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Interview with Matt Vincent (12/20/11)

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    Posted: 12/21/11 at 5:44am

Interview with Matt Vincent (12/20/11)

by Myles Wetzel

Matt Vincent

Matt is the new pro on the block and a good one.  His first year on the pro side he did some amazing things and got second at the worlds.  I was there for the event and he was impressive.  Some of the most explosive throws you will ever see and a very technical guy also.  A young man that is very respectful and I enjoyed his company.  As you can see he writes a lot and has his own blog that has a lot of good info.  So enjoy Matt Vincent. 

Matt has a few sponsors that help him

Sport Kilt, USPLabs, and Conquest Nutrition.  

Here is his blog addy  http://thedriftalifta.blogspot.com/ 

How old are you?   

 

28

 

Where were you born? 

 

Lake Charles, LA I grew up in Sulphur, LA.

 

Where do you live now?

 

Baton Rouge, LA

 

How did you end up there?

 

I was asked to walk on to the track team at LSU.  Once I started college it is where I have decided to stay. 

 

What do you drive?

 

Dodge RAM 1500 HEMI GO!!!!  It is a company truck.

 

What size shoe do you wear?

 

Despite lying to myself during high school and wearing a size 15, I think I thought that if I had big shoes I would eventually get taller and grow into them. I wear a 13 now.

 

Have you gone green?

 

I use a reusable water bottle, but other than that probably not.

 

What do you think about global warming?

 

HA

 

Do you recycle?

 

No where I live we do not have recycling bins if we did I would though.

 

What do you do for a living?

 

I do outside sales for an Industrial hardware and distillation internal manufacturer.  So what I actually do is sell specialized hardware to the petro chemical industry.  I travel quite a bit since my sales area is described best as not Texas.

 

How did you get into that?

 

I worked for another company doing work in the refineries, then started doing sales for them.  After that the company my brother was working for was looking for an outside sales guy.  They offered the job I took it.  So basically nepotism.

 

Tell us about your education?

 

Graduated from LSU where I studied to be a general.

 

As a kid growing up, what was your first job?

 

I worked at a pet shop in middle school.

 

When you grew up as a kid, what sports did you play?

 

Pretty much everything available soccer, baseball, football, basketball and track in middle school.

 

Did you throw in high school and if so what did you throw?

 

In high school I threw shot and discus.  I was bad at discus throwing about 100’-110’ if I remember.  Shot was different I threw 59’11.75” and won two state championships.

 

Tell us about throwing in college.

 

Throwing in college was a lot of fun.  I wish I would have been as focused on it as I am now.  I had a couple issues with coaches that I did not mesh with.  Other than that it was great experience.  Our team won 4 national championships while I was there.  I learned a lot about training and throwing.

 

Talk about your brother and his throwing.

 

It has been great over the last five years getting a chance to compete with and against him.  Whether it was strongman or Highland games it has been great.  We are very close and talk everyday for the most part.  While growing up we were never on the same teams since he was 4 years older.  He got out of HS before I started.

 

Tell some about Andy’s competing and what he does and his influence on you.

 

 Andy has taken great to the games.  He is a lot of fun to train with when we get the chance.  Getting a chance to work with him while I was doing Strongman was fun.  I knew due to previous injuries that I was not going to be able to get where I wanted in that sport.  While training for strongman three years ago, that is what really sparked my interest again as an adult in strength sports.  He has been great motivation and always been a great influence for me.  We did our first games together and we have been hooked since. 

The games have been a change for us since right now I am throwing better than him.  I think this is the 1st time in our sports career that I have been better than him in what we are doing.  I am glad I have a couple hundred thousand throws reps to fall back on.  He will get it all together and be a great thrower as well, I just have to take this time to make as big a gap as possible.

 

What was your first Highland Game and when was that?

 

Jackson, LA.  In November of 2008.

 

Who was at that game?

 

It was the North vs. South game.  I think you were, Kay Cummings, Keven Dupuis, Jeremy Gillingham, and plenty of others. 

