meet my athletes will be competing in about 13 months.  As a coach, I emphasize three different strategies with my athletes as we begin the competitive season. 1. Meet day preparation should mimic practice day preparation; routines and rituals are your friends 2. Don't introduce new technical aspects to your throw; save those for practice 3. Pick one or two technical cues to focus on during the week that will also be emphasized during the competition
April 7, 2021
Episode 4 - Late Night Training Sessions
In this episode I share some strategies for coaches who are practicing with their athletes later in the evening.  At Alfred State, for the time being we are practicing from 8:30pm-10:30pm three nights per week.  We'll be indoors through February and probably into the middle of March.  Without an indoor season to train for, a lot of our training time is going to be spent focusing on technique and the establishment of a throwing foundation for when we are able to transition outdoors with warmer weather.
February 10, 2021
Episode 3 - Don't Give Up
One night a week my oldest son plays recreation soccer through our parks and rec department.  The age group he plays with is 7-10.  He is one of the youngest (7) on the team, but physically stands head and shoulders over most of the other kids.  There are two teams of 7 kids and each coach on the indoor field at the same time.  They begin with about 15 minutes of drill work, and then play short games (basically until one team scores).  After a goal the kids take a water break and then continue playing. I enjoy watching my son play soccer for a multitude of reasons.  It gives us a chance to get out of the house together one night a week and talk about how things are going in his 2nd grade world.  I played soccer through high school, so I have a bit of an emotional attachment to the sport and think it’s wonderful that our two oldest enjoy playing it thus far.  Plus, I just enjoy watching him participate in things he enjoys doing.  He asked to play indoor soccer, and is just finishing up his second winter session of the year.  He asked to be signed up for another indoor session which begins in early March. As the teams began playing, it was clearly evident that the other team had a couple of much more gifted soccer players on their team than our team.  If you have ever watched 7 and 8 year olds play indoor soccer you know what I’m talking about.  Most of the kids chase the ball around similar to a school of minnows swimming in the water.  But every once in a while there are a couple of really good kids that play as well, that don’t always chase the ball around the field. Tonight one young man had five opportunities to score on our team, but the combination of our goalie and defensive players caused him much frustration.  Each time he got within 10’ of the goal he would either be met with a fury of defensive players or the goalie would be quick to capitalize on the loose ball and quickly scoop it up.  Each time he didn’t score he grew more frustrated.  His body language told me that he felt defeated in the fact that he couldn’t score or get a shot off because of the defense.  He kept trying until his 6th opportunity.  It was on his 6th opportunity to score that if he would have continued with the same intensity as his first opportunity that he would have blown past the goalie and scored a goal.  On this attempt however, as soon as he kicked the ball towards the goalie, he put his head down and started running back on defense.  Well, as fate would have it, the ball rolled through our goalie’s outstretched arms and into perfect position for one of his teammates to kick the ball into the goal.  If this little man would have continued pursuing the ball after it left his right foot, he would have scored. If you have read this far, you probably can guess what I’m going to wrap-up with.  Just don’t give up on what you are doing.  Keep moving forward towards whatever goal you want to accomplish and achieve.  I think at some point in everyone’s life they wake up one day and think to themselves that this day is the day to stop because continuing towards {insert goal here} is difficult and they think they haven’t made much progress.  It’s when we reach that point that we should double down and keep moving.  Sure, failure might be part of our journey, but it doesn’t have to end our progress.  Maybe we need to take a brief pause and find peace and gratitude in the current moment.  We can think of failure as a conditioning point that strengthens our resiliency.  How we respond to failure and disappointments as we are moving towards our goal(s) is important because it is in those moments that we ultimately create the outcome(s) we are competing for.
