wide leg sweep discus technique

Don’t Teach Throwers This

Wide Sweep or Narrow?… There is only one correct answer.

It’s Friday and I will be reviewing film all day today for our online members of coaches and throwers.

(If you’re a member, I will have notes for your various throws video submissions later today in our private Face Book group.)

Reviewing all these throwing videos, I have seen some real horror stories regarding the sweep leg in the rotational throws; I have also been told some equally horrifying stories about improper coaching of the sweep leg.

This got me thinking…. this would be a good opportunity to shoot you a Quick Tip Friday and ask all the ATN weekly subscribers and members to stage an intervention if you hear about the scissor style, kick, driver, sweep non-sense.

Now, one recent story shared with me, was that of a former college thrower/football player who is now a football/track coach.

Now this happens a lot and it’s typically a good thing, BUT….this coach made a fatal error….

… He thinks he knows it all.

That does not fit the “ I don’t know anything” philosophy we talked about, or the “always be learning” school of thought in the TCR™ system that has been expressed & posted in the video earlier this week.

So, if you have ever wondered about whether to sweep or a “kick the right leg” … Wonder no more!

Never Kick. Nobody kicks. It’s a wide sweep.

The wider the better.

I wrote to you about 50m/50 vs 70m/70 where I talked about not teaching inferior technique. (if you missed it, click here)

The leg must be wide and there are a number of reasons why it’s wide and why it’s narrow.

Narrow is a result of things falling apart.

Teaching it to be narrow is a mistake.

I have seen videos on YouTube of it being taught horribly wrong.

If you are new to throwing, incorrect explanations of technique could possibly seem to make sense, because you’re new to the sport and open to anything….

…. but in reality, what they are saying makes no sense at all if you study the TCR™ system, and you would quickly realize that it is a garbage explanation.

Now, I know there is no malice on the part of those teaching it wrong, but they owe it to themselves and the throwers they teach to learn how it really works. You know what they say about the road to hell, right?

Sometimes this narrow pendulum style sweep is justified because people claim in teaches kids to move across the circle. Teaching kids to use the entire ring is often is a mistake too.

Anthony Washington won the 1999 World Championships, setting a WC record of 69.08m at the time. (and inside a stadium… that’s a massive throw!)

He is about 6’1 and weighed 235lbs; perhaps the greatest thrower pound for pound in this history of the sport.

Point is, his block leg landed about 16-18” from the front of the ring. He used about a 6 ½ foot circle. (I’ll save that for next week)

He set a Championships record at the time… and not to mention, he was lighting fast!

Don’t get hung up on that “whole ring” thing either; when you teach kids to move across the ring the wrong way, your teaching 50/50 or worse technique.

There is only one way to sweep, and if you see someone not teaching a wide sweep leg, please attempt to start a throws coaching intervention – Lol

The longer a coach insists on teaching the narrow kicking type sweep, the more damage to the thrower’s immediate and long-term development.

So, vow to save a thrower from bad coaching. There is no narrow sweep. Only wide.

Learn the TCR™, learn to how to filter potentially confusing info you find on the Internet, and how to fast track your coaching and throwing success.

Happy Quick Tip Friday.

Coach Johnson

Here’s a quick throws coaching video about the wide sweep

shot put and discus throw mental game

[VIDEO] “I Don’t Know Anything”

I am officially beat after coaching for 13 days straight without a day off.

After flying home from So Cal from completing my 20th year as Director of the Tony Ciarelli Olympian Throws Clinic, I got to enjoy a few movies on Sunday with the family.

Today wanted to send out a little mindset motivation.

For those of you that don’t know Tony Ciarelli, he is a USAW level 4 coach, Olympic throws coach, and has been my mentor and like a big brother for over 20 years.

It is because of this 20 yr relationship with Tony that I discovered that to become a great coach, you need to find some great mentors who are very knowledgable and experienced in the sport.

My goal with Arete Throws Nation and the TCR™ system is exactly like that….

… to become a mentor, a guide, and provide a fully comprehensive system to help fill a void in our sport and greatly increase the competition level…

… this is what Tony did for me, he provided great coaching and knowledge and it was up to me to apply it and push myself to max my potential.

At the wrap up of the clinic, Coach Ciarelli shared some great throws coaching knowledge with the clinic attendees…

…  I thought it was a great example of the mindset you need when learning how to coach AND to throw….  and I wanted to pass it on to you.

At the wrap up of the clinic, he said, “Always work with the beginners mind”

…. meaning, always approach everything fresh and always be open to learning.

He looked around at the athletes and followed that up with, “I don’t know anything”.

I have expressed this concept to you before; I am always learning, and always trying to get better….

… if you think you know everything, you stop learning, and therefore, you stop advancing your skill level, your knowledge, and you plateau.

Like I said, Coach Ciarelli has been my big bother and mentor for over 20 years. He has been one of my biggest influences that drives me to become a more knowledgeable and successful coach.

If I can have ATN and the TCR™ system have that kind of an impact on just few guys (coaches and throwers alike) the way he has on me, that will be a pretty great honor.

Always Work With The Beginners Mind!

