Rome Olympic Shot Champion
Dave Dumble is building a desert dynasty
Rachel Yurkovich stayed in-state to pursue her dream
KEEP THAT SPRING
Rediscovering the Olympic lifts
For the strength athlete
BALLISTICS OR BALONEY?
Increasing strength and power
BREAKING DOWN BONDARCHUK
A pupil’s perspective
REFLECTIONS OF A MASTER
An interview with Anatoly Bondarchuk
Lining up the javelin
IS THIS GUY FOR REAL?
Sharing his love for the spear
NEWS & NOTES
From around the throwing world
By Joe Napoli
Editor’s Note: I asked Joe Napoli, the founder and coach of the World’s Longest Throws Club (NJ) to give Long & Strong a glimpse into the impressive work his youth throws club is doing. My hope is that it will inspire readers to follow in his footsteps.
By our senior year my teammates (Sal Della Croce, Tom Salzano) and I dominated the east coast, and Sal and I were ranked nationally in both shot and discus. Della Croce (63’/175’), Napoli (60’/180’), Salzano (56’/145’) - needless to say, we had very intimidating 2 and 3-man relays. We also had 3 others over 50’ in the shot. Yes, it’s great to win school championships, individual titles and break records, but what I will remember the most and the major factor that impacted my career from my high school days, is the stuff people do not see. The tireless training we did both before and after school, the constant technical drilling and the confidence that our coaches had in us to succeed.
I was recruited by several Division I schools offering full scholarships, but ultimately chose Kent State University to continue my throwing career. I immediately made a connection with the coaches (Orin Richburg, Al Schoterman) and knew that KSU could give me what I was looking for. Under the tutelage of throws coach Schoterman (‘72 Olympian, NCAA champion in the hammer), I went on to capture 4 Mid American Conference titles (3 Discus, 1 Shot put) and had personal best throws of 57’-11"/185’-4" at KSU. Because of my athleticism, I was also called upon to help score points for the team in the hammer (185’-0"), 35lb weight (59’-10") and javelin (207’-11"). We were also very fortunate to have many top athletes come train with us, especially Kent alum Jud Logan. Jud went on to become a four-time Olympian and American Record holder in the hammer, and helped to give us a sense of what it would be like to compete at the next level. As you can see, it has become somewhat evident that I have been blessed to have had such inspirational people in my life. My program is built around all I have experienced and learned during my 30 years as a thrower. Now I can pass it on as a coach.
The club was designed and structured so kids could train on a regular basis and attend USATF Junior Olympic and open competitions throughout the summer months. The summer season is the heart of the club and we train from the middle of May to the end of July. With over 25 kids in the program, I want to give them as much individual attention as possible so I break up the training into smaller groups based upon event and skill level. Each group meets 2-3 times per week, and we work on conditioning for the throws as well as lots of throwing and technical drills. Each group throws training session is 3 hours long (shot/discus/javelin) and consists of throwing and technical drills both in and out of the circle and on the runway. Hammer training is always held on separate days, and only for those that are committed to the event. Conditioning training sessions are 2 hours long and we meet once per week as a team. These conditioning sessions include: 2 lap warm-up run; stretching, both static and dynamic; plyometric routine; medicine ball circuit; box and hurdle jumps; agility and body awareness drills; weighted explosion and power exercises and finally speed work. Weight lifting and strength training exercises are done on off days when their throws groups do not meet. Because of the success we’ve had with the summer program and the athlete’s eagerness to keep learning and growing athletically, I began to have training sessions on the weekends beyond my regular summer schedule.
Most athletes I train range in age from 13-18, but I also have others at the college level, and even Masters. Although I love to train athletes of all ages I think the best time to start preparing for the throws is in junior high school. At this age we must educate our youth and start building athleticism. Body awareness and learning how their bodies work and move in motion are by far the most important factors. Fitness testing must also be an integral part of a successful training program. Athletes need to learn the importance of challenging themselves through a variety of different tests that must be preformed on a regular basis.
Examples: Standing Long Jump; Standing Vertical Jump; Standing Triple Jump; Standing 3 & 5 Hop; 30m sprint forward/backward; Medicine Ball throws; Underhand forward; Overhead backward; 2 hand chest. How can we expect young athletes to throw heavy implements when they do not even know what their bodies are capable of achieving? Once some type of athleticism is mastered, technique can now be introduced and worked into the program.
The club does not receive any funding or sponsorships; however, I do charge a nominal membership fee. Club members are also responsible for their own entry fees and any travel/lodging expenses. Since the WLTC-NJ is sanctioned by USATF, all athletes must be USATF members.
The Future of Youth Throwing
I have been very fortunate in my life to have had so many extremely knowledgeable and caring coaches that helped mold me into the person I am today and now it’s my turn to give back what was thrust upon me. Thank you all.
For more information, you can contact Joe Napoli and the Worlds Longest Throw Club-NJ via their website at: www.wltcnj.com. You can learn more abou the NTCA at: