Following Rashad Williams’ recent Shot Put PR of 18.46m – adding 1.31m to his 2013 outdoor best, we thought it a great time to sit down and get to know a little more about the 24 year old Central Connecticut State graduate.
In this Q&A we find out what motivated him to move from his New England home to Phoenix, his impressions of Altis and get some of his top tips for young athletes hoping to succeed in the Shot Put.
Rashad, when did you start training at Altis, and where were you training before?
I moved out to Phoenix in November of 2013 from Connecticut to train with Altis, Prior to training with Altis, I competed at Central Connecticut State University where I threw Shot Put as well as the Hammer and Discus. This was a good place for me at the time because it was close to home, and I got to compete against Division I competition. The program grew as I did from my freshman to my senior year, and we did a lot of great things as a team. I had a lot of good experiences at CCSU.
So what made you decide to base yourself at Altis?
When it came down to it, I knew if I wanted to continue competing I needed the best coaching and training environment to get the most out of my potential. I had been following John Godina both as an Athlete, and then as a Coach with what he was doing with the Worlds Throws Center. When I saw the chance to train under him at Altis I was automatically interested. The location was also a big factor. Growing up on the East Coast, weather could be hugely detrimental to training. The weather here in Phoenix makes it perfect for consistent training throughout the year.
How do you find the environment at Altis compared to previous Centers you have trained at?
The environment at Altis is the best I have personally seen. From the Athletes to the Coaches everyone is very welcoming and encouraging – which makes for a great atmosphere for improvement. We have a good mix of athletes already at the professional level, as well as those who are training to get there. I believe that is a great opportunity for any athlete to improve because everyone has similar goals, and we all want to see each other get better.
“The environment at Altis is the best I have personally seen.”
What is your favorite part about training at Altis?
There are a lot of things l like about training at the Altis. The training in general has been very effective in terms of my strength gains, and Shot Put development. In a few short months my PR’s in both shot and my lifts have jumped a considerable amount. Another part I like about training at the Altis is meeting different people from all around the world. I have only been with the group a few months, but I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of people from different cultures and backgrounds.
You recently threw a new PR of 18.46m – what are the key factors you attribute this improvement to?
I attribute a few things to my PB that day of the meet. In general the day went well prior to the meet. I got good sleep the night before, and my body felt great. Despite a bad week of practice I had a good mind set, and was very focused on the moment. I focused on a few things in my warm up throws, and I stuck to those aspects for the day. My warm ups were going far, so I knew I was going to have a big throw that day, it was just a matter of executing.
What was your PR before you joined Altis?
Before I joined Altis my PB was 17.15 which I got at Penn Relays last outdoor season. That meet was pretty late in the season for me, so I am excited to see what the rest of outdoor has in store for me.
What are your main aims for this summer?
I have some meets that I am looking to compete at in Arizona, LA, and San Diego. My main goal was to hit 18 meters, but now that I did that I want to continue to improve on that opening mark. If I can continue to improve I will be in a great position for the summer and next year.
For younger athletes who want to achieve in the Shot Put – what is your advice to them?
I think the most important aspect for a young Shot Putter is to have a good understanding of technique. You can be very strong in the weight room, but when you have proper knowledge of what you are doing in the circle you will have greater improvements of throws. When I was younger I would go on YouTube and look for similarities between World Class Shot Putters both past and present. It’s like becoming a student of your event. But overall to be successful in anything you must work hard, be determined and focused to achieve your goals. There will be ups and downs just like anything you put your mind to, but the key to success is preparation!
You can follow Rashad on Twitter @shad_willie