Here are some words of wisdom from Coach Tony Ciarelli

New Tips coming tomorrow,

Coach “always learning” Johnson


Don’t forget, as a member of ATN, you’ll not only have access to next week’s live online workshop: Pillar Connection, you’ll have instant access to hours of confusion-free, real-world throws coach training. 

Everything you’ll ever need to become a successful throws coach/ thrower is at your fingertips.

Oh yeah.. because I’m obsessed with always giving you even more value, it’s updated EVERY WEEK with a new throws content. You’ll get the newest, freshest coaching advice and real time analysis thru our private Facebook group by submitting throws videos and questions.

Click HERE and see for yourself why thousands of throws coaches and throwers from around the world have stopped piecing together throws content they find on random YouTube channels…  and now count on the TCR™ system for all their online throws coaching advice, training and support.


shot put and discus throw progressions

Crawl, Walk, Jog, Sprint Progression

It’s Friday morning and I wanted to send you a tip while I’m flying to California for the 27th Annual Tony Ciarelli Olympian Throws Clinic; Rain or Shine we are gonna grind! (Thankfully we have access to indoor facility to work)

Just under 24 hours till the clinic.

Today will be packed with all the business stuff I have to manage for ATN SoCal and the clinic, and of course a private throws coaching session; I’m humbled that people drive several hours, or fly thousand of miles to work with me and it’s a real honor.

Yesterday, I talked about the 160/50 ceiling . . I’m going to change that to 50/50 vs 70m/70.

That means 50m in discus/50ft in shot verses 70m in the discus and 70ft in the shot…. We want to teach 70/70, not 50/50.

If you didn’t read yesterday’s tips or see the video clip covering the pillar 1 wind up 2 drill, click here to check it out.

Last night I was talking to one of my future superstar athlete’s dad & TCR™ student about how we want to teach 70/70 using the TCR™ from day one.

His son is working the TCR™ system since last year, and now has a much deeper understanding (and incredible feel)…

…. so now he is working at a much more advanced level compared to last year; next year it will be even more advanced!

However… and there is a BIG  H O W E V E R!!

…. there is a logical progression to all of this!

What I mean is, we want to teach and coach the 6 pillars of the TCR™ system from day one because this equips the thrower with a 70/70 level of throws coaching….. The TCR in my opinion is definitely 70/70.

Therefore, early in the development cycle, we will spend more time on the essential drills- we will do a lot of pillar essential pillar drills.

Below is an example of this progression for rotational throws


CRAWL: We begin with The TCR™ prep

  • DISCUS- work on how to carry the discus and drag it behind, or in other words, locking it back by flexing the triceps and posterior delt to hold it in place, and do a lot of discus skips and bowling to improve comfort holding the discus and releasing it.
  • SHOT PUT- practice proper position of the elbow and on the neck, how to hold the shot in the hand and fingers, and how to keep the elbow level and thumb down during release.

WALK/ JOG: TCR™ drills as follows…

  • PILLAR 1 Wind up, first
  • PILLAR 2 center of mass shift & 90 degree walk arounds
  • PILLAR 3 8:45 drop ins (pillars 2-3), sprint counters
  • PILLAR 3- 4 Puddle jumps 1-2-3
  • PILLAR 3-4 modified wheel repeats
  • PILLAR 5 elevator drops
  • PILLAR 6 block leg/am stops & transfers

SPRINT: Once a thrower is comfortable with that, we advance the thrower with additional drills

  • For example, Jason Harrell is now top 5 in the US and we are drilling the crap out of his pillar 6 and are on a 500 pre-block target for pillar connection in a week and a half. So we are taking 50-75 pre blocks per practice.
  • We will focus on more acute details of the pillar drills and he would do the same drills as our high school kids; throwing anywhere from 100-180 feet.
  • His implementation of pillar connection becomes more advanced, more detailed, and more precise.
  • All my throwers learn the same things, but as they better understand the TCR™system, they will shift their drill focus- i.e Jason really doesn’t need to do modified wheel repeats, or push pull drills for pillar 3-4 work. That is mastered.
  • However, he still works pillar 6 block arm stops, and like I said, a ton of pre-blocks from pillar connections (I’ll post that video likely tomorrow) .

Now they key when teaching the TCR™ system is to teach 70/70, is the ratio of drill movements (pillar drills) to throwing drills (Pillar connection).

Younger throws have a higher ratio of drills combined with throws, and more advanced throwers, like Jason, have a higher number of pillar connection with specific pillar drills to address details of his throw…

… I am trying to take him from 62m to 66m this year- working towards 70m.

Now lifting and all that is a major factor as well, but we’ll save that for another day.

Hopefully u see the point!

A youth thrower does a lot of basic pillar work: Crawling and jogging. My average high school thrower does essentially the same thing because basic mastery is essential before moving forward.

My elite high school thrower will start to work details of the 6 pillars: Jogging and sprinting

Pro & Post Collegiate throwers, like Jason, will be working acute details of the six pillars: Sprinting


The Key is teach the right mechanics from day one and the TCR™ system teaches 70/70 from day 1.

When you poke around YouTube, you will see guys talking advanced concepts. I think some are right, some are half right, and some are so wrong it’s a detriment to throwers and coaches.

