Michelle Carter achieved a lifelong ambition in the women's shot put at the 2016 Rio Olympics, unleashing a throw of 20.63m in the final round to take gold. Seven months on from that historic night, the American shares her top tips for life in and out of the throwing circle.
The people may change, the venue may change but the ring, shot and track stay the same. It was my dad (Michael Carter, the 1984 Olympic men’s shot put silver medallist) who first told me this. I would put pressure on myself because it was a championship. But the facts are facts. The shot is the same and the ring is the same. At championship time, I should treat it no differently.
Set your end goals, then set small goals as your plan to attack your main goal. Over the years I noticed when I set small goals it felt like I accomplished more than when I was purely focusing on the big goal and not making it. I would feel defeated. But having multiple check points and checking them off the list helps motivate me to keep going, because that way I’m making progress.
Positive self-talk – you have to build yourself up by speaking positively about you to yourself. The Bible says: the words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12.18) I believe it’s true, so why would I pierce myself? The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results. I decided that I am not insane and I needed to change my words to bring healing to myself and build myself up.
You have to trust your coach [Carter is coached by her father, Michael]. There were times I didn’t trust my dad because I couldn’t see the big picture. As I started to understand what was going on and seeing the results I learned to trust him. He is in charge of the big picture while I attack what’s right in front me.