Some things I’ve learned in 43 Years of Javelin Throwing

Ten years ago I wrote an article for American Track and Field magazine titled “Some Things I’ve Learned in 33 Year of Javelin Throwing”. Since I initially wrote this piece I have broken the World Masters Record half a dozen times and competed in two more Olympic Trials for a total of 8 times without a single surgery so I figured it was time to re-post and just add 10 years to the title.

Roald 2012

Roald Bradstock

M50 World Javelin Record Holder 76.16m (w/700g)

M50 World Javelin Record Holder 72.78m (w/800g)

Here are the 10 most important things I’ve learned in the past 43 years of throwing:

  1. Build a foundation of overall conditioning, strength, and fitness.

You throw a javelin with your entire body, literally from your toes to your fingertips..

What to do: Spend half an hour every day doing basic fitness exercises.

Throughout the entire year have your throwers run, bike and swim – half an hour a day, 6 days per week in addition to anything else they are doing.

During the conditioning phase the half hour can be increased in its intensity and have your athlete run more (3 run / 2 bike / 1 swim).

In the heavy lifting phase do more of the stationary bike and swim (1 run / 3 bike / 2 swim). During the season really focus on the swimming (1 run / 1 bike / 4 swim).

After the season, during the summer months, keep active and add other fun activities: hiking, rollerblading, rock climbing, surfing.

  1. Warm up thoroughly before you work out.

Whether you are going to throw, lift weights or stretch, you must prepare your body for the workout.

What to do: Before every workout or competition, take an easy 10- minute jog or bike (stationary), followed by 10 minutes of flexibility exercises. Stretch the calf muscles, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, lower back, chest and shoulders. Hold each position for at least 30 seconds, to a point where you feel a good stretch — and never, never bounce! Afterwards, cool down with a 5-minute jog and stretches for lower back, hamstring and calf muscles. On days the thrower lifts weights, add triceps and lower abdominal stretches.

  1. Work on flexibility to improve range of motion. Flexibility is the most overlooked component of a thrower’s training. I have seen many very fit, very strong athletes with fast arms and explosive legs not fulfill their potential as they could have if they had been more flexible. Lack of flexibility leads to a smaller range of motion which in turn leads to shorter throws that paradoxically put the athlete under greater physical strain, resulting in more severe injuries with more frequency. The most common areas for injury are the throwing elbow and shoulder, the lower back, and the lower abdominals, adductors and left knee (for right-handed throwers).

What to do:

There are two essential things to do:

(1) The first is to improve the thrower’s flexibility.

Here are some guidelines:

Target areas: Shoulder, chest, triceps, lats, obliques, lower abdominals, lower back, adductors, hip flexors, hamstrings and quads.

Frequency: 2 to 3 days per week. Intensity: Hard.

Warm up well. Put heat lotion/balm on specific target areas, especially lower back, hamstrings and shoulders, and keep enough clothing on to stay warm even in the summer time. Each stretch should be held for at least a minute to 90 seconds if not more. Push the stretch to discomfort, not pain, and hold and breath and try and relax into the stretch. As the muscle relaxes and the discomfort subsides increase the stretch even more. The only time of the year not to really overdo the intense stretching is during the heavy lifting phase. The rest of the year, push your throwers to become incredible, flexible throwing machines.

(2) At the same time the flexibility is being improved, increasing the throwing range of motion must be worked on. This is done by working on technique when throwing a javelin, weighted balls and medicine balls. Focus on trying to have as long a pull as possible: reach back as far as you can, forward – as you throw- as far as you can, and chase after the implement as you release it.

Improving flexibility and increasing the throwing range of motion will greatly improve your athletes’ ability to exert greater force on the implement, especially as their strength improves.

  1. Use the appropriate lifts to build strength. Many javelin throwers focus their training in the wrong areas: on slow-moving strength exercises, which coupled with little or no stretching and minimal plyometric work, results in frustrating distances and injuries. Olympic lifts (power cleans, power snatch, split jerks) and lat pulls and pullovers should be the exercises that predominate in a javelin thrower’s lifting routine but avoid dead lifts, heavy lunges and bicep curls. Upper-body pressing exercises are fine if not overdone and balanced well with plenty of stretching and medicine ball throwing.