February 6, 2021
Catching Up With World Class Triathlete Ginny Cataldi
This week I got the chance to catch up with Kona and 70.3 World Championships Ginny Cataldi. By day Ginny is a middle school Art teacher. You can also say by day Ginny is a world class Triathlete. In this episode, Ginny and I discuss: 1. Her introduction to Triathlon 2. When Ginny realized she would have a bright future in Triathlon 3. Qualifying for her first Kona World Championships 4. Relationships and Triathlon 5. Balancing teaching and training 6. How to plan out a season 7. Training through a pandemic 8. Next steps into 2021
January 25, 2021
Catching Up With World Class Mom and Triathlete Kristen Lipscomb
This week I had to catch up with world class Triathlete and super mom Kristen Lipscomb.  Kristen and I were teammates in high school (track and field).  We both competed in the throwing events, with some shorter races sprinkled in.  Since graduating from high school, Kristen has become a world class Triathlete, having qualified for the 70.3 world championships in 2020.  Besides being a world class athlete, Kristen is a wife and mom of two little ones.  Even after our interview, I still struggle with figuring out how she is able to balance a career, family, and training all through a world-wide pandemic. In this episode, Kristen and I discussed: 1. All things Webster 2. Competing in high school track and field 3. Overcoming injuries in high school 4. Making the transition to Triathlon 5. When she realized she might be a "good" Triathlete 6. Racing for two 7. Managing a work-life balance 8. The mental conditioning required to race longer distances (half and full Ironman races) 9. What goes into the physical preparation of competing in longer distances 10. Advice for those interested in competing in Triathlon
January 11, 2021
Catching Up With Pan American Gold Medalist Olympic Weightlifter Alyssa Ritchey
This week I got the chance to catch up with Pan American Games Gold Medalist Olympic Weightlifter Alyssa Ritchey.  I was so pumped to conduct this interview that we just kept on talking!  Alyssa's weightlifting credentials are amazing:   2019 Pan American Championship 2019; 1st for snatch, Clean & jerk, and total   Strongest athlete pound for pound in the history of the USA for the clean and jerk at 107kg made at Pan Americans in 2019   Pan American record holder for clean & jerk   12th at World Championships in 2018   4th at the Pan American Championships in 2018   7th at World Championship in 2017   Medalist at the 2017 Pan American Championships 3rd in total & 2nd in snatch   5th USA woman to ever clean & jerk double bodyweight in the history of the USA made Pan Americans in 2017   Alyssa is also a 4x Regional Crossfit Games competitor.  In this interview Alyssa and I discussed:   1. Her childhood and how she got her start in athletics  2. Her introduction to Olympic Weightlifting   3. Competing in Crossfit  4. Qualifying for Crossfit Regionals  5. Making the transition to only Olympic Weightlifting  6. Qualifying for her first international Olympic Weightlifting Team  7. Traveling  8. Cutting weight  9. The USA Olympic Weightlifting International Team selection process
January 4, 2021
Catching Up With Thrower Nick Ponzio
This week I got the chance to catch up with USC graduate and all-round badass thrower Nick Ponzio.  It was great conversation, one in which I realized that we have more in common besides throwing.  Nick's family came to the United States from Italy shortly after the conclusion to World War I, settled on the East Coast before finally settling in Southern California.   In this episode, Nick and I discussed:  1. Growing up Italian-American  2. Picking up the shot as a junior in high school  3. Selecting Florida  4. Making the transition to USC  5. How his family encouraged him to continue throwing post-collegiately  6. Training in Arizona with Ryan Whiting  7. Competing on the international stage  8. Finishing 4th in the world  9. Training for the 2021 season and Olympic Trials  10. Advice for others stuck at a crossroads in their lives
November 30, 2020
Catching Up With Olympic Weightlifting Master's World Champion Kristi Brewer
This week I got the chance to catch up with master's world champion Olympic weightlifter Kristi Brewer. Besides being a world champion lifter, Kristi is also a world record holder and all world wife and mom. In this episode Kristi and I discussed: 1. Her introduction to Olympic weightlifting 2. When she realized she could be a "good" lifter 3. Qualifying for USA Nationals in her first competition 4. Competing internationally 5. Managing a home/training balance with her family  6. Advice for new Olympic weightlifters 7. Making the decision to train full-time and get away from the corporate world 8. Next competition steps
November 2, 2020
Episode 2 - Your Questions Answered
In this episode I answered questions I received on Instagram.   1.  How did you end up at Alfred St.? 2.  How do you set up your practice schedule through COVID restrictions? 3.  Best ways to keep kids engaged 4.  Thoughts on missing the indoor season 5.  Keeping athletes motivated with the potential loss of the indoor and outdoor season
October 26, 2020
Episode 1 - Back to Collegiate Coaching
In this episode I discuss how I got back into collegiate coaching by becoming the throwing coach of the Alfred State Pioneers.  I also share my thoughts about coaching through restrictions, quarantine, and limited schedules.
October 20, 2020
Catching Up With YSU Throwing Coach Megan Tomei
This week I got the chance to catch up with All American thrower Megan Tomei. Megan is the current throwing coach at YSU. In her brief stint as throwing coach, Megan has already led one YSU thrower to compete on the international stage. Megan is a graduate of Ashland University where she threw under the watchful eye of Jud Logan. In this episode, Megan and I discussed: 1. How she first got involved in throwing 2. Why she decided to take her throwing talents to Ashland University 3. Overcoming injury and adversity at Ashland 4. The transition to a new coach and post-collegiate throwing 5. Maintaining a successful throwing/coach/life balance at YSU 6. Taking advantage of opportunities presented 7. What to make of training towards the 2020 Olympic Trials, now the 2021 Olympic Trials 8. Finding purpose in throwing 9. Establishing buy in with her athletes at YSU
September 22, 2020
What Is Holding You Back?
What is holding you back from accomplishing your goals?