 

What made you decide to try and compete at a game?

 

It was a natural path as a thrower but just like strongman I had no idea it was as available to compete like it is.

 

What is your favorite event?

 

Open Stone

 

What is a common mistake you see people make in that event?

 

The number one thing is people not using a left side block.

 

Talk about your game day shoes.

 

Ok well I am a bit of a gear junkie.  This is a carryover from my days of Powerlifting and Strongman.  So I think in my box I have hammer boots, javelin boots (these are for all the distance events and sheaf), and I use weightlifting shoes for WOB.  I also carry throwing shoes as well as soccer cleats.  I hate not having everything I want.

 

Talk about using gloves.

 

I use a simple leather glove from Lowes.  The biggest difference in the games for me using it or not was the amount of volume I can handle with it versus without.  I like to take a lot of training throws and warm-ups.  Consistent repetition is what helps me get better.  For example it is not uncommon for me to take 40 HWFD throws a week during the season.  Without the glove my hook grip kills my thumb.  Using tape helps but even then it is just not great I will lose a thumb nail every games without it.

 

What is your worst event and what have you don’t to bring it up?

 

Hammer and Caber for sure are the biggest hole in my game.  To fix it I am spending a ton of time working both events.  I also built a caber this off season.  Like I said I need the repletion on implements to get good at them. 

 

Who were the first people to influence and coach you in the sport?

 

There is a local guy who does strongman Mark Cummings and he was the guy who originally got me into both games.  He had equipment and some of the basic ideas down.

 

Talk some about throwing games as an amateur, what games you did and where.

 

I like to compete and for the last two years have done 15+ games a season.  I have competed in lots of different places.  Here are some of the states I have thrown in over the last two years:  PA, TX, NC, GA, FL, CA, WA, NH, MN, OK, NE, TN and I know I am missing something.  I travel a lot for work so I try to catch games while also out on the road where ever I am.

 

What were your favorite amateur games?

 

The amateur world championships in MN were great games both years I had the chance.  Pleasanton was lots of fun as well and legendary.  Loch Norman is a lot of fun as well.  Enumclaw however is probably my favorite.  I love throwing off that surface in throwing shoes.  Iron thistle is a great game in OK.  All of the TX games were amazing, we were really lucky to have well run games and a Super A class the whole time I have been competing.  Over the last three years if you can win in TX you can win anywhere.  I also really enjoyed the Maryville games in TN. 

 

But my favorite is probably Enumclaw and Pleasanton.

 

Do you have any game or lifting rituals?

 

 As a thrower in college I have some repetitive moments that I do.  For example on Stones I kick the toe board with my left foot before each throw and look at the sector.  This is habit from college.  As far as anything else I have purposely work really hard on getting rid of anything major since things can change so much game to game.

 

The only note able competition ritual for me is having my toenails painted.  I have been doing this since college and it has always worked.  I don’t argue it.

 

Talk about some of the pro games you have done and your favorites.

Well I am a new pro so I only have two “pro contest” under my belt.  I will consider Enumclaw a pro contest as well though I just happened to qualify for it.  I have spoke about how much I love Enumclaw.  With that said the IHGF World Championships in NH were great.  I have wanted to compete at Loon Mtn since I was just doing Strongman.  So getting a chance to throw there was really an honor some amazing athletes have done battle on that field.

 

Second place at the worlds your first year pro, tell how that feels.

 

It has been a lot of fun.  I am glad that I got the opportunity through the IGHF Amateur Worlds to get a shot at the big dance.  That game really was perfect for me.  I was in a great position to come in and succeed.  Being new and my first pro games some people may have had some nerves or felt pressure on them.  After talking a bit with Mike Pockoski it really cleared my head.  It was clear that no matter where I finished people were going to be impressed.  So I went out and threw hard with nothing to lose.  I came in second and the points at the end make it look closer than it ever felt with Dan.  I have always been a gamer and want to compete with the best.  Dan was the man all last year and that was the 1st time I got to share a field with him or meet him.  I now know where I stand in regards to all the top guys, there is no room to make mistakes at that level.