What to do: (The reps and sets for the exercises do not include warm-up or cool-down sets).

Weight Exercises:

Pullovers (straight and bent arm )/ 6 to 15 reps / 3 to 5 sets / 2 x per week

*Lat pulldowns or pull-ups (wide grip) 10 to 20/25 reps / 3 sets / 2 x per week

Incline bench press 3 to 12 reps / 3 to 5 sets / 1 x per week

Flat bench press 3 to 12 reps / 3 to 5 sets / 1 x per week

*Power cleans ( from the floor ) 3 to 8 reps / 5 to 6 sets / 2 x per week

*Power snatch ( from the floor ) 3 to 8 reps / 5 to 6 sets / 2 x per week

Split jerk (take off the rack) / 3 to 5 reps / 3 sets / 2 x per week

Squats ( back and front ) 3 to 10 reps / 3 to 5 sets / 2 x per week ( 1 back , 1 front )

*Always use lifting straps. It will allow your athlete to do more weight and complete more repetitions. Also, it will help keep the forearms from becoming over developed (from gripping). This is one body part a javelin thrower does not want to build up as it will tighten up the throwing arm up which will lead to elbow problems.

Plyometrics: (Bounding 2 times per week, ball throwing 2 to 4 times per week)

Stadium: Running, hopping and two-footed bounding

Track: Jumping into sand pit: standing long jumps, standing triple jumps, 3 to 5 single-leg hops, 3 to 5 two- footed bounds.

Hurdles: 6 to10 hurdles: single leg hops, two-legged bounds

Sandpit: One- and two-legged bounding in the sand

Gym: Box jumping. Jumping and hopping on, off and over boxes of different heights

Shot ( 4kg/7.25kg): Overhead and underarm throwing of shot puts.

Medicine ball ( 1kg to 3 kg – no heavier): Two-handed overhead throws forward, backward and sideways.

  1. Work on improvement through specific drills. The run-up and throw can be broken down into a number of elements, and you can improve on each element by repetitive drills which allow you to master each element. When you put them together, your overall throwing will improve. Javelin throwing requires doing a lot of drills.

The plain fact is that javelin throwing by itself is too destructive on the body to allow an endless amount of throws. The solution is…drills. They will allow the athlete and the coach to focus on the different elements of the throw from the run-up, to the withdrawal, to the throw without the full strain of hundreds of throws.

What to do (the drills are done over 40 to 60 meters):

Running (accelerating run) with javelin held horizontal. Focus on speed, staying relaxed and keeping javelin absolutely still.

Approach and withdrawal (repeat 3 to 5 times per run. Focus on rhythm, control and acceleration; keep looking forward.

Crossover, repeats: Focus on driving up off the left leg, pushing and reaching forward with the right leg. Keep the chest closed and shoulders turned sideways, with eyes looking forward over the left shoulder.

  1. Throw year-round to be consistent. I believe it’s essential to throw year-round; taking even a month off is a big mistake. You don’t have to throw hard year-round, but you should be throwing all the time. Vary the intensity of the throwing workouts depending on where in the training cycle you are and weather conditions but throw continuously and consistently.

What to do: Never take more than two weeks off from throwing. In the off- season, throw lighter javelins, throw at targets, work on drills at varying intensities, et cetera. Make it fun, but keep throwing. Never stop.

  1. Accelerate into the throw. Many American throwers don’t really seem to understand the javelin throw. Instead of accelerating into the throw, some throwers actually do the exact opposite: they slow down or even stop, and then throw. Accelerate, accelerate, accelerate!

The javelin throw is an elastic, dynamic, explosive throw at the end of an accelerating, horizontal approach. That means you can’t think of – or execute –the run-up and the throw separately. The entire process should be one continuous build-up. The speed of the run-up will affect the speed the athlete can move through the throwing position which in turn will affect the release speed of the javelin which is ultimately what determines distance.

It is one thing to hit great throwing positions at slow speeds, but it is entirely another to hit those same positions at greater speed. There are very few throwers (Nemeth, Petranoff, Zelezney, Backley) that I have seen over the last 30 years that get better positions the more they accelerate. To me all of them start the throw at the beginning of the approach not just at the end. Breaux Greer is the latest athlete I would add to this elite list up until he tore his ACL. The positions he has been hitting last summer have quite frankly been awful, which makes his achievements all the more remarkable. With his leg fixed and his skill for really accelerating into the throw combined with being able to get into and hold the power position throughout the throw, he will be unstoppable.

