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World champ Godina impresses area athletes in Mequon clinic

Homestead coach Richards brings in track star

Aug. 30, 2011

Homestead boys track coach Dan Benson trusts his throws coach Bill Richards implicitly.

Richards goes only to the best sources for information about his discipline and that has helped Highlanders athletes such as Justin Barber and Kyle Schober win WIAA state track medals in recent years.

And who might those sources be?

They include, for one, NCAA and three-time world shot put champion John Godina, who came out to Mequon on July 31 to put on a clinic for close to 50 high school-age trackmen. Athletes from all over Wisconsin, the Midwest and California came out to learn from the best, Richards said.

"It goes back to around 2005," he said. "I met him at a throws clinic in Ohio. And then this past February he spoke at the annual (Wisconsin Track Coaches) clinic, and I talked to him and asked if he would do this event (in the summer) for us."

The 39-year old Godina agreed and for about $85 a person, young athletes got to rub broad shoulders with a man who has also earned two Olympic silver medals and who routinely charges professional track athletes up to $300 a day for his training services at his World Throws Center in Arizona.

"It was a terrific opportunity for these kids to get exposure to a guy with this kind of experience and success," Richards said, "and he was great. He was outgoing and energetic and very hands-on in his teaching style. … He also stuck around and signed shoes and took pictures with the kids."

He's all about improving throws (shot, discus and hammer) in the U.S. And the kids were great, too. They had a little bit of stars in their eyes at first, but then they saw this as a great opportunity to work with one of the best."

Richards saw in Godina, who also works closely with the United States Anti-Doping Agency against the use of performance-enhancing drugs, a great example of what kids could aspire to.

"The throws are more between the ears than most people think," he said. "Most people think you just have to be a big guy and just muscle it out there. Muscle doesn't hurt, but you have to be able to hit positions (in the ring) and do it on a consistent basis in order to be successful."

He had that kind of success this past spring, when Homestead senior shot putter Kyle Schober, whom Richards convinced to switch from the old-style glide in the shot put to the more explosive but difficult to master spin style, improved an amazing 7 feet in the space of two weeks to earn a state medal.

"He surpassed everything that we thought he could do," Richards said.

Another Richards' protégé, Justin Barber, who placed in both the shot and discus as part of the state championship 2010 Homestead team, recently completed a successful freshman year at the University of Minnesota where he qualified for the Junior Nationals in the discus and threw the 16-pound shot an impressive 52 feet (the high school shot is only 12 pounds).

Richards would like to bring back Godina for another event before the start of the 2012 season to get even more kids some exposure to his technique.

"It's not everyday you get to do something like this," he said.

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