You have seen your competition taking massive standing throws in warm-ups. The intimidation sinks in, the distance is as far as your full competitive throws. When it’s all said and done, they have you beaten already from a mental perspective. A big stand, a mind game, and some intensity in warm-ups puts you back into your non-competitive state! But what can you do? Is there some way to get out of this funk and warm up with the big guns?
Oftentimes we forget that even the simplest movements in throwing require quite a bit of technical involvement. By recognizing the technical precision needed for big throws, we can start to see that even standing throws and half turns require quite a bit of technical thought!
While traveling and coaching at various world championship level competitions, I have taken pages upon pages of notes. I have studied standing throws in warm-ups. I have developed charts showing a standing throw to full throw ratio and even studied how MANY stands world-class throwers take in competition. By doing this research, I have been able to narrow this simple movement to three key elements.
It’s important to recognize that taking a standing throw is not as easy as just walking into the circle and smashing. First, we need to ask ourselves...what the heck is the purpose of the standing throw? Is it to intimidate our opponents? Is it to blast out of the circle and talk about how far it is? Or is it simply a dynamic warm-up to feel technical positions that you are trying to find in the circle that will transfer to your full throws?
LET’S BE REAL...IT’S TO WARM UP YOUR TECHNIQUE!
By recognizing and understanding that standing throws are meant to be an extended warm-up, the thrower will place more focus on technique and feeling than on distance! Coaches and throwers need to focus on what the technical feelings are that they need to feel and achieve during the stand and to engrain those positions into their heads for optimal transfer in training. When training commences, those positions will be achieved with a simple movement, the standing throw, and ultimately carry over to the full movement.
Start off by making sure that your feet are placed in the EXACT position that you want to hit when working through the full spin or glide. If you are taking standing throws in a foot position that does not resemble your full movement then the warm-up is pointless. After recognizing the foot positioning, try to find the optimal upper body position you would like to hit from your full throw. Use your full competitive throw as a guide to positioning!
When throwers and coaches remember that key aspect...the stand should resemble where they hit from a full throw, the transfer of the stand to full is optimized! Now the movement carries greater weight and greater effectiveness and the feelings can also be replicated. When it comes to all standing throws...technique rules!
Tip #1: Keep the Dominant Leg Grounded
The best throwers in the world keep their dominant (right leg) grounded during their stands. This position is what all throwers need to hit from a full position. Physics tells us that if we are grounded, we can accelerate the implement over a longer path. If our dominant leg is not entirely grounded, we will not be able to accelerate the implement as long as we’d like and that will ultimately lead to a less effective technical movement.
Many high school and collegiate throwers struggle with the concept of a grounded finish. Using the simple movement of the standing throw to engrain this movement pattern will lead to a faster transfer to technical comprehension. Keep the right grounded and focus on full rotation.
Tip #2: USE THE LEFT ARM
Many high school and collegiate throwers excel very well at throwing shot and discus with the dominant arm. In 2019, I had a great conversation with Joe Kovacs just prior to him throwing 22+ at US Nationals. One of the reasons he felt he is so successful is that oftentimes he thinks about actually throwing with the left side of his body. The right side is dominant and right-handed athletes are strong on that side, when their non-dominant side catches up, they feel much more effective in their positions!
During a standing throw, the left arm will initiate the rotation of the movement. Because the movement is much more static than a full throw, their needs to be a commencement of rotational energy. Our shoulder and arm are capable of full rotation and this should trigger the transfer of energy into the front foot on the finish.
Tip #3: BIG BENCH PRESS/FAST BENCH PRESS
Throwing big comes down to the rate of force production! Whoever can develop a TON of force in a rapid manner will be able to throw the furthest. Improving overall strength and combining that with an increase in speed will lead to greater capability to apply rapid force.
When it comes to the standing throw, having a big bench press pays big dividends. Now, the key is having a big bench paired with a rapid bench! Moving heavy weight is important but moving heavy weight FAST will lead to those big bombs in the standing throw AND big bombs from a full throw.
Make sure you recognize the PURPOSE behind a standing throw. Approach that movement with specific goals and specific reasons to optimize your performance. As you enhance your feeling for rapid technique, you will be able to recruit explosiveness at a greater rate from full throws. This will lead to bigger throws and longer PR’s!
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- Dane and Trevor