How They Train: North Babylon's Vanessa Stewart

Name:  Vanessa Stewart             

Age:  16

School:   North Babylon HS

Coach:  Jim DiSalvo

Personal Bests:  Shot Put 46’ 11.75”    Discus 128’

Accolades: Shot Put Suffolk County Champion Winter 2008 and Spring 2008; Suffolk County Indoor Shot Put Record (46’ 11.75”); 2nd Place New York State Federation Championships Winter 2008, All-State in the  Shot Put; 2nd Place NYSPHSAA Championships Spring 2008, All-State;  Bishop Loughlin Games Champion Shot Put 2007 and 2008; Bishop Loughlin Games record holder Shot Put; Marine Corps Holiday Classic Champion 2008; Loucks Games Champion Shot Put 2008; 7th place National Scholastic Indoor Championships 2008


Typical Training Week

a.       Pre-Season

Monday: Half mile warm up, weight room,  20 minutes bike, bounds and motion drills
Tuesday:  warm up, 3 x 10 shot put lifts, kick-backs, stop-actions, 20 throws, 40m sprints, 50 push-ups and 200 crunches and toe lifts in sets
Wednesday:  warm up, weight room, bike, bounds and motion drills
Thursday:  warm up, shot put lifts, kick-backs, stop actions, 20 throws, 40m sprints, push-up and crunch and toe lift sets
Friday:  warm up, weight room, bike, bounds, motions and stretching drills
Saturday:  warm up, spin practice in circle, shot lifts, stop actions, 10 goal post throws, 20 throws in circle, 40m sprints, sets
Sunday: cross train (usually basketball pick-up games around neighborhood parks)

b.      Season


Monday:  warm up, 30 shot put lifts with 12lb shot, stop actions, 20 goal post shots (12lb shot), kick back and spin repeats, 10 throws in circle (4K) and 10 throws (12lb), 40m sprints, push-ups, crunches and toe lifts
Tuesday:  warm up, weight room, bike, bounds, motion drills and stretch
Wednesday:  warm up, 30 shot put lifts (12lb), stop actions, goal post throws (12lb), kick-back and spin repeats, 10 throws in circle (12lb) and 10 throws (4k), 40m sprints, push-ups, crunches and toe lifts
Thursday:  warm up, weight room, bike, bounds, motions drills and stretch
Friday:  warm up, 10 shot put lifts (12lb), stop actions, 10 goal post throws (12lb and 4k),  5 throws in circle (12lb) , 5 throws in circle (4k)
Saturday:  Meet Day
Sunday:  Cross train or day of rest


Goals:  New York State Championship, Top Six in Nationals at Armory, and hopefully 50 foot shot put.


Coaches’ Philosophy (by DiSalvo): Sometimes at the sign-up meeting for our girl's track team, I ask the girls to hold their breaths while I time them, calling out times as the room is filled with gasping kids.  I then ask them to do it again, only this time they are to focus on the passing their times from the first trial.  99% of the girls succeed.  My point, as you've guessed, is that focusing upon goals helps us achieve those goals.  I give them the tried but true old line that they can be anything they want.  However, they just have to want it badly enough. They must learn what needs to be sacrificed in order to reach that goal.  They are then asked to write down their goals for the season and hand it in to the coach. 

As a high school teacher and coach, I wear two hats while coaching the girls.  As a coach, I try to help them win.  As a teacher, I try to help them reach their potential, whatever that potential might be.  As coaches, we might bask in the spotlight of an athlete who wins a championship, but those are too far and few between to sustain us for very long.  We also share the pride of the middle of the pack runner who has achieved a personal best or the freshman who has won her first medal.

I want each girl to reach beyond her limits and to test herself. I want them out of their comfort zones. I want them to run one more mile than thought they could, and I want them to carry that inner strength out into life off the track. I tell them when they're old and gray, or even 25, they may not remember their times or results, but they will remember the workouts, the sweat and being part of a team.  Hopefully, they will remember that hard work equals success.

Lastly, I want them to become runners for life.  As we in the track world know, running gives us so much more than medals or accolades.  Sometimes, just the act of putting one foot in front of the other brings a certain peace.  There's nothing else in the world like it.  Keep on running and don't look back too often, that's what I hope they learn.