You can subscribe to Arete Throws Nation TV here

When new throwers, or new coaches, come across more advance throwing content (the sprint) on YouTube – the good, the bad, or the ugly – they will try to apply it to the crawl or walk level throwers, and this results in disaster…

… It’s a Huge mistake.

Or worse case scenario, the throws content is completely wrong and is worse than 50/50 technique (meaning 160/50)!!!

I often say, don’t look at my 70 footers, my top 5 US discus thrower, or my 185/60+ /150/50 girl thrower….

…. Look at the girls I’ve coached to 135/38 in a few months, boys that went from 100′ to 150′ plus quickly, or from 45ft to 52+ feet.

They are my best examples of what a great throws system and good coaching can do…. they are the best example of what I’m talking about.

When you teach the throws using the TCR™ system from day one, the results are bigger, better, and faster. Click here to check it out

So learn the Throwing Chain Reaction™ of the throw to avoid the pitfalls of getting caught teaching mediocre, or plain incorrect shot put and discus technique .

So, as u go out to practice today, or over the weekend, strive to teach 70/70. Use the TCR™system, and focus on the right things and the right progression.


Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door. (Lol. I hope you all get that reference. Boy, I’m gettin’ old)

Train smarter!

-Coach Johnson.

how to coach shot put and discus throws

The 160/50 Foot Ceiling [THROWS ANALYSIS VIDEO]

Less than 48 hours to go before the 27th Annual Tony Ciarelli Olympian Throws Clinic. Click here for clinic info.

Before I head off to SoCal tomorrow, I wanted to get out to you another throws coaching tip and video….

…this has been brewing in my head for a few weeks:

Learn how to teach and Throw the Shot Put and Discus right the first time.

Seems to make perfect sense, right?

The 160/50 foot ceiling is a real thing, and by that I mean teaching technique that looks ok, but that will limit the throwers ability to go beyond 160/50; for girls I’d call it the 120/35.

This is an issue because 106’/50′ is the ceiling that the better athletes will reach.

The average, or below average athletes, will hit a shorter ceiling, where the better athletes will work hard and hit the maximum ceiling.

Average athletes will simply fall short and a kid that could potentially be a 150′ guy will be a 130′ guy if he’s lucky.

This ceiling is a technical limitation.

Movement inefficiency is the issue and this is a problem because when you teach things slightly incorrect, they become the dominant patterns and the potential of the thrower drops.

For example, I have a very good athlete right now…

Strength Levels are good, and he looks pretty smooth in the ring; Ok size about 6’1/ 215lbs…

…and breaking his 160/foot technical ceiling has been nothing short of a total pain in the a$$.

He was never really taught to do the wind up correctly ( pillar 1). He was taught to turn and drop in pillar 2, which prohibits him from properly loading his left leg out of the back and the TCR™ gets compromised.

He was also taught to jump at the finish and kind of switch the feet in the air- DON’T JUMP!

When a thrower jumps, the power goes vertical instead of “out and into” the throw.

These are 2 things that completely crush his immediate and long term potential.

  • The first big issue being the drop in Pillar 2.
  • The second being the issue that what he learned so far has hit his technical ceiling.

If you want to throw farther, you need knowledge about technique that will open up your potential to 170′ plus… and that level of throwing is a whole other level of throws coaching knowledge!

…. 160′ technique is a lot better than not learning anything at all, but my point is, when crucial details are missed and when the technique is off by just a little bit, the thrower is missing out on achieving Arete, his maximum potential.

Years ago, I had a discussion with a coach, He was teaching 160/50 technique. So when he got the outlier stud, they would throw 160/170 (maybe catch a t 180) and 60 feet. Basically a kid with the tools to throw 200 and 65+ using the TCR.

So one day this coach showed me a picture of one of his more talented throwers and said,” This guy threw 185′, and you’re telling me that’s not a good position to teach?”

I replied, ” Well, it’s a good position for a kid in his 3rd or 4th year of throwing, but that position can still be improved a lot.” I pointed out a few things and gave him reasons why, but he didn’t like my answer… which is fine, you can’t help everyone.

I believe, if you limit your knowledge of the throw, you limit your thrower from reaching their optimal potential!

Always be open to learning more… more is good. I will never stop learning, and I hope you will join me… for the love of the sport!

It’s just like I wrote back on an earlier email…

When you think you know it all, that’s when you’re totally screwed.

At any rate, if you are looking to maximize your athletes, don’t make the mistake of teaching subpar technique, ESPECIALLY in the development phase- That’s real crushing to the thrower.

And to avoid that, use the Throwing Chain Reaction™ System. 😉 get your key details clear. Once the TCR™ system is learned, making changes is 10x easier.

Here’s a quick tip you can take to practice.

Winding up right is Pillar 1. It’s the beginning. And there’s a ton of stuff happening. I’m sending a clip from our recent ATN-TCR throws camp.

Lot of good nuggets in this bad boy. Check it out!

We will be editing this footage to add to the member’s area very soon

Until after the big throws clinic in So Cal…. Build a higher ceiling!

– Coach Johnson