Nathan Adams has all the tools to excel in the shot put and hammer throw.
Size, speed, strength, athleticism and drive, he combines all in equal measure.
All he lacks is throwing experience.
He had none until he got to Franklin College.
“That’s when I found out I was good at it,” said Adams, who arrived at the school as a football player — which he still is.
He’s now a track and field athlete, too.
A 6-foot-2, 225-pound sophomore, Adams is a defensive end on the Grizzlies football team and a thrower on the men’s track and field team.
He joined the track team at the suggestion of the football team’s defensive coordinator, Mel Mills, who is also an assistant throwing coach for the track team.
A football standout from Ben Davis High School, Adams had no throwing or any kind track and field experience but gave it a try because it sounded intriguing.
Now he’s in love with it.
“Honestly, I was looking for something to do between the winter and the spring time to keep me busy,” Adams said. “Once I kind of got into it and got the feel of it, I really enjoyed it and respected it kind of like a science, knowing where you need to put your feet and how you need to turn your hips.
“I kind of fell in love with it by how much hard work I needed to put into it.”
A sociology major, Adams’ events are the shot put and hammer throw. He learned both from scratch but is emerging as one of the better throwers in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
He adapted to the shot fairly quickly but has taken a little more time to develop in the hammer throw, a technique-driven event that also requires strength, timing and athleticism.
“He’s playing catch-up,” Grizzlies head coach Paul Sargent said. “He picked up the shot put pretty quick. He hates discus, and the hammer is one he didn’t think he’d like. He’s picked up some pointers that made a difference.
“That’s kind of the way it works.”
Although football is his primary sport, Adams is now a committed track athlete. He’s in his second track season and has discovered some cross-over benefits for football.
“I think in both sports you need to be able to open and close your hips really fast, and it’s the same thing with throwing shot,” he said. “You need to be able to turn your feet and open up your hips and really kind of throw your arm into it.
“It’s kind of the same deal in football. You need to be able to turn your hips on the drop of a dime.”
And when you’re learning on the fly, you have to work that much harder. Especially in the hammer throw, where any number of things can go wrong if everything isn’t done right.
“I’m starting to become a little more successful at it,” Adams said. “I’m starting to rise in the conference standings. It’s because I have to go out there and throw extra.
“I didn’t start throwing at all until I got to college. I need to put in extra hours to catch up with everybody else.”