Beyond the left-field fence of the softball field and not far from one turn of the track at Pahrump Valley High School sits the throwing area, where track and field athletes who participate in throwing events practice their craft.
Apparently, it’s also the envy of some of their teammates.
“A lot of them want to come over here. We call this Club Fred, instead of Club Med,” said track and field coach Fred Schmidt. “They’ll see us out here shooting the breeze, but a lot of it is because I only have one discus ring, so ring time is at a premium. So you’ve got to get them out here to do drills either on the board or in the dirt. For shot put, I have two rings, so there is a lot more time to sit. They all see it and think, ‘They’re not working hard,’ until they show up and realize it’s not all fun and games.”
Those that have stayed, even after learning that unpleasant fact, have seen results. Schmidt has seen several of his throwers make significant strides this season.
One of them is sophomore Destany Korschinowski, who set a personal best in the shot put last week at a weekday meet at Western High School in Las Vegas.
“Destany had a PR,” Schmidt said. “She threw 29 feet, which is awesome. Destany is sprinting as well, and she had asked me at the beginning of the season how often I wanted her to work out in the throws. And I explained that her sprinting workout was very important for her lower body power, hips and everything, so I’d rather see her doing her sprinter workout every day. When you get done — and I know they’ll get done early — come on over here. Now we’re seeing her starting to shine.
“DeAnndra Shaw is another one who is starting to pick it up, and Jessica Turner’s discus has started to come around.”
Turner (92-0) and Shaw (80-1) each set a personal record in the discus at Western.
Not to be outdone, some of the boys have also seen improvement over the course of the season. Schmidt noted the progress made by junior Cesar Estrada and freshmen Dylan Wright and Anthony Pearson. Estrada set PRs in the shot put (32-6) and discus (88-0) at Western.
“Anthony Pearson, who played football for us, is a freshman throwing 32 feet,” Schmidt said. “And Dylan’s athletic ability is helping him out a lot, but he’s throwing 31, 32 feet, and that’s a kid who’s a sprinter, not a thrower.”
The Trojans do have some throwing standouts. Senior Jeremy Albertson’s 155-9 in the discus is the best this spring in Class 3A, while classmate Morgan White owns the third-best shot put (43-7) and fifth-best discus (124-5).
But Schmidt knows he can count on them. Seeing the progress of other athletes has been particularly enjoyable.
“To see them increase 15 feet in the shot is kind of impressive,” he said.
So is Schmidt surprised when one of his less-experienced athletes qualifies for the postseason?
“I can say no because I know how hard they’re working,” Schmidt said. “The coaches know what they’re doing. To see them qualify and get these PRs, on the one hand it’s expected because I know they’re being trained that way. But on the other hand it is a very pleasant surprise with a lot of them.”
While strength doesn’t hurt, technique is what separates the top throwers, and Schmidt says the dedication needed to improve means it’s not for everyone.
“It’s so important here in the throws, whether we’re in the weight room or we’re throwing, drills are so important,” he explained. “We can train our central nervous system to make our muscles fire and do the things we want to do, but it’s important that you drill.
“The misnomer has always been practice makes perfect. We tell the kids that is incorrect. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. Just because you do something a lot of times doesn’t mean it’s going to be right. You have to do it a lot of times correctly, then your body will accept that.”
And some talented athletes find the drilling tiresome.
“We had couple came out early who didn’t come back,” Schmidt said. “It’s sad to see it happen because they had great potential. That’s a work ethic thing. They didn’t want to work hard. We as coaches try to change the thinking process for them. If you don’t learn problem-solving now … it’s not going to get any easier.”
Sometimes it works in reverse.
“Some of the kids with natural ability don’t realize it,” Schmidt said. “I’ve had young men and women here who were hurdlers that decided they wanted to come over and throw. They’re not big, but they’re powerful in the hips, and they’re throwing well. For a lot of my throwers, that’s all they’ve ever done is throw, that was an eye-opener for them, realizing how an individual with good, explosive hips translates into a thrower.”
Pahrump Valley athletes who have not yet qualified for the regional championships will have an opportunity to do so this weekend at the Skyhawk Invitational at Silverado High School in Las Vegas.
Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at email@example.com On Twitter:@pvtimes