shot put and discus throw techniques and coaching

Shot Put & Discus Technique Science

Shot Put and Discus Techniques

The Other day I did a mini throws clinic for my Arete throwers ( those that train with me every week). I decided to do it after coming off a series of Arete Throwing Chain Reaction Throws Camps I did over the last 4 weeks in preparation for the upcoming season. I thought it would be a good day to review with my current throwers and assistant coaches the importance of technique, and how important it is to truly understand the science of the throws.drills tcr camps 2

As track season is quickly approaching, many of my throwers have been involved in other sports and thus have not been able to focus on their throws training. It was for this reason I felt it most important to review technique preseason.

Of the handful of throwers I had yesterday, 2 of them just finished their other sports- one was volleyball and another was football. So, I pulled up a digital presentation that I give in the Throwing Chain Reaction camps, and the focus was on the 6 pillars of the throw.

atn throws camp lecture, lolThe 6 pillars are built on top of a foundation of science: Physics and Biomechanics: distance and displacement, speed and velocity, acceleration, vectors and scalars, kinetics (dynamics), torque, angular speed, and angular kinetics.

  As you can see, you don’t just go out to the ring and throw it as hard as you can! And if you want to get better fast, realize that the pillars are dictated by the science.

 I felt it was important to have the coaches and the throwers really review and understand these 6 pillars, and as a result, it turned out to be one of the best throws training days in quite awhile! I saw the light bulbs go on and the head nods ensured me these critical elements were making sense.

student of the throwsIt just goes to show you how important it is for coaches and throwers to constantly remain focused on what the main objectives are with the throws, and it’s all based on the principles of science!  Taking the time to go over each detail of proper positions and angles resulted much better technical movement, and much more mental focus; better than I had seen in weeks.

Focusing and reviewing in-depth the 6 pillars of the Throwing Chain Reaction reminded each thrower you have to be a student of the science, and base your technique on the science and not opinions or some nonsense from a video online.

 If an online source is not blinding you with science, then they do not understand the throws…period!

Taking the time to review technique, the various stages of the throw, and then going forward to apply this refreshed knowledge on drills and wall throws equaled a very productive day!

For the coaches, it allowed them to see which part of the 6 pillars requires the most work for each thrower, equaling a more productive, and effective training session. As a member of, or as an athlete who physically comes to Arête Strength for throws coaching, we discuss in great detail, each of the 6 pillars of the throws, and then apply each pillar in drills and in the ring.

6pillarsThe point of all this is the day was a very productive day because each coach was refreshed on the 6 pillars and the athletes had a clear picture of the throws and worked on it!

Whenever a thrower doesn’t clearly understand the pillars, or can’t perform any one or other common pillar, it makes the coach’s job a lot harder and the thrower will likely take longer to get better. It’s the coach’s job to apply the proper drills to address those various pillar weaknesses. It’s not about working harder on misinformation, or poor technique. For the athlete, to be able to recognize their own weaknesses, and areas that need improvement will carry with them throughout their career as a thrower.

Matt Katnik-2014 Ca State Runner UpAs a coach, or a thrower puts it all back together, the Throwing Chain Reaction is a sequence in a throw that basically happens just under 2 seconds! Once all the pieces fit together, the Discus thrower or the Shot Putter will hit that extra gear, excel to the next level, and continue to improve RAPIDLY!

In my upcoming blog I will be talking about each pillar in more detail- so stay tuned!

Throw far! Coach Erik Johnson



strength training for shot put and discus throw

Strength For The Shot Put and Discus Throw

strength training for the shot put and discus throw

Throwing is a strength sport, so by default you need to be strong in order to perform the shot put and discus at the optimum level. At least 50% of your throws training is likely going to be spent in the weight room. When you are at the collegiate level, you figure you are spending about 4 to 5 hours daily training, and of that, you are spending at least half of that time on strength related work.

At Arete Strength, our weight-training program for throwers has our athletes lifting 4 to 5 days a week; it’s intense and designed specifically for throwers. The workouts are an hour on a short day and usually at least 2 hours in length. As we move along the season, it changes, but the focus is always on the throws specific strength levels.

Drills are one of the ways a throwers strength levels are exposed; simply holding the positions and performing the drills will be a challenge for those that lack adequate strength levels.

