Discus Throw Secrets

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Okay, so it’s not really a secret… The only real secret to success in the throws is repetition. The sooner the athlete gets a high volume of quality repetitions, the sooner the athlete can begin fine tuning technique. Remember it is easier to learn big movements than smaller more intricate movements. So let the athlete get accustomed to rhythm and basic principles of throwing the discus before becoming too concerned about specific time in each phase or angles of trajectory.

Discus throwers should be taught how to turn within the first week of practice. Now it will most likely be far from perfect, but that’s okay. The thrower is developing a model of movement that they can build from and continue to refine. Too many coaches don’t even allow an athlete to attempt the full throw until they have mastered the power throw. I think this is a mistake. First, it is boring for both the athlete and the coach. And second, just because an athlete attempts full throws doesn’t mean they can’t also work on the power throw as a progression into the full throw.

I subscribe to the Powell philosophy of teaching the rhythm of the event before the athlete even touches a discus. Any time an athlete has a competition implement in her hands, she will be more focused on how far it flies than what she is doing technically. Start simply by having athletes clap the rhythm of the throw. Then move to skipping to the rhythm of the throw. (Always explain where you are going and what the objectives are of these drills so that your athletes buy into them and commit to performing them properly.) Next, add a rotational component with the float-float-sting drill. Many athletes struggle with this drill and have many issues with weight distribution and body positions, but remember right now we are focusing on allowing the athlete to develop a rhythm for the throw. When your athletes have a good understanding for the rhythm in the float-float-sting, give them a cone, bowling pin, shoe, etc., and have them do a series of three followed by a release.

Continue with large movement drills such as these until the athlete can consistently perform a full throw with a non-competition implement. Once this is achieved, the athlete can now begin working with a discus. Continue incorporating the same drills, while slowly shifting more towards discus specific drills and actual throws with the discus.

Stay tuned for the next article which will cover the power throw progression.

write by Alvin Lenahan

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