  1. Manage the wind. The javelin is an aerodynamic implement, and its flight is governed by aerodynamics. The strength and direction of the wind can greatly affect the distance of the throw. Here are some considerations to help you master the wind, no matter where it’s coming from.
  2. Your approach run: A strong headwind or tailwind will change your normal approach by as much as 3 or 4 feet — a meter or more. Use your practice sessions to learn to adjust the length of your run with different strengths of headwind and tailwind. Then, when you compete, you can make your adjustment easily and throw with confidence.

If a tailwind or headwind is coming at an angle, you may be able to improve your throw, by changing the direction of your approach by 10-15 degrees by running toward the right or left sector line to get a more favorable angle for the wind. For example, if the wind is coming behind you and from the left, you start at the left edge of the runway and run toward the right end of the arc. It may not seem like much, but every inch counts.

Side winds are tricky. When you have a side wind during your workout, experiment and watch what the wind does to your throw. Again, if you are familiar with the wind in all its variations, you’ll be much more confident than your opponents.

  1. Your release angle (angle of attack): For a strong headwind, you should throw flat or even have a negative angle of attack. For a strong tailwind, throw with a steeper-than-usual angle of attack.
  2. Release height. The stronger the headwind, the lower you should throw the spear. The stronger the tailwind coming from behind you, the higher the spear needs to be thrown.
  3. Javelin selection. Javelins with thick points are designed to be thrown with tail winds. Javelins with a sharper, narrower point fly better into a head wind.

Always be conscious of the wind when you practice. Make the wind your friend, and it will help you throw farther than the throwers who don’t know how to handle wind.

  1. Sequence your throw. To maximize the power you place on a spear it is crucial to sequence the body through the throw in the correct order: from the ground up. The stronger but slower muscles come into play early before the faster, but relatively weaker, upper body muscles are activated. Unfortunately, many throwers bring the upper body in far too soon, which limits the force produced and increases the stress on the shoulder and elbow. To be a javelin thrower you need a good throwing arm, to become a great javelin thrower you need to use your entire body. To throw really far your athlete needs to become fitter, more flexible and increase his or her event specific strength through the entire throwing range of motion. As your athlete develops and gets stronger, he or she will be able to get into and out of more advanced technical positions with greater ease and with greater speed and bring each body part into action at the optimum time.
  1. Visualize. Visualization is so important. It is not just for the elite athlete. It works for athletes of all levels; don’t under estimate its power. Visualization is not a crock. Get your athlete to imagine launching a huge throw, picture the javelin sailing to other end of the track, imagine the excitement how other people react. That kind of visualization with lots of hard and smart training will take you athletes a long, long way.

Javelin Throw Stat

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The Man Who Threw Too Much? My Journey to 5 Million Throws!

RB 5 Million Throws

In the book “Outliers”, author Malcolm Gladwell claims it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.  In my sport of track and field, specifically javelin throwing, I have logged many tens of thousands of hours over my life time: lifting, running, bounding, swimming, stretching and throwing.  Repetition is the name of the game as an athlete no matter what the discipline – I have even carried this theme into my other career as an artist.  But the extent of repetition I have gone to would be considered extreme by most athletes and coaches!

Several weeks ago I posted a photo of an old training journal entry dated October 30th, 1983.  The entry shows a throwing session in which I threw a 6lb medicine ball 10,000 times in 4 hours and 50 minutes!  To my surprise the post was initially met with disbelief and cynicism.  I even had one doctor “friend” suggest that I may suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)!  So what would the reaction have been if I added to my post my total number of throws to date has now surpassed 5 million?

RB Logs

Fortunately, in addition to my training journals as documentation and some magazine and newspaper articles, I have a lot of former teammates, coaches and friends that have witnessed my “excessive” throwing sessions over the years.  And thankfully some of them came to my rescue defending me on Facebook and testified that they had witnessed some of my extreme workouts.  Someone also added how annoying the hours of thud, thud, thud of the medicine ball hitting the concrete wall in the University weight room was.  A sound so annoying that  I was given my own key to the weight room by the strength coach at SMU and asked to please, please do my medicine ball routines in the evening when no one was there!

