Last Updated: 02:25pm 05/12/2011

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You will be hard pressed to find a throws coach whose international track record is as impressive as Don Babbitt’s (USA). Based at the University of Georgia, Babbitt has coached an impressive number of throwers, who have competed in the Olympic Games or World Championships – 35 throwers and counting.
With such an impressive coaching repertoire, Babbitt has coached athletes at world-class level across the throws disciplines. When you consider that Babbitt has coached the likes of shot putters Adam Nelson (World Champion in 2005) and Reese Hoffa (World Indoor Champion in 2006 & World Outdoor in 2007), as well as javelin thrower Breaux Greer (eight-times U.S. Champion and current American record holder) and Croatian Olympic hammer thrower Andras Haklits (8th at the 2008 Olympics and 7th at the 2009 World Championships), you can appreciate why he finds it really hard to pick a favourite throws event. “It is really hard to pick a favourite, since each event is unique and fun in its own way,” explains Babbitt, however he does admit as a former javelin thrower himself, he does have a soft spot for javelin. 
Babbitt who has a great deal of experience in his coaching from collegiatelevel to world class, and appreciates the challenges which athletes in the throws events face. As he sees it finding the right balance and rhythm during the throw is the biggest challenge. “It appears that many people tend to focus on strength development first as a means to get better, but in the big scheme of things this is fairly easy for everyone get to stronger,” explains Babbitt. “The main challenge that I see people struggling with is balance and reproducible technique, much the same way a golfer does.” This is an area Babbitt will focus on whilst in Glasgow for the 2011 edition of IFAC, as he hosts a number of practical workshops and coaching clinics covering the throws. In addition, before the conference get fully underway he will spend an evening with Scotland’s development shot putters and their coaches, hosting a development shot put workshop.   
When it comes to the step up from development to elite level this is difficult in any event and Babbitt, an IAAF lecturer, will present his keynote speech on can this can be particularly difficult for throws events. With most medals won by throwers at around the age of 30, Babbitt emphasises that there is no ‘quick fix’ to this sporting conundrum, “There is no quick solution, but I would say that it is best if one can figure out the path that will work for them as soon as possible. Then work hard at it for a long time, as opposed to jumping around between various training programs in search of ‘the answer’.” When it comes to this step up and in order to reach the highest levels of performance, Babbitt believes that an athlete needs to very good basic throwing mechanics. “These is usually instilled at an early age of development” explains Babbit and warns that if an athlete are missing these, “it takes a long time to re-establish good habits.”
Having served as national team coach for the USA, Canada, Croatia and Argentina, Babbitt has noted a number of factors that help make the ‘perfect’ thrower. “There are an endless list of factors, however among the most important are: body awareness and coordination; competitive spirit and long term focus; good leverage; flexibility; the ability to get stronger and naturally quick and explosive. You can be sure that Babbitt will be keeping an eye out for these characteristics amongst Scotland’s throwers, when he gets down to business at IFAC 2011.   

Don Babbitt at IFAC 2011
Don Babbitt will be presenting the following at IFAC 2011:

Sat 29 Oct
Event Specific – “hammer clinic” with Shaun Pickering
Sat 29 Oct
Power – “general throws power” with Shaun Pickering
Sat 29 Oct
Event Specific – “discus clinic” with Shaun Pickering
Sat 29 Oct
Event Specific – “shot putt clinic” with Shaun Pickering
Sun 30 Oct
Event Specific – “designing a throws training programme”
Sun 30 Oct
Coaches' Mall
Sun 30 Oct
Keynote: “development to elite – across the throws disciplines”

Sun 20 Oct - Designing a throws programmeSun 20 Oct - Designing a throws programme (1.5 MB)