Brittany Smith, the former NCAA all-American in the shot and hammer, is ready for her first big competition as a professional–the USATF Indoor Championships this coming weekend.
The women’s shot will be held on Sunday, March 1st, at 3:20pm Eastern time.
Brittany opened her indoor season on January 17th with a 19.01m bomb that, according to the Track and Field News website, is still the best throw in the world this year.
Here is that throw:
Brittany currently works as Director of Operations for the track and cross country programs at Illinois State University (her alma mater).
Unfortunately, this does not involve performing surgery. Instead, Brittany’s duties include arranging travel plans for meets and also creating itineraries for recruits when they visit the ISU campus.
On a typical day, she trains for an hour or two at the ISU facilities before reporting for work. If she needs to squeeze in a second training session on a given day, she has to figure out how to do it before 2:00 because the ISU fieldhouse tends to be packed between 2:00-8:00. Luckily, Smith’s office is in the same building as the fieldhouse, Her workday usually ends around 4:00
Greg Watson, the throws coach at Kansas State, writes Brittany’s throwing and lifting workouts. Greg also coaches Amanda Bingson, the current US champion in the hammer.
Brittany met Watson last summer at the Chicagoland Throws Invite. She said that initially she was “too scared to approach him, then I got the courage to ask if he was interested, and he said ‘yes’ and now here we are.”
Eye witnesses have reported that Brittany’s boyfriend (and current Grand Valley State throws coach) Sean Denard made Watson an offer he could not refuse. Here is a photo of Sean from his college days at Mount Union:
Sources at Mount Union (who requested that their names not be divulged in this article) tell me that Sean grew that beard in approximately 17 minutes.
Coach Watson has Brittany on a Bondarchuk-style strength program which emphasizes quick movements rather than heavy poundage. This approach seems to suit her, and she says that she feels “very strong now.”
Brittany throws different weighted implements in training for full throws and for specific strength exercises. The heaviest ball she has thrown is 6k, which “forces me to slow down and hit the right positions because if I rush through the throw I’ll have to deal with the consequences of the ball coming off my hand and bending my fingers wrong, or landing on the toe board if I’m not positioned right.”
Her practice PR’s with the various implements include 20.11m with the 3k, 19.70m with the 3.5k, approximately 18.15m with the 4k, 17.20m with the 10lb, and 13.70m with the 6k.
For throws fans wondering if Smith will attempt to compete in both the shot and hammer this upcoming outdoor season, wonder no more. She will throw the shot only.
“As of right now, I have focused my attention 100% on the shot put. I’m not ruling out that I will ever throw the hammer again, but my coach and I want to put our best foot forward toward making a couple of national teams the next couple of years, and we’ve decided to give all my time and energy to the shot in order to accomplish that.”
Opening this season at 19.01m was certainly a step in the right direction.
Brittany hopes to take another big step this Sunday.