New mindset leads to improvements for Iowa trackster Williams

BY DANNY PAYNE | APRIL 17, 2013 5:00 AM

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A key piece to Khanishah Williams’ performance is her confidence and mindset  — something Iowa’s track and field assistant coach Clive Roberts has worked on with her.

“[Coach Roberts and I] have talked a lot about my confidence and how I maintain that from last year to this year,” Williams said.

Consistency, Roberts said, has been a key factor in boosting the sophomore’s confidence.

“I think we just got Khanishah’s mind in the right place,” he said. “I think just being more consistent in practice and getting her mind where it needs to be leads to the consistency you see on the track.”

That has paid dividends for the Burlington native, exemplified by her recent string of personal records.

Williams jumped 5-11¼ at the Jim Click Invitational on April 6 and clocked a time of 14.49 in the 100-meter hurdles on April 13 at the Calhoun Invitational. Both marks were good for first in each meet.

Williams enjoys competing in numerous events — she believes it helps her perform better.

“I like running in a lot of events,” the former high-school state champion said, adding that it keeps her from thinking too hard about one event.

“I mean, you need to be focused on an event, but it’s just so I’m not freaking out about one thing,” she said.

Roberts has recognized this strategy and uses it to her advantage.

“Honestly, I just use the hurdles to get her mind away from high jump, so she’s not just constantly thing about high jump, high jump, high jump,” he said. “[It goes back to] making sure her mind is in the right place.”

Head coach Layne Anderson sees the experience of going through the program last season as another advantage.

“A lot of this year is certainly having the experience and being able to rely on that experience from last year,” he said. “Perhaps what not to do and how to do things perhaps in a different and more beneficial manner.”

Williams’ goals are simple for the rest of the season. She wants to gain another ¾ of an inch to clear 6 feet in the high jump, improve her hurdle time, and win the Big Ten high-jump championship.

“I know I have the chance to get the title,” Williams said. “So I’m just working at that and hope that comes.”

She is a contender for the outdoor title after placing second in the high jump at the indoor Big Ten meet in February.

“Certainly, she’s one of two or three people who, if they jump at or near their best, have a legitimate shot to [win the Big Ten championship],” Anderson said.

Williams will keep a positive mindset to achieve these goals.

“I just work hard and keep believing in myself,” she said. “Never doubting myself or putting negative thoughts in my head. [I tell] myself I can do it.”

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