Nick_Lifting1In the off season, at Arete Throws Nation, our throwers will do 2+ hours a day of weight training for the throws, and 1 hour of drills because we are getting bigger and stronger for the next year, and we are working on footwork and breaking down the throws technique. We will add light throwing in to keep in touch with the technique, and apply what we learn with the drills, but we will not be constantly throwing in the ring. There is no point to constantly throw in the ring if the athlete’s strength levels are not even capable to do drills and this is where I see the caveat of most high school programs

Why the hell would you practice throwing in the ring using the wrong positions, and at half of your strength levels?  Strength training for the throws MUST be a focus all year round.

In our Arete Throws Nation Throwing Chain Reaction camps, I can clearly see who has the horsepower and who doesn’t. If you can’t get into a position doing the drills due to your strength weaknesses or imbalances, you most definitely are not going to get into position in the ring, or in competition. THIS WILL HOLD YOU BACK FROM THROWING FAR!

discus camp drill 1, 2014

Discus throwers and Shot Putters that do not have basic strength levels to hold their own bodyweight in the PROPER drill positions, will ALWAYS be too weak to throw in the proper position in the ring, and will fail to throw big, because they will always be compensating and thus compromising their ability to do the throw correctly.

Without a well-designed weight lifting program for throwing, you will cap a throwers ability to throw far. If a thrower cannot create the angles, the loading on the legs, and the proper trunk activation they are automatically at a deficit. With that being said, an elite weight training program for throwers is NOT about getting a thrower to look aesthetically big, or how big the numbers are in the weight room! It’s about how strong the athlete is for the actual sport; how the lifting translates into the ring. Therefore the weight programs end goal is to throw far, not just put up big numbers in the weight room.

weight lifting program for the throws

This is a huge deficit at most high school level programs.

There is a lack of structure, knowledge in the weight room, and how to create a program specifically for throwers.

This is why I offer throws coach training for coaches, so they can dominate in the sport, and create America’s next big throwers!

Some people argue that “some strength training is better than no strength training”, and to some degree I would agree with that, but an improper weight program sets up an athlete to get injured too. I saw this happen twice last year from a high school, and I had to repair and rebuild a thrower, and thankfully he had an outstanding season.


 At Arete Throws Nation, our weight lifting program for the throws is truly an elite program on par with the many of the best Division 1 programs, and all of my throwers that go on to a D1 throws programs have a seamless transition. Its not Bragging, its confidence in what I do.


I always get the feedback about Arete Throws Nation athletes from these college coaches, and they really appreciate the work ethic, the lifting knowledge, and the skill level of these freshman throwers.

Remember, when a high school thrower goes to the collegiate level for boys, the implements are 30% heavier, and strength becomes paramount. Due to this fact, all my graduating senior throwers will begin an adjustment to their weight training and drills to better prepare them for the transition to the heavier implement.


The Arete Throws Nation’s weight training program for Shot Putters and Discus Throws is always about programming the nervous system. We do weight lifting to be come a better Thrower, and not just better in the weight room.

You don’t go to a meet and bench in the ring, you throw!!

If you are interesetd in more information about strength training for throws and you live in Southern California:

In Person Training For Coaches and Throwers:

Arete Throws Nation Coaching In So. Calif

Online Coaching For Coaches and Throwers:

Arete Throws Nation Online Program

If you want more information about our FALL preseason Throws Camps- Throwing Chain Reaction-  CLICK HERE!

Throw Far!

– Coach Erik Johnson



How To Throw the Discus

Happy Halloween everyone,

We have a special Halloween Discus Tips Video… Check it out.

Discus glowing in the night
Ring of Horror, thing in flight
I saw it quickly, it spun a star
Lightening object, it did sail far
It shook the soul, it struck the ground,
Demon spirit without a sound
Happy Halloween…
If You Dig This- Like and Share It!

Poem By Mrs. Arete Throws Nation.


Happy Halloween,

Coach Erik Johnson

Lifts For Shot Put and Discus Throwers

A few Days ago I received an email for one our Throws Nation members regarding correlation in training (weight room) to actual throws.

This is a very good question. The great Russian throws coach, Anatoli Bondarchuk, found that the combination of the power snatch and the use of lighter & heavier implements, do correlate to bigger throws, and thus should be used.