September 6, 2020
Catching Up With All-American Thrower Dom Gonzalez
It took us about five years, but we finally scheduled this interview and got it recorded.  I've known Dom for over 10 years.  We competed against each other.  We also coached against each other.   In this episode, Dom and I discussed:   1. Competing at the collegiate level  2. Throwing in the SUNY Brockport system  3. Post-collegiate throwing  4. Coaching at the collegiate level  5. Starting a business  6. Training philosophies  7. Training with a family  8. Putting together a garage (barn) gym
August 17, 2020
Catching Up With Olympic Weightlifter and Coach Noel Leka
This week I got the chance to catch up with Olympic Weightlifter Noel Leka.  Noel is a certified USAW-Level 2 coach as well as a CrossFit L1 coach.  He is also one of the top Olympic weightlifters in the United States, having competed at the previous two Arnold Classics.  In 2019, Noel earned the silver medal in the Snatch at the US Championships.   In this episode, Noel and I discussed:   1. His introduction to Olympic Weightlifting  2. Moving to the United States at an early age  3. Playing high school sports  4. When he began taking Olympic Weightlifting seriously  5. How coaching has helped him become a better lifter  6. Competing at the Arnold Classic  7. Expectations vs. the realities of Olympic Weightlifting  8. Advice for new lifters and coaches  9. The goal-setting process for each competition  10. How to pick the right competition for you  11. What he is focused on for the remainder of 2020
July 13, 2020
Catching Up With Hillsdale College Throwing Coach Jessica Bridenthal
This week I got the chance to catch up with Hillsdale College throwing coach Jessica Bridenthal.  Jessica competed at Ashland University during her throwing career, racking up an incredible 12 All-American awards and a National Championship in the 20lb. weight throw.  After her collegiate throwing career ended, Jess set her sights on the Highland Games.  During her career as a Highland athlete, Jess won multiple world championships.   In this interview, Jess and I discussed;   1. How she got into throwing at Ashland  2. Her transition from Basketball to thrower  3. Competing for Ashland University  4. Calling Adriane Blewitt Wilson  5. Taking advantage of opportunities  6. Throwing in the Highland Games  7. Coaching and throwing  8. Traveling around the world  9. How Highland Games competition have helped with coaching throwers  10. Coaching at the collegiate level  11. Next endeavors
July 6, 2020
Catching Up With Highland Games World Champion Daniel McKim
This week I had the chance to catch up with multiple time Highland Games World Champion Daniel McKim.  In this candid and humorous interview, Dan and I spoke at great length about:   1. How he began throwing in high school  2. Making the transition to collegiate thrower  3. Not living up to expectations as a collegiate thrower (multiple nationals trips with one All-American award earned)  4. Transitioning to Highland Games  5. Realizing I might be good at this  6. How an injury helped him focus more on competition  7. What it is like to trade world championships with Matt Vincent  8. Throwing with ghosts  9. His last season as a thrower  10. Advice for new Highland Games athletes  11. Sorinex
June 23, 2020
Catching Up With Alfred State Director of Track & Field and Head S & C Coach Tim Giagios
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I got the chance to catch up with my long time friend and new Director of Track & Field and Head S & C Coach at Alfred State Tim Giagios.  I've known Tim for 20 years, dating back to our high school days in Rochester, NY.  Tim and I also competed against each other in college, Tim as an athlete at Buffalo State and myself a member of the Fredonia State Blue Devils.     In this episode Tim discusses the crazy path he has taken to secure his first head coaching position, first full time strength and conditioning position, what he has learned on the job the past couple of months, how to communicate with athletes, and what he has taken from his competing career and applied to his coaching one.  Tim joined Alfred State last January, 2019 as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.  In January, 2020 he was hired as Alfred State's director of track & field and head strength and conditioning coach.  Before joining Alfred State Tim and I were both assistant coaches at Nazareth College.  Tim began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Gates-Chili High School and as a member of the SUNY Brockport track & field coaching staff.  Tim has over 15 years of coaching and strength and conditioning experience, has coached multiple conference champions, All-Americans, and one National Champion.
June 17, 2020
Catching Up with Highland Games World Champion Adriane Blewitt Wilson - Interview 9
Adriane (Blewitt) Wilson graduated from Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio) in 2004 with a degree in Physical Education and Health. As an NCAA Division II track and field athlete, she is a 13 time All-American in the shot put, discus, hammer and 20lb. weight throw. Adriane earned 7 NCAA Div II National titles and 6 Runner Up honors. She is the former NCAA Division II record holder in the discus and still owns the national indoor and outdoor shot put NCAA Div II records. As a professional track and field thrower, Adriane competed in three US Olympic Trials (’04, ’08, ’12) in the shot put. She is the 13th American woman to throw over 60’ in the shot put. Adriane also trains for the Scottish Highland Games. She is a five-time Women’s World Champion and previously owned two world records in the 28lb. weight for height (19’ spinning) and 28lb. weight for distance (53’4”). Adriane is a PICP Level 1 coach and a certified Poliquin BioSignature practitioner. She is a Level 1 Sports Performance coach for USA Weightlifting and also a Level 1 Coach for USATF and USA Paralympics. In the past, Adriane was an Assistant Track and Field coach for the multi-events and throws and concurrently served as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator at Tiffin University. Most recently, Adriane has been chosen to coach adapted sport for our wounded, ill, and injured soldiers with Team Army at the Warrior Games (’16, ’17, ’18) and Team USA for the Invictus Games (’17, ’18). She has traveled all over the United States and internationally coaching Track and Field and Para Powerlifting.
