, Salem, MA

April 6, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Renowned throw coach coming to Fenwick

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — The Bishop Fenwick track and field program will host the Phase One Throws Clinic Sunday, April 14 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. with world renown John Godina.

The event is open to athletes from any school, and Crusader track coach Jay Smith is pleased to give throwers a chance to learn from the former Olympic champion and world record holder.

Godina is a nine-time Olympic and World Champion medalist and four-time world champ. He is the founder of the World Throws Center and designed a program that is taught to throws coaches around the world.

The event at Fenwick was originally scheduled for February, but a winter snowstorm caused it to be rescheduled.

“We hope to get a good turnout because this is a great opportunity to learn from one of the best throwers we’ve ever had in this country,” said Smith. “We held a coaches clinic with him last November and coaches from all over New England took part. Now, this program offers kids a chance to participate in the drills and learn from Godina.

“His father has been a track coach for a long time, and John is schooled in the methods. He has put together a phenomenal program and has a great way with the people he trains. Our climate is not as conducive to throwing as some other areas of the country. When you look at the Nationals, there aren’t many from Massachusetts; they tend to come from places like Florida and California.”

The emphasis at the clinic will be on learning drills and progressions through participation. Godina stresses the fundamentals of movement preparation and improving techniques with one-of-a-kind WTC drills to increase rotational and linear balance. He uses a drill pack that includes a medicine ball, cone markers, and step hurdles along with one-on-one coaching.

“There are a couple of solid high school programs for throwers in this area, but unfortunately not a lot of good coaching available to athletes. Any success kids tend to have is more an indication of the individual and not the program. Somebody who has a lot of natural talent will do fine, and somebody with average physical ability but good coaching can do okay.

“Programs that consistently produce good athletes rely on both coaching and ability. In track we tend to get a lot of athletes that don’t know anything about the sport, but think it will help in their other activities. After a while they start to realize they are really track kids.”

Fenwick and St. John’s Prep (under coach Ray Carey) have been pioneers in the weight throw and consistently produce top athletes in the throwing events.

“Ray does a great job, and I’m trying to do everything I can in the throwing area,” said Smith. “This clinic gives kids the opportunity to learn from one of the very best we have in this country. He was great at the coaches’ clinic, and we’re excited to offer kids the opportunity to learn by doing his drills.”

Anyone interested can register online at or by calling coach Smith at 978-745-3629.


Conor Powers will play football at Hamilton College next year. The St. John’s Prep senior applied early decision and will major in biology, with plans to go on to med school to become an orthopedic surgeon.

“I was looking for a strong academic school where I could also play football,” said the Gloucester resident, who has a 4.03 GPA. “I could not picture not playing football the next four years. I was looking mostly at NESCAC schools with Hamilton, Bowdoin, Bates, and St. Lawrence University high on my list. Once I visited Hamilton ,I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I loved the whole package — and they’ve just revamped their science program, which definitely interested me.”

Powers, who played free safety for the Super Bowl champion Eagles, has been told he will be used at cornerback by the Continentals.

“They told me I’d be a field corner,” said Powers. “When the ball lines up on a hash mark, one side of the field is more wide open. I’ll be on the side with more space to cover. I’m always up for a challenge.”

Powers used to play hockey, but decided to run winter track to get faster for football. He is now doing the 100 and 200 for the outdoor track team.

“Track has really helped me get faster,” said Powers. “It also keeps me in shape. The Hamilton coaches told me I will get a program to follow for three weeks in a row, and then another one week max workout. It involves mostly lifting and plyometrics.”


Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at