off season shot put discusHey, shot putters, discus throwers and throws coaches-

Now that the summer has passed, track season is over, and we have gotten past what I refer to as the ‘Summer Throws Camp Season’, do you know what you should be doing now?

You should be engaged in your Off Season Shot Put and Discus Program to prepare for the 2016 track season.

Here are 5 key points to remember for an outstanding Off Season program

  1. Focus on lifting technique
  2. Focus on throwing technique
  3. Break down bad habits in the ring
  4. Do NOT over train or over throw
  5. Focus on body Balance and athletic mobility.

Off-Season for many of our throwers starts September 1st and goes till November 30th.

Want to know what the hell I’m talking about?… read on my friends….

Off Season Focus on technique of the throwThe question I often get from high school throws coaches, throwers training themselves, and members at Arete Throws Nation online is, “What is the focus during the off-season?”

Well, an Off-Season program should be about making throwers a bigger, better version of themselves for the next season. It’s a time to work on both lifting and throwing technique, address imbalances; by imbalances I mean posture, muscle symmetry, tightness, or as we call it at ATN- Power Posture™

(Stay tuned: Power Posture™ blog coming to an email inbox soon!…you definitely don’t want to miss it) .

Psst, don’t get trapped into solely focusing on strength; it’s an easy trap to fall into. At Arete Throws Nation, the Off-Season is a combination of our multi-component strength training system and our Throwing Chain Reaction™ system, which has obviously yielded us maximum results; that as a coach I couldn’t be happier about!

I believe that one of the most important aspects of an Off-Season program is to make sure athletes avoid mental and physical burnout. If you are involved in one sport, and you train year round, one of the things that I think is very important to understand is the importance of adding appropriate rest cycles and breaks from lifting, or throwing…. or both.

For example, in the summer, our athletes went through a summer program where they really focused on understanding the throws technique, the Throwing Chain Reaction™ system, and the crucial six pillars of the throw. As they got a better mental picture of the throw, and started to digest the science of the throw, they began to actually accelerate results because they understood what the objectives were.

shot put discus off season

When your Off Season program is solid, you can set yourself up for a great Pre-Season, which usually leads to season opening Pr’s and your In-season program.

As you can see, I’m all about systems! Arete Throws Nation runs on iron clad systems and it is why the Arete throwers have significant results, progress in strength, and improve through the season. Systems allow you to measure your overall program effectiveness.

Want to know what kind of results comes from this structured style of throws coaching?

Arete Throws Nation throwers typically open the season as such:

  • PR’s in the Discus of 20+ feet for boys
  • PR’s in the Discus of 10+ feet for girls
  • PR’s of 3-5+ feet for both boys and girls shot put.

Our Arete Throws Nation Records are a opening season Discus PR of 27.5 ft, , and 13ft in the Shot put- those are big jumps and the shot record is gonna stand for a while!

1.) Work out The Workouts- assess those lifting techniques

Off Season Throws Program 1

All workouts should have a high degree of personalization. All throwers, no matter how good, have their own little details to address. That’s very important to know and understand in an Off-Season program. Address the individual needs. We do this in our group of 20 plus kids. With the right system its easier than you think. Coaches and throwers should focus on Olympic lifts, and need to determine their throwing and lifting starting points,  which will be based on the throwing aptitude (a discussion for another article), and training experience (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

2.) Details Matter- constantly train the technique of the throws

Improve shot put techniques

At Arete we focus on the 6 pillars of the Throwing Chain Reaction system. We focus on pillar drills then pillar connection. Once the technique hits a certain level of efficiency, we progress. Arete Throwers will work on throwing drills, and focus mostly on wall throws multiple times a week, but we will limit actual ring time; not throwing reps, but actual ring time. Many younger throwers are not seasoned enough to not throw the snot out of the implement when they are in the ring, and this is the opposite of focusing on technique; my throwers must be focused on technique. Easy to do when throwing into a wall, and I want them to stay hungry. It is for this reason why in the Off-Season, I suggest throwing about one time a week in the ring. I don’t want my throwers mentally burned out at important times during track season.

3.) Breaking Bad- break those bad technical habits and retrain movement in the Off Season

breaking shot put discus bad habits

The most important aspect of ATN’s Off-Season program is breaking bad haibits by detailing the correct sequence of each phase of the throw, and getting rid of bad habits while teaching the new, good habits. This is perhaps the most difficult thing because the body has a pattern that the central nervous system repeats and needs reprogramming. This is where you want to be very detailed regarding technique, because as we get closer and closer to the season, we want the new pattern to be what the CNS is trying to do, thereby emphasizing the right movement and its rhythm for big throws.

4.) Over Training In The Off Season Will Kill Your Throw- Physically & Mentally

over training in the off seasonWe often have 3 versions of the same program- Elite, Intermediate, and beginner, and our program has a few things that are unique to us, that we place of lot of significance on- like Power Posture™ and Arete Integrated Mobility™ programs that I created and implement with our throwers. This is powerful stuff that gives our throwers a significant training edge. By focusing on Power Posture work and our A.I.M we, by default, reduce over training as timed rest and quality of movement are big keys.

5.) Secret Weapons Of The Arete Throws Nation Training Program

Arete Integrated MobilityIn an Off-Season program, you’re basically focusing on hypertrophy and strength blocks and lots of lifts to develop power like the Snatch and Clean. However, an elite program should include posture and mobility work. We have a system for that too:

Power Posture™ & Arete Integrated Mobility


So, this should give you a better idea of what your Off-Season training program objectives should look like.

Train efficiently… Train Smarter… Achieve Arete!


Coach Johnson

Head Throws Coach Erik Johnson, founder of Arete Throws Nation

Head Throws Coach Erik Johnson, founder of Arete Throws Nation

Erik Johnson is the founder of Arete Throws Nation and Arete Strength and offers coaching services in Southern California and Phoenix AZ. He is a former NCAA All American in the Discus, Former top 10 US ranked Thrower, Multi-time US Championships competitor, and Olympic Trails finalist.

His strength training programs have helped athletes move into the college level in 9 different sports, and he has worked with NFL athletes and Olympians. Arete Throws Nation Throwing Chain Reaction System™ has had the US High school leader in the Shot put 2 times in 3 years (Nick Ponzio 69’7 ¼ and Mat Katnik 72’3”. Coach Johnson coached post collegiate Arete Thrower and Assistant Coach Jason Harrell to his first US top 10 ranking in the Discus 202’6” and teaches his systems to coaches around the US and Internationally.