The spin in shot put and discus is a very complex movement with many variables impacting the success or failure of a particular throw. Being unable to hit a certain position or movement in the spin can be a result of inadequate strength or mobility, but more often than not the problem occurs because of a technical issue earlier in the throw. The right leg over rotating in the middle of the circle is an example of one of these technical issues.
To start, let’s always remember that the goal of the throw is to reach the “power” position or standing throw position, while being able to maintain the momentum generated throughout the rest of the throw, transferring that energy into the implement upon release. A proper power position has the heel of the right foot in line with the toe of the left foot for right handed throwers. Right to left, the right foot should be directly in the center of the circle, or slightly to the right side. Front to back, the right foot should be be slightly shifted towards the toe board, however the exact distance can change depending on the height of the thrower.
The goal in the full throw is to get the right foot to the power position location. The right leg is over rotated whenever the right foot lands beyond that point, either too far to the left of the circle, or too far across the circle (as shown in the picture). An over rotated right foot that does not land in the power position correctly will throw off the mechanics at the front of the circle. One possible breakdown at the front is that the left foot will be unable to rotate far enough around, preventing the hips from opening up towards the sector on the finish, often referred to as being blocked off.
There are three main actions in the back of the circle that might cause the right foot to over rotate. The first is if the left side (shoulder and hip) is pulled out of the back. This occurs when rotation of the hips and torso occurs prior to the body weight shifting over the left foot and base of support. With the majority of the body weight too far away from the base of support, the body has no option but to travel too far to the left side of the circle. Cues to think about include pushing the weight over the left before rotating the upper body, push the left knee and shoulder over the left foot, and push the right leg wide outside the left foot.
The second action is if the left knee over rotates out of the back of the circle. The left knee is over rotated if when the right leg is entering the middle of the circle the left knee is pointed past the left sector line. If the left knee is pointed towards the left side, the hips are pointed towards the left side, and that is the direction the body is going to travel. Cues to think about for not over rotating the left knee include holding or freezing the knee at the center of the circle, flexing the entire left leg tightly, and pulling off the left foot as fast as possible.
The third action is the right knee driving up into the center of the circle, or jumping into the middle. If the right leg rises as it enters the circle, it will take longer to ground, and will continue on its path of rotation too far across the circle. Cues to think about include throwing the right leg down into the center of the circle, rotating the right leg from the outside in rather than back to front, and getting the body weight on top of the right foot when it lands.
The most important aspect of technical corrections is to understand that each action will impact the next action in the circle. The throw is a very rapid and continuous movement. Problems at the front of the circle can be very difficult to fix, but often they stem from a poor movement at the beginning of the throw. If ever these movements are too difficult to figure out, slow down the throw and try again. Gain technical proficiency at a slower speed and then add speed back into the throw little by little while maintaining that technical change.