Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser started his 2017 season where he left off in 2016. The American hurled the shot over 22 metres on four occasions in the same meet last month, setting a world-leading 22.15m mark. Here he shares some valuable advice. Better pay attention.
The biggest thing for performing at a major championship is preparation. If you have prepared well for a whole year and given your best in every single workout, then this will give you the confidence and ability to perform when it counts.
Another tip I would give for performing well at a major championship is to go through different scenarios in training. I visualise my last throw in training sessions as if it was the sixth round of a major championship and my last chance to win gold. This helps you perform under pressure.
It’s funny, my favourite throw used to be Ulf Timmermann’s Olympic record of 22.47m and I used to go through the scenarios with my father [and coach] of trying to beat it. So when I set an Olympic record of 22.52m [in Rio], in my mind I had already broken that record a thousand times.
I would say for younger athletes don’t move away from the glide [technique] too early as it teaches you the fundamentals and some elements that the spin [technique] tends to overlook.
I believe my success as a spinner is due in large part to being a glider for almost ten years.
Make sure you get away from track and field in your vacation time. It is important to have that break and make sure you do something else during that time off that you really enjoy doing.
It is important for athletes to figure out things on their own. A lot of my biggest technical breakthroughs have come on throwing days when I have thrown by myself. This has allowed me to understand better my throw on a personal level.
Tip for surviving the athletics circuit
The best thing for me has been keeping a travel journal. In this I record the days when I have travelled. When I have felt good and bad, what I’d done training-wise, how my body has responded to the flight, how much food and water I need and what I need in terms of sleep the night I arrive.
For example, for me personally, by keeping the journal I know travelling backwards in time works better for my body.
Get a little practice driving on the other side of the road! I have recently been to New Zealand to compete and I had a steep learning curve driving on the left-hand side of the road.
I cook a lot and I’m always trying to gain weight. For me, it is all about a fast and easy meal that is relatively healthy and in large portions!
Top tip from parents
They always motivated me to set goals. This was not always about setting the “Holy Grail” in terms of goals, but about setting goals daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and even setting goals in the longer term. I guess this also taught me the importance of learning that everything comes in a certain order.
I’m a big fan of visualisation. Every night when I’m lying in bed, I normally visualise six throws in my head. Each one I would try to do as close to perfection as possible and each one better than the other.
Visualising in your mind can help you achieve your goals when it comes to competing.
Always wear comfortable clothes when travelling. It’s nice to be comfortable when travelling rather than dressing too fashionably.
Social media tip
I’m not that big on Twitter or Facebook, but I like Instagram. I would say, if you want to grow followers post daily and post things that are relevant. Don’t try and be something you’re not. Be true to yourself.
I’ve been in a relationship for a couple of years, so I’m out of the game a bit, but try to find somebody who makes you happy and you make them happy. I see lots of people in relationships or on dates with people who clearly aren’t for them. I would also say, don’t be afraid to be single as it is important to figure out who you are as well.