First Post

I am writing my blog so you all will know what I went through in my career and possible some of that can help you with your journey.  I will share my experiences and what I learned in my journey. I will cover all areas of athletics woven with my experiences and thoughts.   This blog is for athletes of all sports, ages, and genders.   Some of the things I will write about are how to deal with failure, how to deal with success, what I wish I knew earlier, how to train your mind for success,  how to get ahead of your competition,  how to balance training and life, and many more areas.  Hopefully some of this inspire you and motivate you through good times and bad.    

Let me introduce myself to those who dont know anything about me.  My name is Tim Mack.  I grew up in Westlake, Ohio which is a 20mn drive west of Cleveland, Ohio.   I was a pretty good athlete, but not great.  In grade school I played baseball, basketball, track, and football.  I started pole-vaulting in the 8th grade because I didnt like running distance and the pole-vaulters didn't have to run, so I asked if I could train for it.  I pole-vaulted in high school 9th, 11th, and 12 grades.  I didnt vault in the 10th grade because I played baseball.  I also tried to play football but got cut from the football team in the 10th grade.  I was desperate to find a sport.   I was "ok" in the pole vault, so went back to it as a junior and stuck with it.  I ended up vaulting 13'6" as a senior. 

I never made the state meet in high school and never got any scholarship offers.  I was going to "walk-on" at Toledo University in Ohio.   I went to Toledo for freshman orientation, I got my school I.D. and class schedule at Toledo.  I was set.  Then, the summer after I had graduated high school, I vaulted on a summer track team.  While doing that I was introduced to coach Ralph Schreiber at Malone College in Canton, Oh..  Malone was 1 1/2 hour drive southeast from Westlake.   He was only the pole vault coach, but he was there for every part of training.  He, for some reason, showed interest in me?  He and two pole-vaulters (Brian Kelly and Rich Hlaudy) came to my house to recruit me, met my parents, and that was that.  I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to improve because both vaulters were vaulting better than me. 

At Malone we trained very hard and Coach Ralph was there for all parts of training.  After 3 years, I ended up breaking the school record and vaulting 17'5".  After my 3rd year at Malone Coach Ralph thought it would be a good idea for me to transfer to a bigger school.  It was because I improved quite a bit, but that was with vaulting and running in the snow and vaulting in the gym wearing high jump shoes.  He thought if I went somewhere with better weather and facilities, the sky was the limit.  He saw somthing in me that I had not seen yet but i believed in him.   So I ended up writing letters to the best NCAA vault schools in the country.    

University of Tennessee called me first.   I saw that there were 3 vaulters vaulting 18'+ and one vaulting 19+.  They also had a reputabl coach there in Jim Bemiller.  I was a decent competitor and those vaulters would help me get better.   It was an easy decision for me, so went to UT. 

After 2 years at UT, I ended up vaulting 18'4" and won an Indoor NCAA National Championship.   After I graduated, it was 1996 and also the Olympic Trials.  I qualified to those trials, but I did not make the pole vault final.  That means I did not jump high enough in the preliminary to vault in the final and a chance to go to the Olympics. 

It really hurt not even making the final at the Olympic Trials.  I didnt know what I was going to do now.  I didnt think I was good enough to keep training and felt embarrassed to even tell anyone that I wanted to continue.  Then, my advisor at UT asked me what I was going to do now that I had graduated.  I told him I had no clue.  He said to come back in a few days and he had an option for me.  I went to see him a few days later and he said he had a graduate assistantship for me that would pay my living expenses as well as allow me to study to get a Master's degree!  No doubt I took that deal!  He saw somthing that I did not see yet!  It was the perfect opportunity!  I could continue to train with my coach and use the school facilities and get some more education.

Four years later it was time for the 2000 Olympic Trials!  I was sure I could make it.  I had vaulted 19 that year and was one of the top vaulters in the nation.   One problem was that I wanted it so bad, and trained so hard, that I found out later I had been "over-trained".  That means I was beating up my nervous system so much everyday, that my body could handle it.  My run-up was getting shorter, I was gripping lower on the pole, I was vauting on softer poles…alll bad indicators at the end of the season.  I was trying my best to positive, but I knew somthing was not right.  I ended up getting 6th place (they only take the top 3).  I was devastated.  I thought I had done everything right and was in a very bad place.  I thought there was no way out.   I saw I had 2 options…quit, or do everything In my power to everything smarter and better.  

I had 4 years to make this right!  I left no stone unturned!   I did not have any trainining partners (I didnt care either) for 4 years, Other that vault workouts, I had to do all the workouts by myself.  I had to keep myself accountable, motivate myself, develop my own workouts, and somtimes punish myself if I was late for practice…for 4 years!   

I sought out help from as many sprint coaches, strength coaches, vault coaches that I could.   I saw sport psychologst, Joe Whitney, for the 4 years leading up to the Olympics.  I had regular massage therapy and chiropractic treatments.   I was obsessed.  I even chose an email to use for the 4 years leading up to Olympics.  That email was "goldnathens@aol.com".  I chose that so I would see and write my goal everyday.  I remember, I was so embarrased to tell people my email, I would just tell them it was "gold nathans"  like the name of a person!   It was for me, not anyone else.   I would not be denied!

Four long years later I ended up winning the Olympic Trials with an Olympic Trials record 19'4 3/4".  Even better, it was in Sacramento, Ca., the same place it was at 4 years earlier where I failed.  Then, I went on to win the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece with an Olympic record 19'6 1/2".  That was also a personal best and I cleared it on my 3rd attempt!

Check back frequently for new stories and information!   

Thanks for reading.

Tim

 

    

u© Tim Mack 2018