shot put discus throw practice tips and strategies

10 Tips to Avoid Bad Practices (Part 1- tips 1-5)

Since the indoor throws season is beginning, and the outdoor season is fast approaching, it’s time to shift gears from the Off-season, drill/lifting dominate focus, to the Pre-Season, throwing/competition readiness focus.

This past Saturday, the first half of my practice was good, but the second half got sloppy…

… and when your throws group begins to grow to more than 12 athletes, this can happen if you don’t stay structured & organized!

Just focusing on the little things really help to make practice efficient and productive,

… and since Saturday’s practice had a moment of disarray, I have come to the conclusion that EVERYTHING is a Chain Reaction 😉 …

… set up structured & organized practice and everything goes smooth; don’t stay structured, and it all breaks & falls apart.

Currently, we have about 16 throwers in our AZ group, and we will likely be at 20+ come track season; that’s a large group!

I tend to divid my group by the speed in which they train: newer athletes in one group and my more advanced together….

On the days where I train my athletes, I will have about a 30min overlap between groups, and on a rare occasion the transition from one group to another do not go smoothly…

Sometimes you’ll just have a day when things just get off track, like what I had happen to me when the second group of athletes showed up for practice last Saturday.

My first group of about 6 kids, were my newer throwers, and we had a great training session, and we worked on some new drills that address some common mechanical mistakes.

Then my more advanced throwers showed up, and they move and conduct their practice time in half the time it takes my new throwers,

so we started getting a throwing traffic jam in the ring….

…. I had to stop everything for safety reasons, and restructure the practice so things went smoother.

On this note, I bring you Throws Coaching tips 1-5 to keep in mind when you begin structuring your practice…

….. I had to remind myself of these tips and implement them myself- they saved the day!

10 Tips for Improving Practice: (Part 1)


( this is easy to overlook)

Often new throwers will tend to approach throwing slow, and even sit between reps. They will throw one implement and generally move a bit slower than my more advanced guys who are practically entering the ring right as the last guy is releasing the implement.

Use your more experienced and advanced throwers to set the tempo and timing of the practice. This helps teach the newer throwers how each practice is conducted.

Sure, they’ll eventually figure it out, but life is much easier when practice is much more efficient, and you are coaching your team in a more controllable pace.


Throwers should know the target number of reps they need to hit in any given training session

FOR EXAMPLE: 35 throws in 1 hour, or 60 throws in 90 min, etc

Young throwers don’t often understand how to execute a practice, so it’s important to give them the targets to hit at the beginning so they keep track and keep things moving.

In the TCR™ progression for rotational, my throwers start with…

Pre-Blocks > Move to Stands > Modified Wheels > South African > Pillar 2 starts > Wind-up 1 starts > then Full throws.

Let’s just say they do 5 of each; that’s 35 throws.

This keeps them focus and engaged, and allows you to track total reps easier.


Nothing is less efficient than only throwing 1 Disc, or 1 Shot at a time. Generally I believe every discus throwers needs a minimum of 3-4 discs …. 6 is really ideal and 8 is butta’ baby!

So, if you have 10 kids, 30 discs would be good. If each thrower has 4 implements, then you’re getting in a ton more reps at every practice!

There are some great programs out there with dedicated accomplished coaches that have been building dominant programs using these tips: Like Mark Harsha in Portage Indiana, and Coach Harsha, who is an Alpha level ATN member and has produced throwers for a long time.

He’s got a pile of implements and that means he can get in a lot more throws

More throws, means faster path to success!

No coincidence he’s been crushing for a long time.… You needs lots of implements.


If my throwers throw 4 or 5 days a week, we will typically spend 2 days on each event where we only throw shot, or only throw disc.

The reason for this is because we can get more technical work done when we try not to split our time with 2 events…

…. as the season comes closer, we will start doing more practices where we throw both to get the athletes ready for competing in meets... since that is the only time they will be throwing both.


This is pretty obvious, but again it takes a little planning time to set up practices. I tend to split throwers into 2 groups.

Group 1 – Beginners/intermediate

Group 2 – Upper intermediate/ advanced.

I will typically split these 2 groups into groups of 6. I do this so we can get in a lot of quality time.

** If you have 40 athletes… like some of our ATN members do across the country… even a couple in South Africa, you’ll certainly have at least a few assistant coaches to help you achieve this structure….

Staggering is simply Group 1 will throw at 3pm, and Group 2 will throw at 4pm …. with about 30 minutes of overlap.

So each group gets about 90 minutes- just kinda how I run our system.

