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pre season throws training shot put and discus

Shot Put and Discus Fall/Winter Training: What You Should Be Doing Now

One of the key things Arete Throws Nation focuses on when an athlete is going to focus exclusively on being a shot-putter, or a discus-thrower, is to understand what you’re supposed to do at what time of year.

 

If you throw, throw, throw and constantly throw, there’s clearly a lot of benefit to that, but there’s also going to be a key time when you need to focus on breaking down technique.

 

During the summer months- post season- we have our throwers working on drills for the various parts of the throw…

… We’re looking at left and right leg axis, separation, power position, the left arm and left leg block, and delivery of the shot put and discus.

 

As we start fall, we begin taking the drills into the ring two days a week. We work on a lot of stand throw mechanics (power position, right leg axis and block) concentrating on the right leg axis, and timing of the block.

 

We do our modified wheel drill to work the right left axis and 45-degree angle to work rotation of the power position.

 If you throw the discus, or the shot, we’re always looking at perfecting Pillar 1 (the wind-up)….

 

… to address balance in the back of the ring, (balance left to right) and balance in the middle of the throw (balance front to back).

 

Whether you’re an in-coming freshmen, or an elite thrower, you should be spending this time learning the throw and breaking down the technique….

 

… This is the time to really think over positions, and work on the things that need to be improved before the next season arrives.

So what am I saying?

 

You gotta work the parts of the throw, and its also the time to work on strength and size development, getting bigger, getting stronger, fixing weaknesses, eating right and learning to recover and how all that ties together.

 

(NOTE* weight training should be focused on making you a better thrower, not just better in the weight room. Think about that.  This is an important point and we will discus this in another article).

 

Even though weight training is a big part of your training, avoid over training, so that:

  1. You’re not getting burned out, and
  2. You’re enjoying the process and having fun.

 

It’s building a sense of anticipation for the next year.

 

Ultimately, throwers have to have a strong understanding of the science of the throw and that’s where the Throwing Chain Reaction ™ system comes in as an important tool for any throws program looking for real results- fast!

 

We work on everything from front of the ring to the back of the ring.

Around this time of year, coaches will ask me, “What percentage of your training focuses on the throwing?”

Since its fall, we are spending two days actually throwing and always focusing on technique, making proper adjustments….

 

… we will be in the weight room 3 days a week, where I have a strength program designed exclusively for throwers. (I offer this information in a online course available now- click here for more info)

… Then we’ll have a week where they’ll throw a few extra times.

 

At Arete Throws Nation, in Southern California and in Phoenix Az, we will have throws camps every month from August to January.

This is a great way learn the TCR™ system to athletes who haven’t been part of our online system, or who live outside the area… and many times out of the state!

 

The ATN camps are a great way to launch your throws season in the right direction…

… I also welcome throws coaches to all the ATN camps, so you can see first hand how to apply the TCR™ system and how effective and quickly a thrower responses to this system of throws coaching.

 

It’s also an opportunity for our throwers that are already in our training program to review and reinforce the fundamentals.

We typically conclude each camp with some level of throwing.

 

If you’re in Southern California or Phoenix Az, I encourage you to come to our monthly camps. We keep it to a small number on purpose so every athlete gets a lot of coaching and really gets a crash course in the parts of the throw.

 

 

Drills are the key! That’s your lifeblood.

 It’s the best way to get a lot of repetition in a short amount of time.

 

I’ve had athletes at the high school level spend 45 minutes to an hour, getting 150 repetitions in. That’s throwing over and over and over. It is the fastest way to break bad habits.

If you’re a young thrower the best thing you can do is develop good habits from the start.

You understand the drill, pay attention. The drills are definitely a part of your throwing, whether you’re a 12-year-old youth thrower or elite thrower, cuz the pros are working drills right now too.

 

rotational discus shot put knees apart

Quick Tip Friday: Knees Apart

Is it Friday already?

Man the week went by fast. Be sure to take a moment for our Veterans.

My dad is Vietnam Vet and served in the early years before it got really bad. Mrs Arete’s Grandfather- who is 93 yrs young- was a Naval Officer during WW2 and sailed LST ships to the shores.   He has some very amazing and moving stories about his experiences while being in South Pacific.

 

We thank them, and all our military past and present for their service to the nation!

 

Time for QTF- Quick Tip Friday:

 Today, we will talk about a super quick and important technical game changing tip in Pillar 1 & 2 of the TCR™ system.

