Wow, a throws thread, never thought I'd see one of these! I met Eamon Coughlin briefly last year, he asked me what I did, I think he thought I was a runner. I said "I'm afraid I'm a thrower", he replied jokingly that there was not need to be sorry but sometimes you almost feel like there is!
is spot on basicly. Two petitions were set up after the circle in Santry was put down. (For those who don't know) There is a sector in the hammer and discus events that the implement must land within when thrown. The circle was "aimed" in the wrong direction and the left hand sector line met the track about 50m out the field. Judges stood in the circle and made throwers wait for runners to pass during national championships for fear of hitting them and one athlete landed a hammer near one of long jump pits once. You can imagine Eileen O'Keefe chipping 70m, quite easy for her to land the hammer in one of the lanes. Added to that the circle was covered in leveling compond, ie pure ice. It rained during one competition and all the discus throwers protested by refusing to throw, it was suicide to try to turn in.
Athlone has excellent facilities but when the Dr. Pat O'Callaghan Cup was held there last year we had trouble with the cage, the netting droops towards the centre at the top and unless you hit it dead down the middle the handle of the hammer would hit off or even get stuck in the netting. To correct this most of the netting had to be taken down!
Coaching is boardline nonexistant in certain areas. I mentioned once that there is not a single coach in the country capable of teaching rotational shot putt. I'm involved with the Irish Throwers Club and get lots of emails looking for Javelin coaches. Unless they live near Dan Kennedy there is little I can advise them on.
Very few athletes have, to date, stayed in the sport full time beyond Junior level which means we have a very small pool of people who have the ability to coach. People like Dan Kennedy and Phil Conway have done unbelievable work but can't be expected to bring the entire country forward on their own. Coaching is deffinatly the area we are lacking most in.
Phil Conway and George Eyres have done great work in bringing through the current batch of junior men's hammer throwers, especially Conal Campion and Killian Barry. Conway turned Belvedere into a production line for throwers, basicly recruiting the most suited out of the rugby teams to do a bit of T&F during the rugby off season. I competed at senior schools level against Cian Healy in the shot but I think he only did one year of clubs, where as players like Podge White eventually went over fully into the throws. They were getting the techinque training from one of the top minds in the country but getting the speed and strength training from rugby, elements which are ignored in training by most other throws coaches. Few coaches in the throws know anything about strength training and there isn't really any place they can learn about the specific types of strength required for different throws, though I think that Phil, George and the AAI Throws Squad put on a day about it last year.
In general, in isolated areas we are doing fantastic. But we have to consider how many great throwers are falling by the wayside in other parts of the country for want of coaching. Rant over, sorry for its length!