When I was in high school, my coaches steered me away from throwing with the heavier shot. They were afraid that I would develop poor technique, so I rarely used the 16-pounder. Now, as a throws coach, I implement the heavier shot with the athletes I train with. I've learned why and how the transition from the 12-pound to the 16-pound shot is beneficial for high school throwers and throwers transitioning to the collegiate level, and in this blog, we will discuss those findings.
Why Make The Transition
So you may ask, why do we even need to make the transition? If you are a male looking to throw at the collegiate level, you will have to make the transition from the 12-pound to the 16-pound shot. If you are a high school athlete with a training age of at least a year under your belt, implementing throws with the heavier shot can be advantageous for increasing performance, whether that be with a 14, 15, or 16-pound shot.
How To Make The Transition
The easiest way to implement the heavier shot is to work with partial movements, like stand throws, half turns, a-pulls, etc, to start. With simpler movements, the athlete can put more attention on one piece while building special strength. Once the athlete adjusts to the heavier implement through partial movements, then they can transition into whole movement patterns. Working from part to whole can bridge the gap to working with heavier weights.
As mentioned before, my coaches were hesitant to have me take throws with the heavy implement because they were scared that I would develop poor movement habits. I still agree with this notion, but I believe that with a keen eye on the athlete, implementation can be safe. Coaches, when implementing heavier weighted throws, if you start to notice the athlete's form break down, shut them down right then and there! On the other hand, if you notice an athlete is moving proficiently, progress them from simple movements to more complex movements, i.e., part to whole.
What Can Help The Transition
When making the transition from the 12-pound to the 16-pound shot, there are a few key things that can help bridge the gap. The first key is to get stronger. The stronger we can become, the easier it will be to handle the heavier implement. Greater strength levels will also contribute to handling larger volumes of heavier tosses because the body has overcome that stimulus from strength training. The next key is utilizing a wrist wrap or tape. Using either a wrist wrap or tape will create a bracing effect for the wrist, making handling the heavier shot a bit easier. I'm a big advocate for athlete tape, as I've found great success in my training while using tape. A lot of the athletes I work with now use wrist wraps, as it's more convenient to use and don't create waste like tape does. I've also seen athletes use boxing wraps as well. All three can help support the wrist to create a stronger finish.
Making the transition from the 12-pound to 16-pound shot can be a huge jump for some athletes. It's a necessary jump for those athletes looking to compete at the collegiate level. Using the keys provided in the blog can help bridge that gap!
Check out our video on the Throws University YouTube page for my tips!
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