I have found in our own training program at Arete Throws Nation, the snatch to be the preferred lift for my throwers. When I was throwing my best, back in the day, I found it to have the biggest impact on my throwing results, and it is a big reason why I use it with my throwers.

The snatch does have a great impact on the movement quality of both Shot putters and Discus throwers.

I have been lucky enough to have three 65’+ Shot putter in the last two season, (and I think the two 65 footers will both go between 66′-68′ in the next few weeks). They are all following a weight training program that includes Snatches, Jerks, and front squats. Yes we do cleans and single front squats too (and make sure to use safety bars so you don’t dump the weight on you femur!!), but the basis of my program revolves around the Snatch, Jerks and Front squats.

As I have learned from reading the works of great strength coaches like Issuran, Verkhoshansky, and Bondarchuk, (as well as my mentor Tony Ciarelli) the sole goal of weight training is to make the athlete a better ATHLETE, and that revolves mostly around sport specific strength.

This is where i see a lot of weight training programs fall short. They are concerned about weight room numbers; “bigger and stronger is better” or “you can never get strong enough”. People who follow that methology tend to put up very impressive numbers in the weight room, but are often getting beat by more dynamic athletes with lesser numbers. Often you will see a big beast in the shot put or discus, but he just doesn’t move as athletically as he should/could.  He may looks impressive, and I’m sure he has an impressive bench and deadlift, but when it comes weightlifting for the shot put and Discus, those lifts are not in my top 5 during the competitive season (and honestly, non of my throwers deadlift… heavy pulls, yes… deadlifts…. NO!)

So the final question I was asked was: “Do certain training methods correlate better with throwing. Have any studies been done that support conclusions?”

As far as training methods, yes, and guys like Verkhoshansky and Bondarchuk show that the inclusion of sport specific movement is vital to the athlete’s success. The core lifts for throwers should revolve around the Olympic lifts: Snatches, Cleans, Jerks, and variations of each. Lifting should be about developing dynamic strength for the throw, therefore, you should try to mimic the movement and intensity of the throw as much as possible in the weight room to have the greatest amount of correlation to throwing.

The Arete Throws Nation throwers do many different types of rotational movement to develop rotational strength; this is critical to the thrower. We front squat, as it correlates better to power position, and drive across the ring. We do jumps for explosiveness, throwing strength movements, etc. Here is a sample of a strength phase in-season:

*Pre Workout Active Warm-up 10-15 minutes
1.Snatch (+) – (85/3), (87/2)2, (90/1)2 – ROLL Between Sets
2. Jerks* (80/3)3, (82.5/2)2 *use clean max
3a. FR SQUAT (+) – (90/3)3
3b KB Jumps (+) 3×5 @ 28kg
4. Reaching Lunges (60/5) 4
5. Depth Jumps off 12” box. to 30”/ or 36”+ box
6. MB Throw- Stand Throw position 5×3 each Side. 15lb MB
7. Weighted HYPERS – 4 x 10
7. Landmines 4×10 Moderate weight-accelerate from starting position.

After throw and lift
5 10yd sprints at 75-80%
5 5yd Sprints 100% (about 3 steps)

NOTE (80/3)3 means (80% of your max/ 3 reps) 3 sets

The goal in this phase is to increase strength and that means increased intensity; so heavy triples, doubles, and singles. I want the total volume to be lower, so the athlete is going to become more explosive and fresh for throwing, not over stressed by the weight room. We do this 3x a week, as we want the body’s nervous system to be more focused and prepared for throwing. We also will throw over weighted, competition weight, and lighter weight implements in the ring and into the wall.

More weight room volume will mean central nervous system overload due to the weight room, and the goal is to be a better thrower, not a competitive weightlifter.

You want less stimuli. Makes sense? And its important to note, that my throwers all have developed very good technical positions in the Olympics lifts and like throwing, we always focus on the efficiency of technique. If thats not there, then the intensity is less until the athlete can perform the movements correctly- this is something you should never overlook.

I will write a post about program design soon because you never want to forget that you are a thrower first!

You need to train for Size, Strength, and Speed in phases, or blocks, which is the core tenant of Block Periodization, and its shown to work like a charm! It certainly has for the Arete Throws Nation!!

Good luck, and stay tuned for our upcoming Weightlifting for Shot Put & Discus Throwers program.

Coach Johnson.
Arete Throws Nation