RB News

I have been throwing for almost 5 decades now – 47 years to be exact – and continue today even though it has been three years since I last competed.

I began “volume” throwing in 1979 after I banged my left knee into a door and couldn’t throw off an approach.  My first “volume” throwing sessions were fairly modest in number with just a few hundred.  But over the next few years I gradually increased these throwing sessions into the 1000s.  The result was absolutely amazing, to say the least!  In just three years I improved almost 100 feet in the javelin and went from being a 56m club athlete in 1978 aged 16 to becoming and International World ranked athlete with 83.20m in 1981 aged 19!

But it was in 1983 I took the concept of “volume” throwing to a whole new level after I hurt my back and could not throw javelin for 7 months.  During this period I pushed the envelope to the max and beyond.  This is when I started the “extreme volume” throwing sessions.  Lying on a bench with my back supported I got up to 10,000 med ball per session and did this 3 times per week at my peak!  I know, I know, it seems nuts and I would have to agree with you looking back but I was just so determined and frustrated with not being able to throw a javelin.  The result:  After a 7 month abstinence from spear chucking, I came out swinging and smashed the British Record within a month by 3 meters with a throw of 88.28m and set a World leading mark!

From 1986 to 2008 I cut back to a little under 50,000 throws per year – a mere pittance to my insane early / mid ’80s numbers.  But after competing in my 7th Olympic Trials in 2008 aged 46 and being overweight I decided to really trim down and go back to the “extreme” volume throwing workouts in preparation for my 8th and final Olympic Trials in 2012.  So I cranked the number up to almost 1000 throws per day on average for next four years.  The result: Not only did I make my 8th Olympic Trials, aged 50, but I got the silver medal and smashed the World Masters Records (M50) with both the 700g and 800g javelin along the way (76.15m/700g and 72.78m/800g)!!!!!!!

Graph

It’s been almost 3 years now since I last competed, but I still do my volume throwing to keep in shape and keep my shoulders ( and elbows) healthy.  On average I throw just under 500 throws per day now as part of a well round conditioning program that allows me to keep throwing and remain injury free.

One of my other findings and beliefs with regard to volume throwing is that in addition to helping me be able to throw far I believe, very strongly, that the reason I have NEVER  had ANY shoulder or elbow problem EVER, even to this day’ is because my body – shoulders especially – are so well conditioned to throw from the “volume” training I have done over the years.

In the coming months I am going to do some more blogs to discuss my training methods, philosophies and ideas for those of you that are interested, but I did want to finish up and clarify my definition of “volume” throwing:

  • Volume throwing is done with weighted throwing balls – 3kg /1 kg med balls & 1kg/200g throwing ball.
  • Throws are executed with either one or two hands in sets of 25 to 500 repetitions.
  • Throws are against a wall, fence or netting – important for speed and acceleration /deceleration.
  • Throws in the hundreds can utilize all three planes.
  • Throws in the thousands should be linear. The back should also be supported / resting on the floor, med ball, exercise ball or bench when doing this much volume.
  • Intensity of throws ranges between 50% to 85% max effort.

RB Batter

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog my obsessiveness with repetition has carried over into my artwork as I repeat lines, shapes and objects in my paintings.  

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New Year Resolutions: Focus on Success, Not Resolutions

It’s that time of year again —  A time to look back at the past year and plan for the New Year ahead.  As always, I look back with a bit of dismay that I did not fulfill all of my resolutions in 2014, so I decided to look at the past year with a new perspective.  Six “successes” that weren’t on my 2014 resolution list:

  1. Tried something new

Truth is that I only participated in the yoga class twice, but I gave it my best shot.   With that said, I did buy a Yoga For Beginners video, so 2015 is off to a more limber start.  Even if you don’t stick with an initiative, give yourself a pat on the back for trying something new.

2.  Learned to love kale

Kale is the hottest healthy food, and I now love the taste of a kale Caesar salad, which is my go to food when I don’t feel like cooking.  Unfortunately, I didn’t lose the unwanted pounds as documented on my resolution list, but I did learn to do something healthier for my body.  Don’t overlook the small things, when making changes.  They can have a long lasting impact.

