Reigning Olympic javelin champion Thomas Rohler joined the illustrious 90-metre-club last summer. The German shares some of his best pieces of training, competition and lifestyle advice.
‘Just do it, because you have done it before’ – by this I mean try not to be fazed by the competition and just perform as you have done in the past. This is a skill I needed to learn over time. I was not really a championship athlete from the beginning.
When you compete at a worlds or a Europeans the name is special, but you have to remember that the competition is the same. It is important to block out the size of the competition and treat it like any other.
The competition is never over until the sixth attempt. To believe in this sometimes helps me reach peak performance like in Ostrava last year when I went from third to first with my final throw.
The philosophy of the training group is to ‘steal with our eyes from everyone and everywhere’. By this I mean we can learn from everyone and every sport and apply it to our own sport.
At the moment, I’m looking to the sport of gymnastics to aid my training, although which sport and which techniques I look at changes all the time depending on the training period.
It came from Andreas Thorkildsen’s coach during a training camp in Norway when he said they worked a lot on targeting. He meant targeting something on the horizon, like a tree, to enable the thrower to release at the right angle. It is something we have applied to our training.
I learned from my girlfriend – thanks to her Italian roots – how to make homemade pasta. It is always nice to eat something handmade!
I think it is what every grandparent says, ‘make sure you dress warm enough in winter’.
Best tip for surviving the athletics circuit
Enjoy it and have fun. Also, learn to enjoy travelling. Some athletes don’t like travel, but you need to get used to it as an elite athlete.
I learned from my driving teacher, who was also a bus driver at the time, to brake comfortably for your passengers.
My coach always says ‘there are no limits; keep your mind open to allow you to reach peak performance’. I know between the European Championships in Amsterdam last year and the Rio Olympics I had to keep a very positive mindset because I picked up and injury, which restricted my ability to train.
I sat next to someone on a plane once, who said Croatia was a super-nice place to visit. I’ve yet to take him up on the advice, but one day I will do.
Social media tip
I think it is always important to give people the chance to look behind the scenes of what we do. Many people only see us in competition, but it is all the behind-the-scenes work, which makes our journey so interesting.
Think first and then act. That is how my parents raised me. Don’t rush into doing anything.
Everyone should follow their heart.