May 11, 2020
Catching Up With SUNY Fredonia Assistant XC/Track & Field Coach Kelly Vincent - Interview 8
This week I got the chance to catch up with fellow SUNY Fredonia alum Kelly Vincent.  Kelly was a standout distance runner as a student-athlete at SUNY Fredonia.  She is on multiple all-time top 10 lists across the many distance events she competed in.  After a brief stint as the recruiting coordinator at St. John Fisher College, Kelly returned to Fredonia as a full-time assistant coach in the summer of 2019.     In this episode Kelly and I talked about:   1.  Competing at SUNY Fredonia  2.  Making the transition to coaching  3.  The dynamics between her former coach with whom she is now on the same staff with  4.  Recruiting  5.  The relationship between COVID-19 and recruiting  6.  The differences between recruiting at state schools vs. private schools  7.  Steele Hall  8.  Sunny's
May 4, 2020
Catching Up With Wisconsin-Oshkosh Throwing Coach Mary Theisen-Lappen - Interview 7
This week I caught up with Wisconsin-Oshkosh throwing coach Mary Theisen-Lappen.     In our interview this week, Mary and I discussed:  1.  Her high school throwing career  2.  Making the decision to throw in college  3.  Why she choose one college over another  4.  Post-collegiate throwing  5.  The importance of making connections in the throwing world  6.  Taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves  7.  The positive turn her weightlifting career has taken  8.  Competing at the 2020 Arnold Classic  9.  Her outlook/philosophy on coaching  10.  Advice for new throwing coaches  11.  Advice for individuals interested in taking up the sport of Olympic Weightlifting
April 27, 2020
Catching Up With 2x IPF World Powerlifting Champion Jen Millican - Interview 6
This week I got the chance to catch up with 2x IPF World Powerlifting Champion Jen Millican. In this episode Jen and I discuss how: 1. She manages a work/life balance between training 2. Working from home due to the COVID-19 virus 3. The importance of having a support system 4. Her approach to competing at the world championships 5. How visualization has positively impacted her powerlifting performances 6. The influence of social media on the world of powerlifting 7. How life changed after coming home a world champion, and; 8. Advice she has for today's powerlifters.
April 20, 2020
Catching Up With National Champion Thrower Luis Rivera - Interview 5
In this week's Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast I spent some time catching up with National Champion and 4x All-American thrower Luis Rivera.     I've known Luis for over 8 years and even I learned some new things about Luis from our chat.  In this video we discussed his story on first coming to the United States in 9th grade, how he made the decision to attend Nazareth College, being discovered, dropping a class, his collegiate career, graduate school, and finally making the decision to move to Ashland to train with Jud Logan.
April 13, 2020
Catching Up With Olympic Weightlifter Juliana Riotto-Interview 4
In this week's episode of the Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast I got the chance to speak with the 2018 Olympic Weightlifting Jr. Female Lifter of the Year Juliana (Jules) Riotto.  Julia is also the 2018 Jr. World Silver Medalist, as well as the 2018 Jr. Pan American Champion.   Juliana began her weightlifting career about 6 years ago when she won the teenage division power clean event of the Crossfit Games a few years ago.  From there she began to focus more on Olympic Weightlifting where she took the world by storm in 2018 as a junior lifter.  Now at 21, Juliana has her sights set on the 2024 Olympic Games.   In this episode Juliana shares how she got into Olympic Weightlifting, what happened with the Crossfit Open power clean competition, her initial contact with USA Weightlifting, training with Dane Miller and Garage Strength, making the decision to put college on hold, traveling all over the world to compete, how she mentally prepares for competition, and the advice she has for people who want to pursue their passions.   Juliana competes under the watchful eye of Aimee Everett and the Catalyst Athletics team.   You can learn more about Catalyst Athletics You can learn more about Garage Strength You can learn more about Earth Fed Muscle
April 6, 2020
Catching Up With Mental Performance Coach and Owner of Delta Mentality Liz Brockhouse-Interview 3
In this week's episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I had the chance to interview Mental Performance Coach and Owner of Delta Mentality Liz Brookhouse.   In this episode Liz provides us with some great examples of how to build effective relationships with our athletes, how to better keep athletes engaged, what it means to focus, mindfulness implementation, and what the future might hold for mental performance coaches interested in working with high school athletes.   Liz Brookhouse, M.S. is a Mental Performance Coach and the Founder of Delta Mentality. She has worked with athletes, coaches, and teams in various sports across all levels of competition as well as tactical populations to help build the mental toughness and resilience skills necessary for high performance. ​ She has training in sport and performance psychology, positive psychology, mindfulness, and exercise physiology which she integrates to provide a holistic, innovative approach to empower change and push the limit of human potential.
April 4, 2020
Catching Up With Akron Zip Thrower William Gross IV - Interview 2
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I caught up with Akron Zip and New York State Champion thrower William Gross IV.  I had the opportunity to work with William the summer before his senior year of high school through the indoor track & field season as William prepared for a run at winning a New York State Championship in the 25# weight throw.   William and I discussed his high school career, what it meant to win a New York State Championship, the recruiting process, selecting a college, and making the transition to Division I thrower.  William gives some great advice for up and coming throwers about being focused, having a plan, and what to look for when making the decision to select the college/university you want to attend after high school.   William is one of 6 male throwers in New York State history to throw the 25# weight over 70' and throw the 12# shot-put 50' in the same season.  William accomplished this feat in the same meet, his New York State Championship qualifier meet.   William is now completing his freshman year at Akron University.  He is a Chemical Engineering major. Click here to watch our interview on our Forza Athletics YouTube channel.
