Commentary

Throwing events get a shot

Updated: August 12, 2009, 2:11 PM ET
By Corey Abernathy | Special to ESPNRISE.com

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[+] EnlargeCorey Abernathy
Courtesy of Corey Abernathy Corey Abernathy has worked in the weight room in the offseason to help improve at the shot put.

PLAINSBORO, N.J. -- Some people know field events like throwing - shot put, discus hammer and javelin - as very exciting and very strategic events. Others think of the throwing events as easy, boring and pointless. But those people don't understand how much work most throwers put into the form, the strength and the distance for whichever event they do.

I have thrown long enough to consider myself an experienced thrower, and when I looked back over the years and I realized that once I started high school I really put almost all of my time working harder to become one of the best shot put throwers.

I've been doing Olympic lifts (power cleans, hang clean, bench, etc.) for almost a year now and my distance has really improved. Sophomore year, my best throw for shot was 48 feet, then during football season junior year I had an injury with my left shoulder (not my dominant arm), and I wasn't able to train for three months. Once winter track started, I worked harder than most throwers just to catch up with the other athletes. And when spring season came I was at my best. I was consistent and throwing near 58 feet, 8 inches. Not as exciting as Nick Vena throwing 72-8, but how many people jump up 10 feet in one year?

Even after my best throw during a meet I'm still working hard and improving more than most shot putters do in three years. Even if throwing is considered an easy event, throwers really know how tough we are and how much help we can give our team.

At my school (West Windsor Plainsboro High School North) everyone focuses mainly on the distance runners (Jim Rosa, Joe Rosa, Tyler Corkdale, Ryan Sleeper) and our sprinter (Sean Reed), but after my improvements in the shot it seems like the throwers are now given their time to shine.

[+] EnlargeCorey Abernathy
Courtesy of Corey Abernathy Abernathy says the mental aspect of throwing is one of the toughest parts of the sport.

I throw because I love throwing, and it makes me feel better that I made a point that it's not easy doing something most people don't exactly achieve everyday.

In New Jersey, we have some TOUGH throwers! I mentioned Nick Vena. He will now be a junior and he's No. 1 in the country. He's one of a kind. He's practiced longer than any high school thrower I've ever met. He really sets a great example of hard work. I'm excited to throw against him because he's the top guy to beat. It shows how tough most throwers are. They are up for the challenge. To show who the best really is, who's worked the hardest, who really deserves that gold medal.

The energy of the crowd is what excites the next thrower to do better. Being able to take that energy and pump yourself and actually hit a mark you've never hit before, that is what makes throwing so exciting. You don't know who might come up and knock out the top dogs.

And the other part that is tough is the mental aspect of throwing. You can physically be ready for each throw, but can you handle the pressure mentally? That's one of the toughest things I've encountered over the years. Knowing that I have one more year of high school, track makes me want to really give it my all, do more than I know I can do.

My lifts went up, my distance really went up and my competition is up there too. The tough part about being a good thrower is that it's so difficult to be perfect in these events and stay consistent.

Corey Abernathy throws shot put for West Windsor Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, N.J.
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