Before I moved to Pennsylvania to train with the Garage Strength throwers, I used to train predominantly by myself. Initially, it was challenging not having a coach or someone to watch over my throws and let me know when I was doing something good or bad. Over some time, I developed strategies that would help steer me in the direction that I was looking for. Today I will be sharing those strategies with you!
Pick 1-2 Technical Cues to Focus On
One of the best strategies anyone training by themselves can do is picking one to two technical cues to focus on during that session. In doing so, you are setting yourself up for success by giving your session purpose. Too often, throwers, including myself, have gone to practice with no plan other than to throw. From my experience, those sessions are the ones where I easily get frustrated. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, I fell into the trap of focusing on how far I was throwing. Those sessions where I focused on one or two technical cues are the sessions where I throw the farthest with the smallest amount of effort. Over time, the more sessions I had with purpose, the greater my motivation and self-confidence went into meets!
Find Drills That Help Create Technical Feelings
Once you know what technical focuses you want to work on during your session, the next step is finding drills that help create good technical feelings. This is where you can get creative. From my experience, I have struggled with getting around my left out the back (discus). Some drills I have implemented into my session are Wind/Unwinds and Wind/Unwind + Step to Middle. These two drills help me find good timing out the back, where I can focus on working my left arm, knee, and foot as one unit out the back and through the middle. Check out the Throws University YouTube page for drills that you can implement in your session!
Video can be a powerful tool! Recording your throws can benefit your training session, giving you a visual idea of where your technique is and if you are executing your technical focuses. I recommend recording the first few tosses, some throws in the middle of the session, and the last few throws to determine if you executed your technical focuses as you progressed through the session. I don’t think watching every single throw is necessary, but every few tosses won’t hurt!
Record Yourself From Different Angles!
This tip is the most creative. Recording throws from different angles can show a different perspective on one’s technique. This tip has been very helpful recently. As I mentioned before, I’ve had issues with turning out the back. In one session, I decided to record my throw from the side, and to my surprise, I found something that I was shifting my weight back prematurely as I was opening, causing my left foot to stop rotating, which then caused me to “fall into the middle.” I would have never got that from the front angle. So, I recommend switching up the camera angles!
Ask Better Questions
I keep a mini notebook in my training bag, and I try to bring it to every session (sometimes, I forget it in my car or the office). In my notebook, I take notes down of what I saw in the playback or my recordings or any technical feelings I felt, good or bad. Using that information, I’ll reach out to my coach or another thrower, and I’ll ask them for their feedback. In that line of communication, I try to ask better questions. Questions that have context behind them, so I can get a better understanding of what I need to do or what can be improved.
For example, a question like “If I work as one unit out the back with decent timing of the left heel, would that reduce the odds of falling into the middle?” or “From this side angle, I noticed my shin angle is at a 45-degree angle. If I were to keep that vertical, could that help me get around?”. Your questions don’t have to be that in-depth, which helps me. Your questions can be simple, as long as that gives the person being asked more context to give a more thorough response!
Special Strength Exercises
Special Strength exercises at the end of the throwing session can be a great reinforcement tool. Pick an exercise that goes back to one of the technical focuses, and try to execute that with high precision and purpose. In doing so, that can create a new feeling or reinforce a technical feeling. I like incorporating pivot drills at the end of my session to reinforce that feeling of getting my left open, then around. A couple of sets with a few repetitions should be enough to establish or reinforce that technical feeling; better setting one up for that next session!
Hope this helps! If you have any tips that you’ve implemented that I didn’t address, make sure to comment below!
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