March 30, 2020
Catching up with Highland Games Professional Thrower Matt Hand - Interview 1
We came back for a second interview with Highland Games professional thrower Matt Hand.  Matt is a graduate of SUNY Brockport that has made a successful transition to the world of Highland Games.   In this episode Matt and I discuss: Nutrition for Highland competitors, Meet preparation, and; How the Corona virus has impacted his season and that other Highland athletes
March 24, 2020
Season 2020 - Episode 13 Coaching Case Study #1 Heartache and Athletic Performance-What is a Coach to Do?
This past weekend I attended a Division III track & field meet at Nazareth College.  While I was sitting in the bleachers, two coaches standing in front of me had this conversation:   Coach 1-How was conference last week?   Coach 2-Not that good.  We should have won, but didn't.   Coach 1-What happened?   Coach 2-Our best athlete didn't perform as well as he should have.  His girlfriend of 7 years broke up with him the week before and he didn't compete well.   Coach 1-Really?   Coach 2-Yeah, he competed really (insert four letter word here).  I didn't find out about his girlfriend breaking up with him until after the meet.   For all the coaches out there, should this particular athlete's heartache affect his athletic performance?  If you were his coach, how would you have handled this.  First, as this athlete's coach, do you think you should have been aware of this situation ahead of time?  Second, how would you have handled the situation if you learned about it before the conference championships?  Learning about this after the conference meet was over, would you approach the athlete and engage him in a conversation about this situation?
March 10, 2020
Season 2020 - Episode 12 Do You Really Want to be Great?
In this episode I continue to conversation from last week about re-evaluating expectations and the work it truly takes in order to move forward in a positive manner throughout your throwing journey. I do want to revisit this topic again because I think it is important to provide coaches out there with some strategies and tools they can implement when encountering situations like this.  First off, I’d like to share some feedback I received when I was working on a project a couple of years ago. The scope of my project was to ask post-collegiate throwers why they continued throwing after graduating from college.  I was really fortunate to interview three American Olympians for the project.  I cannot share their names or the events they competed in because it would give away their anonymity (and would show poor ethics on my part).   While I was conducting the interviews, I asked everyone the same follow-up question about how much time each individual spent training per week and season.  When I interviewed the Olympians, I asked them how much time they spent training for the respective event per Olympic quad.
January 27, 2020
Season 2020 - Episode 11 Re-Evaluating Expectations After Returning From Break
In re-evaluating expectations after break with my athletes, I would; 1) review their goals with them, 2) develop an action plan with them on how to get back on track, 3) input accountability metrics along the way, and 4) share with them that at least for the first couple of meets (usually through the beginning of February) to focus on the process of getting back into throwing shape and not stress or feel anxious about the distances they thought they should be throwing at this point in the season and weren’t.
January 17, 2020
Season 2020 - Episode 10 Inspired by Adriane Wilson
Last week I got a swim session in at the local YMCA with my dad.  After my swim, I sat down in the sauna.  There was a gentleman sitting there.  After a few moments we started talking about training, life, and inspiration.  I usually get anxious after sitting in the sauna at around the 30 minute mark, but on this day the time was flying by.  Before he left the sauna, he asked me what gave me the inspiration to train as much as I do at my age.  Earlier in the conversation I told him I was going to turn 38 in February and that I had three little boys.  I said to him, “What inspires me to train as much as I do?”  He said, “Yes.”  Without hesitation I told him about my friend Adriane (Blewitt) Wilson.
January 10, 2020
Season 2020 - Episode 9 Fear and Apprehension
In this week's episode I thought it would be fitting to discuss the summer of 2004.  I had just graduated from college, was enrolled in graduate school, and I was beginning my teaching career that fall.  With all the positive opportunities in my life at that time, I reflect back on how fearful and apprehensive I was to follow my dreams.  Rather than try to continue pursing my passion of throwing, I reluctantly made the decisions that everyone in my life expected of me, and here we are almost 16 years later.   This episode shares my early post-collegiate throwing story, how I got there, but more importantly where I really wanted to go.  Sitting here now and looking back to that summer, I wish I wasn't as fearful and scared to follow my dream.
January 3, 2020
Season 2020 - Episode 8 Reflections From 2019
As a coach at Forza Athletics for the past three years, I can honestly say that I have been truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with such an outstanding group of post-collegiate and high-school throwers!    This past year saw our athletes grow by leaps and bounds in the circle.  It marked the 3rd year in a row we have had a thrower accept a Division I scholarship and the 2nd year in a row we have had a male thrower in New York State join the 70' weight and 50' shot-put club during a season.  This year William was able to accomplish the feat in the same meet.  On the women's high school side, Monique Hardy won the 2019 New Balance Indoor National Championship in the 20lb. weight throw with a distance of 64'7", moving her up to 6th all-time among high school female throwers and 2nd all-time in New York State.  I appreciate everyone that has taken the time to engage with me here on social media.  It means a lot to mean that you have taken the time to watch a video, leave a comment here and on Instagram, and engage with our Forza Friday series.  I hope that the content shared with everyone is helpful, meaningful, but most importantly that you are able to apply the concepts, thoughts, and ideas discussed within your own throwing world.  Thank you!
