Throwing the discus can be incredibly hard. Throwers struggle with a starting point. Should they focus on advanced concepts or should they focus on the beginner details? This can create paralysis by analysis and lead to a giant struggle in just getting started toward their goals!
What can be done? Is there a simple yet advanced approach that can be taken to work toward elite-level discus throwing? Are there tried and true practices that many coaches have already used to achieve greatness in various levels of throwers? Let’s dig deep into this topic and discover some of the keys needed to strive toward big picture goals!
Coaches struggle to even lay out their meta-movement goals! What does that mean? What is the ultimate movement, what is the ideal goal from a technical perspective?!?! Most coaches don’t inform and educate their athletes on the best possible technique to achieve while describing how they will engineer a long, winding road to achieve that meta-movement.
When the big picture movement is described and detailed through proper education for the specific thrower, the coach needs to establish what TYPE of movement they are working towards. At ThrowsU, we like our throwers to think about the movement as a side-by-side movement pattern. This means the right side and left side work slightly differently. When discus throwers can achieve a side-by-side feeling, they start to achieve incredible positions of tension.
As the thrower comprehends the side-by-side movement, they start to comprehend how one side AROUND the other side can enhance rotational forces. In the rotational discus technique, the goal for all throwers should be to OPTIMIZE rotational energy. Having a WIDE right leg (for right-handed throwers) around the left leg, followed by a wider left leg around the right side in the middle and finally, a wide right side that goes around the TRANSFER leg ultimately creates and harnesses optimal rotational energy!
The discus throw can then slowly be interpreted into a slightly more complex descriptive movement. This is something we at ThrowsU have worked on with our more cerebral/abstract discus throwers. The thought process has been geared around the same principles but with slightly more detailed verbiage.
The throw would commence with a wind out of the back of the circle that leads to weight shifting OVER the non-dominant leg. After the weight shifts OVER, it now transfers AROUND the left side as the thrower sweeps their right leg FORWARD. The back of the movement will be triggered as an OVER/AROUND/FORWARD movement.
When the right leg grounds in the middle, the left leg will be cue’d to travel AROUND the right side, and then the energy of the throw will finalize FORWARD. This leads to a simple means of cues that can be recalled as Over/Around/Forward/Around/Forward! By chunking the technique into simple concepts, the thrower can start to breakdown and recognize problem points and enhance their precision over time.
Throws coaches LOVE being stuck in the weeds. They love digging deeper and deeper into concepts that are incredibly advanced and have little to no bearing on the throwers they are coaching. This leads to confusion, dissolution, and a loss of athletes in the sport!
The goal as a coach should be to get throwers completely bought into a training system. The purpose of the system is to make the thrower as explosive as possible. As explosiveness is generated, muscle mechanics will be developed in the circle and lead to rapid motor unit recruitment. This creates improved coordination and ultimately bigger throws! Making these concepts overly complex can create confusion and negate motor propositions from the athletes.
Let’s take a quick dive BACK into the simpleton terms to elite throwing technique. Every thrower that engages with these processes needs to understand that when the concepts are understood, it takes THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of throws to execute as well as possible.
Coaches: Establish Meta-Movement
Embrace the Side-By-Side means of execution for rotational discus throwing
Comprehend rotational energy.
Utilize the Over/Around/Forward/Around/Forward directional cues for more abstract learners.
These concepts are simple but the reps must be executed over and over and over again! As throwers progress throughout their career, they will have various levels of technical epiphanies, they will have experiences where they notice a small movement change impacts their meta-movement. Even when this occurs, the principles come back to the side-by-side movement being executed as consistently and as repeatable as possible!
"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