 

Talk about being explosive, is there anything you think others can do to make that happen for them.  In other words tell me how I can be that way. 

 

One of the old mantras I have always heard was squat for strength and jump for speed.  I do bounding as well as spend one of my training days doing Olympic movements.

 

Who do you enjoy competing with and why?

 

I always love getting to throw with my brother.  I am so happy this is something we can share as men.  It always brings me back because we are typically talking trash and making fun of each other like we are kids.  He is my favorite that I want at every game.

 

Let me mention some names and you comment on them;

Overfelt;   He set me straight day one about how the pro class was going to work.  Also he is a jokester and a ton of fun to be around all day.

Betz;  Sean, is one the most knowledgeable guys out there.  He has always been there for me to bounce ideas off of.

Bogue;  Really don’t know the guy personally just of him.  Legend

C. Smith;  What can I say Craig is great.  He has been my go to guy for opinions on training and the game of being a pro thrower.  He is always very supportive as well.

Valenti;  Strong dude.  I look forward to getting to throw with him more next year.  I have always enjoyed competing and sharing the field with fellow meat heads and getting him, Craig, and KO together at Stone Mtn this year was a riot.  I was just trying to keep up with the talk on that field.  There is nothing I love more than hanging out and being ruthlessly made fun of and dishing it back out.

Zilstra; Really don’t know the guy personally just of him.  Legend

Poke; Really don’t know the guy personally just of him.  Legend

Dan;  Is something else.  I appreciate everything he does.  He is also possibly the nicest guy I have ever met.  He is the real deal strength wise and throwing.  He is the guy to beat right now.  He is also as genuine with everything he does as he could be.

 

Talk about some of the throws, games and moments you are most proud of.

 

Throwing 60’4” in the open stone at Worlds was big for me.  I have been chasing that number a long time. I never threw 60’ in college or high school.  Now that the door past 60’ is open I need to keep chasing Oldfield.  All though coming through in the caber is probably my best performance.

 

Talk about training and your philosophy in the area of throwing?

 

Training gets over thought a lot.  I have had the chance to train with a ton of talented guys pro strongmen, powerlifters, throwers, and just great meat heads I respect.  When it boils down to it there is no magic bullet or hidden key.  It is consistency and hard work.  All strength sports are the same they require strong back, legs, shoulders, arms, and hips. 

This is nothing new I am not a unique snowflake.  A healthy serving of heavy squatting, pulling, pressing both overhead and bench are the keys to strength.  Everything else is built to make you better at those things.  The only difference that changes when it comes to training to throw is remembering all of the lifts are accessories to throwing.  To get better at throwing you have to spend a ton of time throwing.  The strength you pick up in the weight room will not translate into distance if you are technically bad at throwing.

 

When you peak for a game, how do you structure your week prior to that game?

 

Peaking for a games for me consist of backing off the weights.  I change to some light lifting 4 days a week really only a main lift for some quick doubles, then go and throw.  I throw up until Thursday the week of competition and then back off Friday and compete Saturday.  We threw all the time in college and this is no difference.  If something big is coming up say for Worlds I will back off a couple extra days.

 

Talk about then how you structured your week in season with no game that week.

 

I am a 3 day lift and 3 days throwing.  Some days I do both.  It is day 1 squat/bench, day 2 Overhead/Deadlift, and day 3 is clean/snatch.  I like having my more explosive movements at the end of the week. I will throw on the weekend regardless of games or not. 

 

Tell us about some of the injuries you had as an athlete.

 

Well I have had all of the minor stuff but that is just aches and pains.  The only major is ACL tear during college.  I have had reconstruction on it, but since have retorn it.  I do not plan on having surgery again for this knee unless I Pulcinella it.  I have been really lucky with major injuries.  Something is always tender or hurting, but that is part of the game.  I have always believed that if you are training hard you are riding a fine line of healthy and hurt.