One to the hardest things to teach in Pillar 1 is the Shift & Turn, which will properly set up Pillar 2, and this leads to the Drop into Pillar 3 : Drop and Apply Speed.

 

…and to do this correctly, you need to hit your Pillar 1 & 2 mechanics correctly.

 

So, the official Quick Tip is knees apart… Knees Apart…. KNEES APART. 

 

Keep the Knees apart!

discus technique knees apart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In pillar 1 and 2 of the Throwing Chain reaction™ system…you must keep the knees apart as you shift left and move around the axis to set up Pillar 3: Maximum Speed. (or right if you are a lefty)

 

This takes time to learn, and it’s what the best throwers in the world have in common.

 

Most young throwers turn the sweep leg with the sprint leg and this creates too much rotation and that means less distance.

 

Keep the knees apart!

 

Have a great weekend.

Coach Johnson

P.S.  NOV 15th the Throws Coaching Course 2.0 will begin…  If you already attended the Course, or bought the Alpha Coach Pack ,you are automatically enrolled and will be receiving emails as we count down to this Throws Coaching Content PACKED course.

If you have not enrolled yet, and want in, you have until Sunday, Nov 13th at midnight

to get in for 25% OFF!!!  Used Code: COACH25 

CLICK HERE

 

Throwing Kiss of Death

Well the election is over, and perhaps it’s my age, or that I was hyper focused on the issues that are important to me, but I’m exhausted.

A lot of people thrilled, while many others are frustrated at the results….

I zeroed in on the people who are frustrated because it is the #1 emotion I see as a throws coach…

… whether you are a thrower, or a throws coach trying to better your understanding of how to teach such a technique heavy sport, frustration can be your enemy!

The biggest reason throwers fail is due to how they handle the frustration that will inevitably happen as you strive to become a better thrower.

Frustration is something that quickly needs to be shifted to a solution based action,because on-going frustration is a massive performance killer… it’s the throwing kiss of death.

Every year there will be the throwers that simply get too frustrated too often, and the frustration gets in the way of staying open-minded to find ways out of the problem.

Typically, the scenario goes something like this…

The thrower can’t figure out Pillar 1 & 2, and by now you should know that, that means the throw is toast and all kinds of shit is gonna go wrong.

After about 6 unsuccessful throws, or drills, and usually me saying ” NOPE!” …lol…

… the thrower’s response comes along the lines of “Ugh!!!”, and then the look of “WTF! You don’t understand coach, I just can’t do it!” or, my favorite… “I don’t think this is right…”

For the thrower, the solution to a Pillar challenge is typically an ungodly amount of drill reps to train the new movement pattern… and that takes serious mental fortitude…. Gotta grind!

As a coach, I must do my best to not get frustrated as well, and this happens every year with a few athletes, and I nip this in the bud ASAP.

There is a right way to deal with frustration as a coach, or thrower, and an unproductive way.

The key, as a coach, is to get the athlete out of this pattern quickly.

Most of the time, the frustration is rooted in insecurity and fear.

The “what if I fail” dialog begins to dominate the mental dialog, and when it becomes continuous noise, the thrower is gonna tank… and fast, because every little mistake is going to be over scrutinized and that gets in the way of learning.

… Trust me, when an entire practice, or two, or several stalls happen due to frustration trumping patience, the training is just wasted time; and that’s why it must stop!

This sport is too damn difficult to waste time. It takes so many reps, and if a thrower stands in their own way… THAT’S FRUSTRATING!

Now listen, I completely understand….

I threw too. I remember days when I was pissed, but I would throw for hours until I figured out what I was doing wrong. I turned my frustration into determination!

As a coach, I always am sure to quickly tell the thrower “if you get too frustrated you’re killing your progress, it’s a total waste of time, so let it go and relax or you will ruin your practice.

So let me be clear… How a thrower handles frustration is going to determine their ability to succeed as a thrower.

You know you’ve seen it before…

… the kid at the meet that’s embarrassed because they are throwing badly, and they make it worse by putting pressure on themselves, and they just go down-hill and crash.

Coaches and throwers must understand the mental game is a MAJOR part of developing successful throws … especially when it matters most, in competition!

I’ve had my share of head cases- to put it nicely- and I had to change my style of coaching slightly to ensure that they succeeded.

There are a lot to things that will contribute to frustration in the throw, but by using the Throwing Chain Reaction™ system you will simplify training and reduce frustration.

