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Why Tension is Great: The Proper Tension Creates Remarkable Results

In July 2014, I attended the USA Track & Field (USATF) Level II Coaches Education Certification Program, an intensive week-long training course which focuses on three – sports science,

technical-event specific instruction, and hands-on training. During the training course, I began to reflect on my own athletic career and the lack of biomechanics awareness that I exhibited early in my career as a discus thrower.  As a high school state track and field championship qualifier, my focus was rooted in activating technical instructions from my throws coach, the late Dr. Ira L. Judge.  In doing so, I never questioned physical mechanics and the resultant muscle tension that is required to execute a great throw.

I carried the same instructional driven approach into my collegiate years as an invited walk-on to the Purdue University Women’s Track and Field Team.  My throws coach at Purdue, Gene Edmonds, spent time familiarizing me with techniques that required me to stretch my body in a manner that would have my upper body flow in one direction while my lower body flows in the opposite direction – hence creating tension that would result in the discus whip (a whipping motion that creates a powerful, elongated throw). During my throwing tenure at Purdue, I medaled at the B1G outdoor track and field conference meet four times in the discus throw – earning second place, first place, second place, and third place, respectively. While, after disciplining my body, I was able to implement the proper taut and tight positions and receive extraordinary results, it was not until years later that I began to understand why tension created those great results. Read more