Youcef’s Phoenix adventure!

Our Athletics Scholar and Shot Putter, Youcef Zatat, has recently returned from a two week trip to the World Athletics Centre (ALTIS) in Phoenix, Arizona. Make sure you check out his experience below!

Having been self-coached since I began my undergraduate studies 3 years ago, I was given the opportunity to visit ALTIS for a two week training camp. ALTIS is the home of many world-renowned coaches including Dan Pfaff, Stuart Macmillan and John Godina. Initially, I had thought the camp was to further enhance the technical elements of my throw but I was in for a whole lot more!

I was under the tutelage of 4-time World Champion and 3-time Olympic Medallist in the Shot Put, John Godina.

youcef

After the first day, he suggested that I give the spin technique a go as he thought I was limited in my current glide technique due to my small size and relatively low strength levels. I was sceptical but I will never forget the four words that he had said to me – “give me two days”.

The first day was tough by all accounts. I had no real feeling for the throw and I struggled to even stay on my feet. The second day had begun the same way as the first had ended- the closest analogy I can give to those that don’t know much about the throws is that it’s like trying to write left handed when you had been writing with your right all of your life.

Then, suddenly, at the end of the second day I had a ‘eureka’ moment. Things just clicked. I suddenly had control over what I was doing. This was due to John’s amazing ability as a coach. Something I always attribute to great coaching is the ability to make the difficult things seem easier through simply broken down steps. His ability to break things down into these tangible steps is up there with some of the best coaching I have ever seen.

The rest of the trip was all about refining the smaller parts of the throw so that I can feel right from wrong. This for me is of extra importance because I coach myself and so must find a way of learning to differentiate between a good and bad throw so that I can coach myself into a good technical place.

All my aims and targets have gone out the window since I have changed my  throw. I don’t know what to expect with the new technique. I have a couple of months to prepare to defend my British Universities title and maybe throw at the British Indoor Championships.

Not knowing what the future holds is exciting. Anything is possible!

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