December 29, 2019
Season 2020 Episode 7 - Making the Transition to Post-Collegiate Throwing
I asked our social media friends on Tuesday if they had any ideas about podcast episodes.  I received two great ideas from a graduate assistant throwing coach in the Mid-West.  Her first question was about making the transition to post-collegiate throwing.  In this episode, I discuss three facets I think are important when making a successful transition to post-collegiate throwing. 1.  Why do you want to continue throwing post-collegiately 2.  What sacrifices are you willing to make in order to achieve your goal(s) 3.  Do you have a support system that is as enthusiastic about you achieving your goal(s) as you are
October 25, 2019
Season 2020 - Episode 6 Goal Setting
Thank you Liz and Sean for asking great questions yesterday that I could answer on today's episode about goal setting.   Liz's question was-What's a process that actually works? SMART seems superficial/not always helpful Sean asked-When looking long term, how many short term goals are necessary to achieve your long term goal I tried my best to answer these two questions by reviewing what the SMART goal template looks like, the process I've incorporated with my collegiate and post-collegiate athletes, how I'm planning my half ironman training, and how focus plays a key factor in achieving your goals. I've written about goal setting before.  You can click the following link to read more about how I've incorporated Lou Holtz's process with my collegiate athletes I've also incorporated Jon Gordon's message about telescopes and microscopes as well.  You can read more about that by clicking here
October 21, 2019
Season 2020 - Episode 5 Your One Word for the Year
In this brief episode I ramble about coaching, expectations and professional goals for the upcoming year.  If you haven't had the chance to read Jon Gordon's book One Word, you can purchase his book by clicking this link  You read other articles I've written about being focused by clicking here and here You can learn more about Forza Athletics by visiting Instagram Twitter Use code "throw" to save on my latest book Thrower: Propelling Towards Greatness - 2nd Edition You can purchase the pdf version by clicking here
August 14, 2019
Season 2020 - Episode 4 Your Ever Changing Coaching Philosophy
We began this season by looking at our vision as a coach, why we coach, and how we want to be remembered.  Looking at Episode 3, the focus was on the end of our career's.  In this episode, I wanted to spend some time discussing how to develop your coaching philosophy.  Our philosophy will change a little bit as we move along with our coaching journey, but some of our core values will remain the same. My philosophy is to illuminate a path for my athlete's that helps them achieve their goals.  I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't always as such.  When I first began coaching my philosophy was "coach-centered".  I was more concerned with what my peers would think of me and how far my athletes threw.  That was pretty much it.  As I have traveled along in my coaching journey, I've had a paradigm shift in the way I coach.  My focus is now "athlete-centered".  I provide my athletes a lot of autonomy in regards to their training, goals, meet selection, etc.  When I first began coaching, I didn't feel comfortable with athlete input.  Now I thrive upon learning more about myself as a coach and most importantly what my athletes think and how I can better coach my athletes throughout the course of a season and their careers! What is your coaching philosophy?  Has it changed since you began coaching?  Why or why not?
August 7, 2019
Season 2020 - Episode 3 Your Legacy
It probably isn't something we think about often, but do you ever wonder what people will say about you at your 80th birthday party?  Or, has the thought of what will people say about me at my funeral come across your mind?  If you answered no, you are probably in the majority.  I'm not sure how many people think about these two questions on a daily or even regular basis, but I think about it quite often. In one of my doctorate courses we were asked to present our future legacy to the class.  We were instructed to think about the two questions above, and to provide examples of how we think we had left or would leave our legacy.  We had 30 minutes to give our presentation.  It was a surreal presentation to say the least.  My presentation was filled with tears.  Not of sadness, but of joy.  I asked four former athletes to send me a 30 second video explaining to the class the legacy they think I left upon them.  I didn't watch the video's until class that night.  It was a big chance, but I wanted my expression to be genuine.  I think we all do, don't we? My homework for those of you that listened to this episode.  On a 3x5 index card, write down what you think your coaching legacy will be.  Be as detailed as possible.  Second, after you have written down your legacy thoughts, under each one provide an example or two that suggests you might really be left with this legacy.  This is your opportunity to share all the good things you perceive to have done during your time as a coach.  You don't need to show anyone anything, but be honest with yourself.  How do you think people will remember you?  They may forget all about the awards and championships, but I'm positive they won't forget how you made them feel.
July 31, 2019
Season 2020 - Episode 2 Now Your "What"
In our first episode of Season 2020 I discussed what it means to find your purpose, North Star, or why.  There are many terms used by many different social influencers out there, so you can decipher for yourself which term you most prefer. When you understand your purpose for doing what you do, it'll make doing your What so much more rewarding for you.  In my example, my purpose is to propel athletes into leaving their positive mark on the world.  I am able to guide and mentor athletes by meeting them at speaking engagements, via social media (on-line coaching), and in person coaching.   My what is the coaching itself!  It is one of the most rewarding experiences I get to enjoy everyday.  I don't consider coaching a job.  It is a passion of mine that I have had for a very long time.  In some cases, the two hours I spend coaching my collegiate and high school athletes is the best part of my day (on-top of the time I get to spend with my family at home).   Now the question is up to you, how does your passion and why fuel your what?  If those two elements don't line up, what can you do about that?  In this episode I provide some tips and suggestions for you that are easily transferable to other parts of your life besides just coaching and working with high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate athletes.