Often time, technical development struggles will stem from the KCR, Kinetic Chain reaction, which we cover in our online Strength Training for Throwers Course. This means there are legit physical limitations that make it nearly impossible to throw far.

But no matter how good you are as a coach, no matter how good the throwing system is, or how great the weight training program is, the mental frustration battle must be won.

If you want to see the mental game in action, check out the Olympic trials this year….

You will see some of the best throwers in the nation falling apart as they try to adjust to the weather, the pressure of this intense competition…

… and how anyone who tried to force it, instead of relaxing and performing the throw as it is intended, fell short; some of the biggest and best didn’t make the final… but my guy got 4th!

why? Well, all I did for 3 days was focused on keeping him relaxed and mentally prepared for throwing in the rain. I told him he had the advantage technically (due tot he TCR™ system), and he went into that competition believing he could win…

and his performance showed that.

So, I encourage coaches and throwers to turn those struggles into determination to conquer the challenges…

… It’s the biggest key to becoming a successful thrower or coach.

… And dare I say it’s kind of addicting.

I love the challenge. I thrive on it. I’m always determined to beat it. I want to conquer the problem. I get amped by it.

I never give up on an athlete- or a coach, and that has served me and my Arete Nation of throwers well.

The key is to never let the frustration hit the tipping point.

If it does…. progress over!!

You must get it on track. Learn to change the channel and get into a winning frame of mind, because what a throwers does it in practice- good or bad- they’ll do it in competition.

As coach who teaches other coaches and throwers the technical ins-and-outs of throws technique and lifting…

… it’s easy to forget about the mental game, and prepping throwers to be mentally tough is critical.

That’s one thing all the greats have in common: MENTAL GAME DOMINATION!

Look at Michelle Carter at the Olympics…

It’s her final throw, and she basically has to throw an American Record to win…. SHE DID!

That’s some serious mental grit, and I get fired up just thinking about it.

So, as you learn a lot of throwing technique in the TCR™ system…

… and I mean A LOT, don’t forget that the mental side is HUGE for throwers.

Mental domination is just another part of what you have to work not only as a thrower, but as a coach too!… it will always serve you well.

Train smart.

Coach Johnson

P.S. WE’VE GOT YOUR COACHING NEEDS COVERED:

We will discuss the mental side of coaching in our upcoming live TCR 2.0 Throws coaches course that starts next Tuesday.

All session are recorded for replay and posted the next morning in case you can’t attend live.

You can submit questions live, or email them, and they are addressed in Q&A during each module.

Please email at coach@aretethrowsnation.com

Each module will start at 6pm (PST) is better for your ability to attend.

If you want into the course, details are here.

P.S.S. Throws camps are filling up in So Cal and AZ. Click here for camp details.

TCR system for a limited time includes the TCR 2.0 course and Strength Training for throwers course ($334 value) Get in now while you get it ALL! Click here to check it out.

shot put discus weight training programs

Too Strong To Throw Far

It’s officially the Off-Season, and I can finally stop traveling to track meets around the country, and get back to more weight room training and being behind the scenes working on all things ARETE, bringing new content to the membership, blog, and online throws coaching courses.

At this time of year, I enjoy focusing on the weight room, breaking down technique, and being able to enjoy the somewhat slower pace before preseason begins.

It’s a time where I could care less how far an athlete is throwing….

… and by that I mean, the off season pace allows us to spend more time in the ring adjusting technique, time in the weight room developing lifting technique, and focusing on correcting gross posture imbalances that can limit performance (or as I have named it GPR, Gross Posture Rebalancing).

What is GPR?…

…It’s a relatively straightforward concept. If an athlete has gross posture imbalances, they have limitations in their ability to throw far. This is something I discuss in detail in our  online program/ Strength Training & Program Design for throwers.

In most strength programs for throwers, one of the biggest mistakes I see is the focus narrows on pure strength development.

That is not to say that we don’t focus on strength development- WE DO!

However, the one thing that is critical to understand is that too much focus on pure strength in a training program results in fatigue. This fatigue will create an adverse reaction to the central nervous system’s requirements in regards to throwing, or in other words-

Too much fatigue in the weight room equals longer technical development times in the ring….

Now in the summer program, or early fall when there’s much less throwing happening, this fatigue will not have as much of an impact, however, once throwing and strength training resumes on a more regular basis, it’s really important to make sure that the body is fresh for throwing, specifically the central nervous system.

When the thrower has, for lack of a better word, “been beat to shit in the weight room”, they’re not going to be developing efficient movement patterns in the ring.