 

Who makes you laugh at games now?

 

I love laughing so it doesn’t take much.  I love the “ball busting” that comes with this crowd.  That type of constant picking always makes me laugh.

 

Did you know there was a masters guy who wore pink way back in 2003 at the MWC in Springfield?

 

I did not, I bet he drops bombs.  No more pink this year.  I am changing my color scheme.  I hope it still looks as ridiculous.

 

What training philosophy do you follow in the gym?

 

Listen to your body not the newest fads.  Strength training has always revolved around big multi-joint lifts.  These are your bread and butter.  Do those 3-4 days a week for a decade and you will get where you are going.  Strength training is something I love and will always will.

 

When did you start lifting weights and what got you started?

 

I started in high school for football.  We had a serious strength training program in high school, though misguided it taught me the fundamentals of the basic lifts.  It also told me how to work hard and push myself past where the body wants to stop.

 

What lift is your favorite and what is your best?

 

I love squatting.  Well as much as you can love squatting it is a love/hate thing.  Squatting for me is the best lift there is.  It is a full body lift and always leaves me trashed.  I have puked many times from squatting heavy.  No one ever puked form benching or curls.

 

What do you like to do outside of the games?

 

The games are my hobby that and training.  Other than that I love traveling.  I want to experience as much as I can from food to different cultures.  My job allows me to get this travel bug I have kept pretty well at bay. 

 

What other hobbies do you have?

 

Meeting some of the people I respect in world of strength and Iron and talking with them one on one.  In the world of the internet you can read everything someone has ever written.  I personally want to get to talk to them and see what makes them tick.  I don’t want to talk about what it would be like to train with someone or somewhere I want to know what that is like.

 

What is your favorite food?

 

This is tough for me.  My love affair with food has gone on much longer than my attraction to lifting.  I will list a couple of my favorite things from traveling.  I love sandwiches and the best thing I have found in the country is in Lake Charles, LA.  It is the Darrel’s Special.  This sandwich is roast beef, ham, turkey covered in gravy, two types of cheese, and bread that could not have any more butter in it.  Also the home made Jalapeno Mayo is a must.  I have eaten a ton of different things from poboys in NOLA, cheese steaks in philly, and beefs in Chicago.  Darrel’s is the best and it is not even close.

 

I love hot dogs as well and Hot Doug’s in Chicago is the best.  Steaks in Philly from this place down the street in Glenolden PA from Iron Sport this place kills all the other more famous spots. 

 

But if I was going to die and had to pick my last meal it would possibly be a never ending plate of pot roasted Teal with dirty rice made with hearts and livers.  I wish I had a trap door I could open in my stomach so I could just continue driving it into me.

 

What is a favorite dessert for you?

 

My favorite of all time is glass of milk and Oreos or Chips-ahoy reduced fat (they absorb milk better) Chocolate chip cookies and nesquick chocolate milk.  I purposely don’t have these in my house because I will eat them till they are all gone.  I mean all of it all the cookies in a pack.

 

At your house do you cook on the grille?

  

Almost daily I eat more than, fifteen chicken breast a week. I also love simple steak and potatoes. 

 

What supplements do you take?

 

I have been lucky enough to get sponsored by the supplement company USPLabs.  They send me a ton of stuff.  I searched them out after using their pre-workout product Jack3d for a couple years.  I take Protein from Conquest Nutrition it works great for me as a meal replacement

 

Talk about drugs you use, and I don’t mean steroids.  I mean anti inflames or something prior to training to get up.

 

Again Jack3d mixed with Modern BCAA by USPLabs has been the best for me for a long time.  I went to them for sponsorship because I was using these products and figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  They have turned me onto a fantastic joint supplement Super Cissus it helps strengthen and rebuild connective tissue.  I take regular stuff like fish oil, flax seed oil, and Aleve.  Also fiber is a must for all athletes and people; I care enough about this that I wrote my first article on it.  The only thing out of normal is I take an absurd amount of Vitamin C about 12,000 mg a day.  I read some stuff on it and have since started taking it.  I like the results I have seen.  Vitamin C boost immune function and keeps your body healthy we do not get near what we need from food, so I supplement this.

