The LONG & STRONG PAGE is pleased to present an interview with one the most promising young throwers in the world, disc-man JASON TUNKS. Jason was the NCAA runner-up in '96, part of an amazing 2-3-4 finish for SMU. He has been out over 210' already this spring. Jason is Canadian, and a frequent poster to THE RING website.
LS: Jason, can you give our visitors a little background information on yourself?
JT: I started to throw when I was about 15. My coach and myself had little knowledge about throwing, so it was learning experience for us both.
LS: Can you give us your throwing progression (marks and titles) from high school up to the present?
1997 shot 19.07m...disc-65.20m
LS: Tell us a little about the throwing scene north of the border.
JT: Throwing in Canada is pretty weak, right now, but there a couple of younger guys with potential. There is basically just me and my friend Brad Snyder (19.70m) a shot putter.
LS: Can you take us through a competition throw (discus) from a mental standpoint?
JT: I just think about getting my right leg off the ground, before I start any thing else in the throw. More recently I tell myself to throw 65m(!) or more.
LS: What are some of your more frequent technical breakdowns and how do you remedy them?
JT: I really only have one thing that comes back alot and that is my right leg pick up...when it is slow, I throw 60-61m. When I get it up I throw 63-67m (practice throws of course) If I am having a tough time I just keep trying to pick it up.
LS: You mentioned "picking up the right leg". I am assuming that you are right handed. Are you referring to the first turn (out of the back of the circle) during the sprint phase to the middle? Specifically, how does the right leg affect your throw?
JT: I do not really consider it a sprint. I try to get the right leg up so I can have a nice wide swing and attack the middle, from the side...this allows your body the time it needs to get both feet down.
LS: What type of disc do you prefer and why?
JT: I have been throwing the Cantabrian, and I recently got a Pacer. I also have a Denfi, but I prefer the Cantabrian, just because I have used it for so long.
LS: Do you use any variable weight discs?
JT: At the end of the year I will start to use the 1.6KG for some speed work, but that is about it.
LS: Do you use the glide or spin in the shot? Does that choice have any thing to do with your height (6'7")? What do you focus on technique-wise?
JT: I am a glider, because of my height. As far a technique goes, I can't really say as I do not practice it.
LS: What are some of your max lifts?
CLEAN-140kg BENCH-201kg SQUAT-282kg PUSH JERK-135kg
LS: If you had to pick only one weightlifting exercise to perform, what would it be?
JT: I think I would pick the clean. I just recently started it so I know it is an explosive lift.....therefore it will help the most.
LS: If you had to pick only one NON-weightlifting exercise, what would it be?
JT: I assume you mean besides throwing also. I do sprints and strides and hurdle hops, so I would continue to do those.
LS: Hurdle hops are a great plyometric exercise. In a particular workout, how are they structured (ex.- 8 sets of eight hurdles, 42" high, 2 times per week). How far out from a major meet do you cut out plyometrics?
JT: I do 6 sets of 5 hurdles at 45" twice a week. I do not know when I will cut them out. I assume a week before worlds.
LS: Where do you think you have the most room for improvement?
JT: It is hard to say. I am positive I can throw 70m, when is the question. Room for improvement comes in the weight room and the circle, it is going to all around. I can't give a certain area.
LS: Are there any other names from Canada we should be looking for in the near future?
JT: There is a good group of youngsters. A couple are Cory Trudeau and Scott Russell.
LS: What are your post-collegiate plans?
JT: I plan to throw for as long as possible. I love throwing. I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else!
LS: Any words of advice to prep throwers getting ready for college?
JT: MAKE SURE THE PROGRAM FITS YOU, NOT YOU FITTING THE PROGRAM. What I mean by that is: the school and throwers, are they going to push you to a new level or is the coach saying things to make it sound good. Ask questions, about everything and anything! SMU is the best training group in the country for me, at the level I am at!
Much thanks to Jason and best wishes to him for future success on the international scene!!!