3. Reconnected with old friends

With the time constraints we all face, it can be a challenge nurturing friendships, and I’m pleased that I was able to reconnect with some friends throughout the past year.  It’s important to remember that laughter with friends who have known you for years helps ground us no matter life’s circumstances

4. Admitted failure

After years of having a gym membership, I finally admitted that I just don’t have the motivation to work out at the gym after a long day of work.  Face it — with my limited participation and the monthly fees, each workout cost me a few hundred dollars.    So I took the money saved and purchased a good elliptical so that I can workout at home.  Sometimes admitting failure opens the door to new opportunities.

5, Opened myself to new opportunities

Speaking of new opportunities, I didn’t even have “giving back” on my list of resolutions, but I learned that I have a high platelet count, which means I can help three people in need each time I donate platelets.   With my busy schedule, it can be a challenge even scheduling a doctor’s appointment, but I’ve made the time to be there for those in need.    So give yourself the opportunity to give back, and if the way in which you tried to give back doesn’t leave you feeling reenergized than go to “admit failure” and “try something new”.

6. Revisited a former passion

Growing up I enjoyed doing needlework, but raising children and working full time didn’t give me the time for it.  On a whim I purchased a few needlework patterns and now I’m able to create something unique and fun.    Now I’m able to needle my way out of the daily stresses.

So when you look back at 2014, just identify a few things that made the year special for you and don’t focus on the goals you didn’t meet.    Life is rich with experiences, so enjoy.   With that said, I’m still going to write out my resolutions for 2015, and hope for a few surprises along the way.

Happy New Year!!!

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Eat Right, Exercise and Do Good

Any Lab Test Now Making A Difference

Why charitable acts should be a part of your personal wellness plan!!!

We all know that the basics of a healthy lifestyle are eating right and getting exercise on a regular basis.  But did you know that giving back also has great health benefits? 

According to researchers at the London School of Economics, when they examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more that people volunteered, the happier they were.  1

Simply contemplating generosity boosts your immunity. When Harvard students watched a film about Mother Teresa tending to orphans, the number of protective antibodies in their saliva surged; when the students were asked to focus on times when they’d been loved by or loving to others, their antibody levels stayed elevated for an hour. In another study, the brain’s pleasure centers lit up when people made check marks next to a list of organizations to which they wanted to donate. 2

So how can you fit volunteering and charitable acts into your busy life?

Integrate activities into your current routine

If you walk, run or bike, you should consider downloading the Charity Miles app.  I love this app because it tracks the distance traversed and your efforts are sponsored with donations going to the charity of your choice.  You can also post your accomplishments on social media to get more people to participate.

Who doesn’t like taking photos?  With the app Donate-A-Photo, you can easily upload a photo and Johnson & Johnson will make a donation to one of the charities you select.

Follow your passion

Since Any Lab Test Now is committed to enhancing wellness in our community, one of the ways I give back is donating platelets on a regular basis.  The Red Cross also notifies me when my platelets are shipped somewhere outside of my region.   Knowing that I’m helping those in need throughout the country is very rewarding.

Support a cause that has impacted your life

A dear friend of mine lost her father to prostate cancer and her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago.  It’s no surprise that she does a 5K run each year for Zero Cancer to help raise awareness of this deadly disease.  Although there are times that we may feel helpless against a disease, raising money to battle the disease is empowering and a great way to honor those who are facing a current challenge.

Build a community of giving back

At Any Lab Test Now, we are honored to support the non-profit organization Delete Blood Cancer.   Our goal is to raise awareness on becoming a bone marrow donor and provide easy access for people who do want to be donors.  This month is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and several of the Any Lab Test Now locations, including the corporate office, will be hosting a “Swab Party” where lots of team members will get registered to be bone marrow donors.  By giving back as a team, it makes our organization healthier too.

Another example is the International Franchise Association’s “Franchising Gives Back Day”  in which IFA members volunteers their time in to help the local community. 

So the next time you’re thinking about a healthy meal or a new exercise routine, don’t forget to reach out and help others.  Not only will you feel better, but it’s good for your heart too. 