July 30, 2019
Season 2020-Episode 1 “Why”
If you are a coach or athlete, deep down we all have a reason or purpose for doing the things we do. Some may be fueled by external validation or acknowledgement. Others may coach or compete for the love of it. All of us have a reason why we do what we do. What is your why? Why do you coach? Why do you compete?
July 29, 2019
Thrower 2nd Edition Book Release
It has been quite a long time since I last recorded a podcast!  What better way to come back into the fold by sharing some information about the release of my second book Thrower: Propelling Towards Greatness - 2nd Edition.  I've included two traits in this edition that really provide some perspective on what it really means to take your throwing to the next level; being able to seize the moment and what it means to be mentally tough.  Proceeds from book purchases help support our post-collegiate throwers making the push to qualify for and compete in the 2020 Olympic Trials.  You can purchase your copy by clicking the following link
July 29, 2019
Forza Athletics Interview #3 with 2x Division II National Champion Thrower Mel Herl
Mel Herl is a 2x Division II National Champion and multiple time All-American.  Not only is she a decorated thrower, but an exceptional Olympic weightlifter as well.  In our 3rd interview, Mel discussed;   1. Her late start to throwing at the high school level  2. The transition to collegiate throwing at the Division II level  3. How the relationship with her coach played a role in her throwing performance(s)  4. Graduating from college and figuring out what to do next  5. Throwing at the USA Indoor and Outdoor National Championships  6. Making the transition to post-collegiate throwing  7. Finding a new coach  8. Trying Olympic weightlifting  9. Moving across the country multiple times  10. Making the transition to coaching, and;  11. Advice for post-collegiate athletes
March 23, 2019
Interview #2 with Professional Highland Games Thrower Matt Hand
I had the honor to spend some time discussing throwing, training, and the work/life balance with Highland Games Professional Thrower Matt Hand.  Matt has been involved with the Highland Games for over 15 years.  In this episode he discusses how he got into throwing, training at two different colleges, making the transition to the Highland Games, turning pro, competing around the world, while balancing everything will a full-time job.    Matt lives in Corning, NY, and offers coaching and clinics throughout the year.  You can contact Matt directly through social media on Twitter and Instagram @MattHandThrows.    Even though I've known Matt for a very long time, I learned some new things today about him, how he plans his programming, and what he 5-15 year plan is for growing the Highland Games.
March 13, 2019
Podcast Interview #1 with Portage Northern High School Throwing Coach Sean Foulkes
I had the great pleasure and honor to spend some time speaking with Sean Foulkes.  He is an amazing throwing coach at Portage Northern High School located in Michigan.  In his brief time there, he has coached a multitude of great shot-put, discus, hammer, and weight throwers.   In this episode we spend some time discussing how he got into coaching, what it's like to coach 30-40 throwers in one session, bringing kids together, culture, buy-in, and his coaching philosophy.  I learned a lot from Sean.  I know you will as well!
March 8, 2019
Reevaluating Expectations 2
Reevaluating Expectations 2
February 26, 2019
Values and Conference Championships
Values and Conference Championships
February 26, 2019
I had the opportunity to speak to student-athletes at SUNY Fredonia on Sunday, February 17th.  During my presentation, one of the students asked me a question about how I had got to where I was in my professional life.  I thought for a moment, and it ultimately came down to one decision I made while I was in graduate school.  I received a phone call while I was working from our then current athletic director at SUNY Fredonia.  The decision I made on the phone with him has led me to where I am today.  Be sure to listen and find out what that decision was.
February 21, 2019
Defining Your Team's Culture
Everyone once in awhile I'll get asked by another coach how we 'do' things at Nazareth College.  Up until a couple of years ago, I never gave that much thought.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize the importance of having a strong team culture was until we didn't have one. Looking for a fresh start with my group of throwers this season, I wrote them all a letter in July.  In that letter, I asked them to think about three things: 1.  What their expectations of themselves were going to be for the season 2. What their expectations of me as their coach were, and; 3. What their expectations of their teammates were going to be Those three questions helped establish our team's culture.  Take a listen as I go into much more detail about our three questions and how they have helped shape the group of throwers we have at Nazareth College.
February 12, 2019
Fall Visions and Beyond
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life & Coaching podcast I share my thoughts of what our throwers expect to learn and be able to do by our first meet in December. At practice yesterday I asked each thrower to share their thoughts about what they hope to be able to do by our first meet, which is on December 6th. Not one thrower made reference to a specific distance they wanted to throw. This is a proud coach moment for me because in the past athletes would solely focus on outcomes, rather than process. A common theme that my throwers shared was about developing a pre-meet routine that would help them stay more focused and in the moment. I share some tips that I shared with my throwers yesterday.
November 9, 2018
Deliberate Practice-What Does it Really Mean?
In this episode, I discuss deliberate practice. You may have heard the term in the past, but do you really know what it means? In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth goes into great detail sharing her research about the topic and how it can be applied to pretty much any endeavor you wish to get more proficient in. The cycle of deliberate practice has four steps. They are: 1. Set a goal 2. Put forth 100% focus on that goal 3. Get feedback from your coach, and; 4. Implement that feedback until you reach your goal It sounds pretty simple, but how often do we as coaches give our athletes 101 cues or things to focus on during a throw? I've been guilty of that in the past as well. What Angela's research suggests is that focusing on one thing at a time will help us achieve our goals sooner and more efficiently. It is important for coaches and athletes to spend time and discuss individual goals, specific things to focus on during practice, and how we can become more efficient throwers. Spending time on one aspect of the throw at a time will help us get there faster than worrying about 10 facets of the throw at a time.