So there you have it, your first 5 throws coaching tips.

Focusing on technique is always priority #1, but in order to do that efficiently you need to have an efficient practice and training structure.

It’s inevitable that you’ll have an “off day” and practice will go off the rails, but go back to these 5 tips, and you’ll be able to get your practice back on track…

…. ok, enough train metaphors…

Tis the Season for Developing A Winning Throws Programs,

Coach Johnson.

TCR™ Quick Tip: Rhythm [VIDEO]

Rhythm is critical to throwing.

In the 6 pillars of the TCR™ SYSTEM, we not only work the right positions, but the positions are optimal with the correct rhythm.

Therefore, I don’t personally do a lot of static start drills, or throws as a coach.

They have a place, but you don’t work the right rhythm of the throw, and if you do too many, I think the thrower leaves a lot of results on the table.

I’ve talked about rhythm before, however, as the season starts, it’s critical to success, and often a big piece of what’s is missing.

I will be doing recorded training next week and it will be added to TCR™ online members area.

So, enjoy this quick video…

…. and don’t forget to work your rhythm, every session, every drill, for every pillar, pillar connection, and full throw.

Rhythm is a dancer… You can feel it! ( obscure 80’s song reference. Lol) but it’s true.

Go with the flow of the throw

  • Coach Johnson

Compete Like A Beast

Today, I wanted to get you a quick strategy tip for competition.

A few tips back, I talked about prepping for meet…

…but it is also important to understand how to compete at the meet.

For most young throwers, setting up at meets is something they often do incorrectly.

Last week, at the invite I was at, one of my new throwers warmed-up, took her first 3 throws, and made the final. She then got in the ring and took an additional 3 warm-up throws between the prelims and finals.


Well, the other girls were doing it, but they shouldn’t have either.

If she had been in a flight prior to the last flight before finals, then warming up again would make more sense because she would have been cooled off and been waiting to throw for 30 minutes, or more.

However, in this case, her time between prelims and finals were close together and taking 2-3 throws between prelims and finals just isn’t what you want your throwers to do; not even a stand throw.

Now you might be asking yourself why I allowed it?

Unfortunately I didn’t catch it in time…

…. I had just walked away towards the boy discus to start working with my other throwers.

When I saw it, I told her, “You just got done throwing, you don’t need additional throws when you just got done throwing, plus you’ve been here for 7 hours.”

(that was more or less what was said)

As a rule,
I coach throwers to do turns, and air throws between prelims and finals.

I usually have my guys go into the ring with a towel and do an air throw, if the ring is open between prelims and finals, just to keep rhythm in check, but not to waste energy by taking throws that they need for competition…

Or worse, they leave their big throws in the warm-up!

At this meet, I saw plenty of kids taking 3-4-5 more throws between prelims and finals- BIG MISTAKE.

If you are a thrower, or coach, don’t let that mistake happen. You’re leaving results on the table.

You need all the energy you can for big throws in the comp.

My throwers always generally understand this, but I make it clear nonetheless.

Remember, practice what you are gonna do….

… 6 throws for the money.

Not 3 throws, 6 more warm up’s… then 3 more???

Do the math, that’s 12 throws…. You get 6 throws to hit it.

In between competition throws, throwers can sit if they like, do 30-60 second targeted foam rolling, but then they need to get ready.

4-5 throwers before they are up, go through their throw and work their rhythm.

We did this last week with Dante and Tyson.

(See my Instagram for their throws //IG: aretethrowsnation)

My advanced throwers never feel the need to take additional warm-ups. They should be conserving their energy for the comp, not leaving their best throws in the warm-up

Todays take away is this… during meet time:


1. Good pre comp warm-up

2. Plan to be ready in 4-5 throws or less.

3. In the shot: Usually 1-2 stand( Gotta get the hand warmed up)

4. Please no overhead throws.

  • For rotational throwers a wheel, then to fulls
  • For Gliders a Glide wheel, then to full glide.

5. No additional throws between prelims and finals.

Just do full throws movements


1. Good pre comp warm-up

2. Warm-ups 1 stand, 1 wheel, then to full. 4-5 throws

3. And if you know you are only getting 1 throw, make it a full throw. (Many of my guys in the past just did it that way, And that’s how I used to do it)

4. Just do full throws movements and walk throughs between comp throws Don’t sit around!

Seems simple, but I get this question a lot and cringe at virtually every meet I go to because I see kids warming up too much before the comp, and often again between prelims and finals.

Don’t waste your energy. Save that for when it matters.

Time to compete like a beast!