Teaching throwers how to spin can be a daunting task. Every thrower is starting from a different experience level and they all have different technical and physical abilities. The spin is a very technical movement that looks fast, intricate, and complicated. On top of it all, you might have 20 or more throwers at practice that all need attention, organizing, and kept in line!
How can you possibly have time to teach everyone the spin?!?!
The key is to breakdown the movement so that it is as simple as possible, AND provide concrete tasks that the throwers can self-correct themselves while doing. If the task the throwers are trying to achieve is simple enough for them to fully wrap their heads around, you won't have to coach them up every single throw if your attention is spread across all of your throwers.
So what are the 3 primary tools you can use to teach the spin quickly and as effectively as possible?
1. Mark The Foot Placement On The Circle
The spin is not complicated. The only reason it looks difficult is that when you look at an elite thrower who is rotating at lightning speed without context, it looks like an impossible movement to replicate. In reality, the basic movement of throw is very simple with 2 primary goals (using a right-handed thrower as an example):
Rotate the right leg around the left foot
Rotate the left leg behind the right foot to the front of the circle
Then all you need to do is make sure they are placing their feet at the right spots on the circle. The best method to get beginner throwers to consistently place their feet at the right spots is to simply mark on the circle where they should go with chalk.
When starting the throw at the back of the circle, the feet should be placed a little wider than shoulder-width apart with the toes right up against the back lip of the circle.
The right leg will rotate WIDE around the left foot and land in the middle of the circle with the thrower's body weight directly on top of it. The foot will land a little to the front and right of the direct center of the circle.
The left leg will rotate wide behind the right foot and land just inside the toe board, in line with the left sector line. The toes should be against the toe board and the heel a few inches away to allow room to rotate at the front of the circle.
Now the thrower is in the Power Position!
*Note that Ryan Crouser starts with a slight stagger in his feet in the starting position. This is not necessary for beginner throwers.
2. Get To The Power Position
We have throwers take standing throws for a reason! The entire goal of the spin is to get to the power position (standing throw position) as efficiently and as powerfully as possible.
Key points for landing in the power position:
The power position starts when the left foot hits the ground (the faster the left found grounds at the front, the faster the throw)
When the left foot grounds, the bodyweight should be over the right foot (if the shot put were to drop out of their hand, it would land directly behind the right foot)
Once the thrower is in the power position, they just need to finish the throw by rotating the upper body fully around and pressing the shot put out of their neck.
3. Start Spinning ASAP!
The best way to get better at spinning is to spin! We see too many coaches spend half the season working on the standing throw. The season is only a few months long. The sooner throwers can start spinning the faster they will become proficient at it.
When we say take a spin, we mean taking full throws with the spin, not just drills. Drilling is great extra work for throwers to do in between throws or on their own, but don't waste precious practice time by drilling when they could be throwing. There is a very different feel to learning how to accelerate the implement through the full spin to the release, and the more reps they can get with it, the better.
Throwing far comes down to reps. A thrower that takes 100 full throws will learn the movement, to become proficient they must take 1000 full throws, and to even be considered to master the spin, they must take 10,000 throws!
How can you get your throwers to be proficient at the spin as fast as possible?
Mark the circle with chalk so they know where to place their feet
Teach them that the entire goal of the spin is to get to the power position
Get them taking full spin throws in the circle as soon and as often as possible
If you follow these three keys, who will be well on your way to developing an elite throws squad. Want to learn more about teaching the spin?? Check out our course: Learn the Spin in 30 Days HERE!
"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