November 2, 2018
2018-19 Season Expectations
In episode 22 of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I review the 4 yearly expectations I discuss with my collegiate throwers to ensure us the best possible opportunity to have a safe, successful, and rewarding season. The 4 expectations I review with my throwers on a daily/weekly basis are: 1. Everyone will give their best effort everyday 2. We will support each other throughout the season 3. Hold yourself and your teammates accountable, and; 4. Always represent yourself and Nazareth College with respect and dignity (Do what is right, avoid what is wrong – Lou Holtz) As a whole track & field program at Nazareth, we have 9 team expectations that we discuss with all of our athletes at the beginning of the season. We revert back to our team expectations if as a coaching staff we feel someone is not meeting them. I focus on the 4 above because I feel those are the one's that have the most direct relationship with throwing.
October 30, 2018
Make Your Athletes A Part of the Yearly Process
In this episode of the Forza Athletics Life and Coaching Podcast I discuss a few ways coaches can better involve athletes in the yearly goal-setting process. Engagement is paramount. As coaches, we need to be able to engage our athletes, especially in long track & field seasons. It's important for us to engage our athletes as best we can to give them ownership in the yearly process.
October 24, 2018
Thrower: Propelling Towards Greatness Ebook Overview
In this episode of our podcast, I review the contents of my latest book release-Thrower: Propelling Towards Greatness. My intention behind this book is to help coaches and athletes bridge the gap between goals, accountability, and expectations. For coaches, this book will assist you in creating a culture and environment that will provide your athletes the best opportunity to be successful. You will be able to better communicate and engage your athletes in devising plans that will propel them towards realizing their vision(s). Athletes, this book will help you be more accountable to your commitments and vision. Everyone wants to throw far, but what are you willing to do and sacrifice in order to reach your goals. This book will act as a guide that you will be able to follow throughout this season, and be able to reflect back on in the future. I provide a recap of the: 1. Introduction 2. 7 Traits and Activities 3. Practice Log, and; 4. Competition Journey You can purchase a copy of Thrower by visiting
October 21, 2018
Recap of the 2017-18 Season
Latest episode of The Forza Athletics Life & Coaching Podcast
August 11, 2018
What it Takes to be a Great Thrower - Having a Vision
On our latest episode, I introduce the first trait that the best of the best throwers possess - a vision. They have a vision and plan set out for themselves. In some instances, the vision may be to accomplish a shorter-term goal, like qualify for a conference championship. For others, however, the vision may be to one day become a national champion. When we are able to see see or visualize where we want to be in one, five, or ten years, we are then able to define our commitments and how we will hold ourselves accountable to achieving that goal and realizing our vision. A vision without a plan to get there is still just a vision.
June 1, 2018
What Makes Great Throwers?
Over the course of the next few weeks I'm going to spend more time discussing my thoughts about what it takes to be a great thrower. I'm going to be speaking from my experiences as a coach and what I've learned from Olympic throwers, their coaches, and their support systems. In this episode I ask the question, what makes great throwers?
May 26, 2018
Recap of the 2017-18 Season - Part 1
As with any new season, coaches and athletes alike are filled with hope, new goals, and expectations. In this episode I discuss how coaches and athletes need to hold each other accountable to their expectations.
May 14, 2018
Dream Chasers
April 20, 2018
Forza Athletics Mission
Our Mission \u2022 Mission 2 \u2022 Mission 3 \u2022 Mission 4
February 13, 2018
Buying In
What does buying in look like \u2022 Buying In Part 2 \u2022 Buying In Part 3: Families \u2022 Buying In Part 4: Concluding Remarks
February 12, 2018
Coach-Athlete Relationships
Relationships \u2022 Relationships 2 \u2022 Relationships 3
January 28, 2018
Coaching Philosophy-Part 1
Autonomy \u2022 Accountability 1 \u2022 Answers
January 27, 2018
Cultivating Athletes
In this brief episode, I speak about the notion of cultivating athletes at the collegiate level. When selecting a college to attend, one of the topics worth looking into would be how much better do athletes get while enrolled at that college. Are coaches developing athletes and making them considerably better, or are they maintaining those athletes?
January 25, 2018
Recruiting 1 \u2022 Recruiting 2 \u2022 Recruiting 3
January 24, 2018
Realistic Expectations
Expectations \u2022 Expectations 2 \u2022 Expectations 3
January 24, 2018
Control and Self-Efficacy
Coaching Part 2 \u2022 Commitments \u2022 Accountability \u2022 Self-Efficacy of Our Athletes
January 23, 2018
Background About Coaching
Routine and Rituals \u2022 Control \u2022 Coach Life \u2022 You never know
January 23, 2018
Winning vs. Goal-Achievement
Winning vs. Goal-Achievement-What is Important to You?
January 22, 2018
Introduction About Coaching
Introduction About Coaching
January 22, 2018