1 http://www.helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm

2 http://www.oprah.com/health/Scientific-Proof-That-Charitable-Giving-Improves-Your-Health_1

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The Good Mother

photo (81)

My Grandfather was a farmer in South Florida when I was growing up.  Yes, there was quite a lot of farmland only eight miles from the beach west of Pompano Beach, and now the farm has been swallowed by condominiums and Publix Shopping Centers.  Lest you think of the farm being a quaint throwback to the family farm with an assortment of farm animals and a few hundred acres of land, my Grandfather and his brothers moved from South Georgia to South Florida to farm thousands of acres.  Nonetheless, my experience growing up afforded me the opportunity to learn how to drive at the tender age of 11 and have my first (yes, my first, but not only) brush with death at the age of 8.

As I have navigated the minefields of raising my own two daughters, I now have the perspective about my Mother that is not focused on the conflicts of my adolescence, and the minor missteps as we traversed the challenges of two strong willed women circling each other as we make our own choices in life, but with fondness about the uniqueness of our relationship and the times that should be highlighted showing that with all of our missteps, my Mother proved to be an great example for me on raising my own daughters.

First let me start with the brush with death.  In 1969, there were limited regulations on burning trash in “rural” South Florida, so my Mother and I would go to the farm a few times a month to burn some of our household trash, which explains why I love our new fire pit.  During one of our trash burning outings, I ventured out to an area in which my uncle had a few hogs.  As any curious child would do, I was drawn to the pen in the middle of the field where a sow and her tiny offspring were housed.  As I looked at the adorable pig family, I failed to notice the giant boar huffing in the background.  As he lunged toward me I had no choice but to climb to the top of the pen with my feet only inches away from his mouth as he was trying to drag me down and most likely stomp me to death.  I screamed to the top of my lungs for my Mother, and she came running with a large two by four and repeatedly beat the huge animal on the head until he retreated.  I’ll never forget the image of my petite mother beating the boar while screaming expletives.  I don’t know if he retreated due to the beating or the strong language.  I learned the lesson that it’s okay to venture out, but always take note of your surroundings and rest assured that if my Mother is around, those that mess with her daughter should take note of her strength and her devotion to keeping her daughter safe.

I was a compliant child who did well in school, followed the rules, and was courteous to adults….overall a pretty good kid.  At the age of 11, I did something that broke the norm.  Being from a “farming family”, it’s traditional that you start teaching your children to drive at the age of 13.  My Mother was teaching my older brother to drive the 1967 Pontiac, and occasionally she’d let me practice going up and down our driveway.  Keep in mind that the driveway was all of 20 feet long.  One day as she was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I said, “I’m going to take the car for a spin”.  Of course, she thought I’m going to do my nightly 20 feet driving expedition, but I was more adventurous that evening.  I pushed the seat up as far as I could, which gave me the ability to barely see over the dashboard.   As I put the car in gear and hit the gas pedal and started driving around our rural neighborhood, I knew that I could get in big trouble.  My plan was to drive around the three block area just a few times, then park and get back into the house without anyone noticing.  I didn’t count on the fact that my older brother could see my from his bedroom window and immediately alerted my mother.

As I rounded the second lap of my Indy like driving expedition, I noticed my mother in the middle of the road and she was waving her hands to get me to stop.  I was left with two choices, either stop and get in big trouble or gun it and keep going.  Since had not reached the age in which one makes good choices (I’ve heard that the age is 26 before all of the judgment areas of the brain are formed, but I think it’s more like 46), I chose the latter.  As my mother is frantically waving her arms, I gunned the gas as she jumped out of the way to avoid me running her over.  I continued knowing that my only option was to keep circling the same three blocks or stop and face the consequences, and as I rounded the corner a second time, I didn’t see my mother anywhere.  We were one of two houses in the area at that time, so the chance of me hurting anyone was extremely remote.  The fact that she didn’t try to stop me actually increased my anxiety about my punishment, so I continued to circle the block until dark, and then I finally parked and quietly entered the house expecting the worst punishment I could imagine.  But to my surprise, my mother was in bed, so I put the car keys on the hall table and went to my room.

