The effortless throw, sliding off the fingers, chalk in the air, feeling as though minimal energy has been utilized to release the big throw. Everything felt perfect, everything felt lined up for a reason, and the shot sails just past the 60-foot line. The emotion is fantastic, the energy incredible and the emotional response blissful. What are the absolute keys to achieving this monstrous feeling?!?!
The Coveted Distance
For high school guys, throwing 60 feet is a breakthrough throw. You have entered the upper echelon of high school throws ranks. This is relatively similar to the 45-foot line for high school girls. The mark that very few high school throwers can hit consistently. These are marks that raise the eyes of collegiate coaches and also catch the attention of the opponents! So what are the major keys behind these throws? There are five major points to focus on from a baseline perspective.
1. Throw 4-5 Days a Week
This is a factor that everyone forgets about in regard to throwing. What are we training for? We are training as throwers, therefore we need to throw! This principle is simple yet regularly misunderstood. Imagine a football team not getting on the field and practicing their skill on a regular basis. Imagine Jordan Burroughs not getting on the mat every single day to hone his craft. The best in the world are constantly looking forward and constantly making progress in their specific skill.
Throwing is a skill and it takes time and reps to improve. The more a thrower is able to throw, the more they can improve their technical literacy, the more they can mature as an athlete, this takes time and patience to learn. By throwing regularly and improving movement, the thrower can constantly progress forward and learn the in’s and out’s of throwing excellence.
2. Throw Heavy and Throw Light
This principle rides the past principle. Take throws on a regular occasion and make technical adaptations. Over a period of time, start to throw heavier implements and lighter implements. The different feelings can lead to greater technical learning while also altering the mundane world of throwing. Throwing light implements with heavy or competitive implements can improve speed and even strength to a point. Find out which weighted implements work best for you and build upon them!
In our ThrowsU pre-built programs, we use 1-2 different implements and periodize them accordingly to improve learning and overall performance. These programs are built from over a decade of experience and developed to elicit the best physical and mental response to training. These are principles learned directly from Olympic champion and coach of multiple Olympic medalists, Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk.
3. Bench 300lbs, Clean 275-300lbs
Strength numbers can provide an excellent benchmark for athletes to work toward over long periods of time. To throw 60 feet, it is highly recommended to hit the weight room regularly and push the weights as much as possible. Recently, I was asked how a smaller thrower like Dustin Hyde is capable of throwing 60 feet with the 12lber and 50+ feet with the 16lber. My answer was simple, Dustin can bench 370lbs and cleans well over 300lbs. This aids him tremendously with throwing.
As a rule of thumb, benching 300lbs and cleaning 300lbs is a very easy benchmark for most high school throwers to hit 60 feet. Sure, there will be some outliers to these numbers but if that outlier was a LITTLE bit stronger, maybe they’d be throwing 65 feet?!?! Take Jeff Kline for example, as he started to regularly bench 350lbs in training and clean well over 300lbs, he found his consistency to go from 57 feet to 62 feet!
4. Lift four days a week
Piggybacking off the last principle, as throwers we HAVE to train hard on a regular basis. That means 4-5 days a week in the weight room! To be elite and ultimately climb the ladder to compete at a higher level, throwers need to learn how to train and engage with a big-time work ethic. This makes it easier to continue making progress throughout a long-winded career.
By following a proper four days a week plan, gains can be had on a regular occasion. Planning and understanding how lifts impact the throws and learning this as a competitor and a coach is very important to continuously make progress in a training system.
5. Consistency Year ROUND
One of the biggest failures in the throwing world is a sense of flakiness. Flakiness in regards to CONSISTENTLY working hard and constantly striving forward. A lot of throwers will get uneasy when technique gets difficult, they will shy away from the days of constant struggle and frustration. This leads to taking off for long periods of time and avoidance of long term hard work. This cyclical apathetic attitude leaves the athlete constantly wondering, “What if….?”
This past winter, Michigan Junior Sarah Marvin was deep inside her basketball season. We decided about mid-way through the season to focus just on lifting and drilling while she torched the hardwood. She kept that consistency rolling while earning an All-State accolade and then opened up her season with multiple throws over 48 feet! That consistency is what creates champions!
Use these five principles to consistently improve as a coach or thrower! Set standards and work forward on a regular basis. When the going gets tough, don’t stop but instead push even more. Digging deep and learning alongside the depths of frustration can ultimately lead to the greatest progress and gains.
"Our aim is to provide concise and concrete education and training on the throws, helping coaches and athletes learn what they need to do to succeed and become champions."
- Dane and Trevor