 

What do you drink with a meal at home?

 

It is rare for me to drink anything but water.  I pound about 2 gallons a day.

 

Do you live in a house, apartment or ?

 

 I have a house I bought in 2006.

 

Tell us about the rest of your family.

 

I got married in December of 2010.  Her name is Ashley and I have no idea what I would do without her.  She is great and tremendously supportive in all of this.  I also have two dogs Sunday (chocolate lab) and Zombie (mutt looks like German Sheppard but small, typical mutt).

 

 

Talk about the impact of traveling to all the games and dealing with that in regard to work and family.

 

As far as work goes it has not really been an issue I will try and do games that I can drive to and work my way there and home after.  I am on the road a lot about 5-7thousand miles a month without games.  Like I said before I have been very lucky and my wife supports the games.  She knows that I am a wonderer by nature and need to run occasionally for a change of scenery. 

 

What faith do you follow?

 

 

 

Do you like to garden?

 

My wife does occasionally but I think she does it just to take out her rage on plants.  If there ever was a serial killer for plants she would be it.  Slowly searching them out at stores only to take them home and torture them and kill them slowly of thirst.

 

Do you mow your own grass or do you have a man?

 

I mow my own grass.  It is one of my least favorite things to do even though it takes less than an hour to do all of it.

 

Are you a cat or dog person?

 

Dog though we both want a hairless cat.  They are so awful looking I think it would be neat to have roaming the house.

 

Are you conservative or liberal in your politics?

 

I think both side pretty much screw it up and there is less difference between them.  I am Libertarian.

 

Are you into Astrology?  What sign are you?

 

 

Are you superstitious?  Or a Stevie Wonder fan?

 

Not terribly superstitious at all I can manage to do with the flow, but like when things fall into our normal routine at home.  Stevie Wonder?  Yes please.  I got a chance to meet him two years ago in Los Angeles, I ran into him and his security team at the movies.  I know that is weird I thought the same thing.  “Why is he at the movies?”  Concert sure but movies are visual thing.  I know I feel the same way but you are not going to not meet Stevie Wonder given the chance.

 

Talk about some of the music you listen to at different times.

 

 I am all over the map on this one.  I am currently listening to Say Anything.  It is probably my favorite band of all time.  Also for just listening Florence and the Machine, Radio Head, Alkaline Trio, Adele, Tim Barry, Queen, David Bowie, and Prince.

 

However I listen to lots of rap and metal while training.  Current lifting favorites are Childish Gambino, Kanye West & Jay-Z, King Fantastic, and Lil Wayne as far as rap.  Metal would be Every Time I Die, Red Fang, Sleep, The Bled, High on Fire, Electric Wizard, and Refused

 

Where do you like to go out to eat?

 

I love Mexican food anywhere I can get it or Sushi.

 

What do you like to watch on TV?

 

Currently I am watching The League, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Layover, No Reservations, Archer, and Top Gear (BBC not the awful dribble they try and pass off on the American version.)

 

Some all time favorite shows are The Shield, Party Down, Trailer Park Boys, The Wire, and Boardwalk Empire.

 

Are you a western movie or sci fi person?  Tell a favorite.

 

I like both.  All of the old westerns are great not Will Rodgers old but Spaghetti Westerns.  The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is a great piece of film.  As far as sci-fi goes love Zombie stuff.  All time favorite has to be 28 days later.  It is great from start to finish.  My favorite genre is definitely Horror and there are too many great ones to mention. 

 

What are the goals for this year?

 

I want to win both Celtic and Worlds.  I can make up other goals but honestly those are the two things I think about the most.

 

Thank you brother.

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