The next day I waited for my punishment, but my mother never said a word about the incident.  The lack of punishment actually had a huge impact on me, and I learned that sometimes the fear of punishment is actually worse than the punishment.  Of course, I never took the car out for a spin again, and it was the only time that I used avoidance to get out of trouble.  Years later when I brought it up, I asked her why she didn’t punish me.  She said that she already knew that I was terrified and that I would make better choices in the future and she was secretly proud of me for taking a chance.  Many of you may disagree with her parenting style, but this experience was formative in educating me about impulsive behavior and how I need to nurture self-control internally.  So when you think about lecturing your children about making good choices, just remember that there are times when it’s best to be quiet and let them work through it themselves.

So what do I give my mother who has everything she needs — let’s face it, she has a vanity full of perfume I’ve given her over the years, so I decided that perhaps this story will help her see how much she truly means to me.   Happy Mother’s Day Mother — I love you, your daughter.

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Charity Miles: Support Your Cause While Being Active

Charity Miles is a wonderful app that provides a way for those who bike, walk and run to support a charity while enjoying a favorite activity.  Just access the Charity Miles app, select the activity (walk, run, bike), select the charity you would like to support, and then start moving.    Charity Miles tracks the time and the distance, so you’ll know the impact you’re having on your health.   The good news is that a Charity Miles sponsor will donate to the charity you selected for every mile you walk, run or bike.  When finished with your activity, you can choose to post to Facebook or Twitter to encourage your friends to participate.

Tonight I also thought of a clever way to encourage my 13 year old stepdaughter to pull herself away from the computer, TV and iPhone, as well as support her goal of attaining funds for the next One Direction Concert.  Now she will earn $1.00 for every Charity Mile for walking the dogs.  So…..she gets exercise, the dogs are happy, and a charity gets some much needed support.  Now that’s a trifecta.

So the next time you take a stroll, jog or bike around the block, be sure to login with Charity Miles to support your favorite charity and don’t forget that you can engage your kids in the fun too.

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Tim Cook: A Personal Perspective on the Apple CEO

Tim Cook in 1978.  Robertsdale High School

Tim Cook in 1978. Robertsdale High School

My parents were going through a challenging divorce, so I was sent to live with my Grandparents in Robertsdale.  My Grandfather was from South Georgia and moved to Deerfield Beach, Florida to farm in the 40s.  After seeing Deerfield Beach grow from a farming community to a populated tourist destination and retirement community, my Grandfather wanted to retire to a farming community with close access to a major city.  When I arrived in Robertsdale, I was immediately at home due to the small community and genuine people.

As a junior at a new school, I eventually met Tim Cook, who was a senior.  Tim was one of the smartest students at the school, but I must disclose that it was a very small school and he ended up as the salutatorian of a class of roughly 140 graduating seniors.    Tim and I were friends, and I remember spending time with him at my Grandparent’s house, and I recall him being smart and funny.  Tim went to Auburn and the last time I saw him was when a few of us went to Auburn for the weekend and we stayed at Tim’s apartment.

Years later Beth Childress, a friend from high school, sent an article about Tim’s rise to COO of Apple.  Now I see him on the nightly news as the CEO of Apple and I can’t help but be proud of him.  He has excelled due to his talent, intelligence and ability to navigate the challenging waters of working for Steve Jobs and then following Jobs’ legacy.

Tim is now the highest paid CEO in the world and he has made strides in making significant changes at Apple.  According to a Forbes article, Cook’s direction since becoming CEO was to build a culture of harmony, which meant “weeding out people with disagreeable personalities—people Jobs tolerated and even held close” (1).   Wikipedia states that Cook’s three keys to his leadership at Apple: people, strategy, and execution. “If you get those three right the world is great place”.

I’m so proud of all the things that Tim has accomplished.  In addition to his hard work and leadership ability, I, as well as his other Robertsdale High School classmates, can attest to his genuineness and humor.  His success is an example that even if you come from a small rural community, you can accomplish your goals.

Now I have to go purchase the new iPhone5S.

(1)     “This is Tim Cook’s Apple: A Company Where ‘Mini-Steve’ Gets the Axe”Forbes. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2013.

Clarissa Bradstock in 1978.  Robertsdale High School

Clarissa Bradstock in 1978. Robertsdale High School

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