Updated: Apr 23, 2020
You are a high school thrower, BEGGING to find some extra speed. You have all the strength you could ever want for the shot put and discus but there is still a slight lack of speed. This could be the missing link that gets you over the hump, it gets you that big PR throw, the throw that wins the district title, you beat your nemesis, maybe even the state title! But how can you achieve more speed inside the ring to conquer your goals?
I think it’s important to identify and define “speed” prior to diving into the full topic. Speed in its basic terms is the rate in which someone can accomplish something. For instance, in the shot put or discus, two to three seconds is standard for most throwers, depending upon when the measurement will be taken based around the winding portion in the back of the throw. As throwers become more and more elite, the throw will shift closer to 2 seconds AND they will be able to accelerate the implement on the finish. This is where speed develops over time. The throw happens faster AND the individual has a faster speed of release!
Alex Rose 65m vs 59m throw:
In the image above, Alex shows that he has improved his speed throughout the throw even while gaining nearly 30 pounds. Alex also dramatically increased his speed of release, being clocked at 25.2 meters per second. This speed development can mainly be attributed to work inside the circle.
Biologically, as humans enhance their speed, they tend to have greater coordination of how their nervous system is firing. Their nervous system is able to recruit more high threshold motor units over time and develop greater muscular coordination. By focusing on the right principles in training, the body becomes more coordinated, movement becomes more stable, and in turn SPEED is developed.
But what SPECIFICALLY can throwers focus on in the circle to enhance that speed?
For starters, I believe that technical consistency is nearly as important long term as a specific technical model. As throwers age and develop, they become infatuated with hundreds of different alterations that they can test inside their own movement. This may delay consistency and ultimately delay speed development. Throwers that follow consistent guidelines and movement and constantly strive toward a specific technical model will be the throwers that engage in technical consistency.
Consistency will lead to high levels of confidence inside the circle. This will enable throwers to move as smoothly as they possibly can when peaked for major competitions. This level of confidence will enable intensity to recruit even more motor units during a big throw, creating massive results and an incredible rate of force production.