I am pleased to bring you our first "FRONT PAGE" feature, an interview with Scott Cappos, University of Iowa throws coach, and former Canadian shotput champion. Scott is an occasional poster in THE RING. I want to thank Scott for taking some of his time to share some thoughts and information with our visitors!!!
Long & STRONG: Scott, give our visitors some background information on yourself.
Scott Cappos: Athlete: high school state champion IL (Oak Lawn)1987-63-10" Indiana University; 3 time All-American, 2 time Big 10 Champion Canadian National Champion: 5 times 1991 World University Games-8th 1992 Canadian Olympic Trials Champion 1994 Commonwealth Games-5th 1995 Pan American Games-6th Personal Best: 62'10"
Coach: Lyons Township High School, LaGrange, IL 1992 West Salem High School, West Salem, WI 1993-94 Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 1995-96 University of Iowa 1997
Coached 5 All-Americans, 1 Big Ten Champion, 10 Mid-American Conference Champions and 15 Central Colliegate Conference Champions in the field events and deca.
L&S: You first came to my attention in THE RING, with a mention of a 50' standing throw, a relatively modest figure in comparison to a 62' spin. What do you consider the key elements of your rotational style?
SC: I feel I throw much further from the spin because of torque and speed. I stay low and try and create torque as soon as my right foot hits the middle and lifting as soon as the left foot touches in the front of the ring. I never had perfect technique but felt my torque and speed created good results.
L&S: Being a Canadian, tell our visitors some of the differences (weather, etc.) for throwers north of the border.
SC: I lived in Canada only a short time but was naturalized because my father was Canadian. I lived there when I was very young and trained there many summers. The big difference is a large club program and it helps support athletes after college and the younger athletes. However, the university system doesn't offer scholarships and doesn't have outdoor track since the season starts in June. The high school and clubs are very good, but I recommend an American school for college for athletes that don't live near a university or are at a very high level and need more than a Canadian school can offer.
L&S: You recently made the move to Iowa from Western Michigan. What do you forsee for the throwing program there?
SC: I moved here in December. I hope it will be outstanding, if athletes don't mind snow- it is a perfect setting. The Big 10 is a high level of track and field and can't offer scholarships as much as I would like to developing athletes. I believe in potentional but I need results for scholarships. I had an athlete throw 54' for 8th in the conference, a good throw and a 4 foot improvement from last season. I see big improvements for the athletes in the program and those athletes that will attend the school.
L&S: As a coach, what advice would you give athletes making the transition to college programs?
SC: Work on specific strength, boys should throw alot of 14lb. to make an easier transition, stay active in the summers and throw in those small summer meets. It can help to get stronger and work on olympic lifting. Good strength levels for a high school athlete entering college are: snatch 200-225, clean 250-275, bench 350-375 and squat 450-500. These numbers are only some of the factors to throw far, speed and explosive power need to be worked on just as much. And read as much as you can on the event and try new things that are not too crazy.
L&S: What advice would you give to throwers who don't have access to good coaching?
SC: Read and videotape yourself and compare to top throwers. Send your videos to good coaches, there are good high school and college coaches that are very helpful. I was coached by George Dunn, Jr. author of the Throws Manual, a great book for technique and training ideas. It has everything you need to have an outlook on how to train and its up to the athlete to do the work.
L&S: What exercises are the core of your athlete's strength training?
SC: Olympic lift first and in every workout: Snatch, Cleans, Pulls and Presses, read up and do a variety of movements. Squats: including pause squats, 1/2 squats for speed, front squats. Bench: Incline, Speed Bench and Eccentric Benches.
These are the basics and include: 8-15 sets of olympics and 8-10 sets of bench and squats in the off-season. Reduce volume in half for in-season work. To peak- figure out works best for you. I like heavy lifts up until two weeks before the meet and then do speed work. This is very basic, I would read up and experiment to see what the individual responds to best.
L&S: Outside of weights, what other types of training do you recommend?
SC: Plyometrics: jumps and medicine ball usually 100-125 jumps and 50-75 easy throws and 30-50 hard throws in a workout twice a week with a medicine ball. Sprints from 20m to 100m 3-4 times a week. Games in the off-season like basketball and racquetball are a big help. Also swimming and stairs are fun for a variety. Specific strength is a huge factor on off-lifting days, including heavy and light throws of all kind.
L&S: Do you have any plans to return to competition?
SC: I probably will not throw again, my elbow has been hurting and can't seem to get healthy. I had problems since I was 12 years old, throwing curve balls in baseball when I was young.
L&S: Any other advice to offer high school athletes?
SC: I hope this helps developing athletes for training ideas on what it takes to be successful. There are many good programs but beware of the non-throwing programs which far out number the good programs. Read up and ask about the athletes in the school and visit the school, much sure it is what you want. Check meet results on the web and check on the coaches prior success. There is nothing worse than being the only thrower on the team and no one to coach you, but some athletes do this because they may get a scholarship at that type of school. Is it better to be successful or have a scholarship?
E-mail Scott Cappos
University of Iowa Track
Thanks again to Scott for giving something back!!!