A weight training program for throwers must produce better throws, therefore, a weight training program needs to be designed with the goal to produce faster and more efficient technical development.

Bottomline… your lifting program has to enhance throwing, not get in your way.

Any training that falls victim to the “pure strength” lure, will leave a thrower strong as sh#t, but not throwing to their potential. The best programs focus on a strength-training program that develops the same type of speed and power required in the ring is critical for the success of the thrower!

For example- the deadlift.

In the ATN strength Program, we do NOT do dead lifts.

I know many programs that include those, I know of many elite throwers that use those, but we have not… and here is why.

… It simply is not the most effective movement that translates to the movement of the throws.

Instead, we focus on heavy clean pulls because the object in this lift is to always to be accelerating the weight to keep the CNS focused on fast, ballistic movement….

… as it is in throwing the shot put and the discus.

Sure moving really heavy things (like in the case of the dead lift) will elicit a positive hormone response and will in fact increase your strength, however, the Arete approach achieves better effects by using a slightly lower weight because we’re always training our throwers to be moving at a higher rate of speed.

The bottom line is when you’re in the ring you have to be able to move as fast as you can, and training strength patterns that develop strength and speed is typically the number one focus.

Take Jason Harrell (4th place at the Olympic Trials this year, Discus) for example,

Jason’s collegiate lifting program got him stronger in the squat, dead lift, and bench press; it was a power movement dominant strength program, and Jason’s core strength levels were respectable.

In Jason’s first year with me, we overhauled his strength training and watched his power lifts stay around the same, but his Olympic lifts took a big jump.

How?

Well, Jason stopped dead lifts, and skipped the bench press altogether during the season.

As a result, Jason’s competition average increased by 17 feet!

After training for 1 year with ATN, Jason went from

  • a 55m competition average, to a 60m average in his first season
  • averaging 180ft to 197ft in the discus
  • he added 12 feet to his lifetime best
  • went from never making it to the NCAA championships to top 18 in the entire United States by qualifying and competing at the US championships.

That’s a massive change in a year.

Jason passed all but 3 of the top 24 throwers in the NCAA from the previous year- huge difference!

The block periodization program served Jason exceptionally well.

What if the throwers are high school level? What happens if the programs are changed?

A few years ago, ATN had an athlete who improved 17 feet in the shot put from his sophomore year to his junior year- 45 ft to 62 ft!

The year he improved 17 feet, he switched from the glide to the spin, and we completely changed his weight training program to a Block periodization program with the early focus on GPR.

From the start, we focused on blocks to develop size, blocks that develop strength, and blocks that focused on competition speed development.

When the program was altered, the athlete’s success dropped.

In early January, prior to the season and having just finished football on the same style program that worked his junior year,  this athlete opened 7 inches off his PR. He was on pace to throw 65 to 67 feet!

However, due to some school politics (which really means “go away private coach we’re going to do things our way!”) the program that was giving him success was  taken over and  a different program was implemented.

This other strength program was a much more “general strength only” program, and  focused on pure strength and size. Unfortunately, the thrower ended up getting injured and not throwing father for the entire season.

Even though he did PR slightly in the discus, he never achieved Arete (his maximum potential) in the shot where he excels.

The move to Block periodization lead to huge increases, and the move away from a block periodization to a standard linear periodized program resulted in a decline in throws, a slew of choric injuries, and a finish at the biggest meet of the year that was 4 feet below his opening mark in January.

The other aspect of block periodization is that it creates multiple peaks and trains the body to be ready to peak multiple times. Which in a linear program, if you miss the mark, you are often screwed.

To further illustrate my argument, this athlete’s teammate was put back on an ATN program eight weeks prior to the biggest meet of the year, and this athlete improve steadily each week for the next 7 weeks, finishing the season with 3 consecutive PR’s at the three biggest meets- including the state championship in California, where he won.

So the point of these two stories is to illustrate that a properly designed block program consistently works time and time again.

Remember the role of a strength-training program is to produce better throwers, that throw farther, and that there are more variables than just lifting to get strong.

Make no mistake your weight training is a vital part of the elite throwing performance…

… So before you get sucked in by the lure of putting up MASSIVE NUMBERS, “I’m HUGE!”, or chest pounding animal strength (I get the appeal)…

… don’t forget throwers are throwers first and strength training is just part of the process.

Throwing Strong.

Click the link here to learn more about our upcoming Online Coaches Course: Strength Training and Program Design for throwers course.