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how tot throw the discus and discus techniques

Discus Killer and Simple Concepts

This week I have schedule in the books a big project to share a lot of tips and insights. The inspiration came from what I saw this weekend at my Discus camp in So Cal…  and during virtually every throws camp I do.

Today, I will touch on a few topics, and dig in more as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday.

This past Saturday, Arete Throws Nation completed its 3rd Preseason Throws camp: Discus… All Day!

We divided the groups by modest marks- above 130ft =  group 1 and 110ft or below= group 2.

Camps are a microcosm of the state of throwing and the efficiency of throws coaching that throwers are receiving.

It is categorized a little like this…

  1. A couple of solid coaches, decent skill levels.
  2. Multiple Coaches, with little correct throws coaching info.
  3. No coaching/No Coach.
  4. and sadly… Bad Coaching…. REALLY BAD!!!!

Bad throws coaching is typically the result of using incorrect concepts about the throw, having limited information on how to teach technique, and/or going all in with developing a program using incorrect info… (many times it’s just a lack of experience and a solid understanding of the Science of the Throw).

A poorly executed throws program really does damage to a thrower’s development, and sadly it happens all the time… but we’ll talk about that later on.

At our throws camps, we, of course, teach the TCR™ system (Throwing Chain Reaction™) to clarify the concept of the throw. We will drill the 6 Pillars in the 1st half and throw in the afternoon using the Pillar Connection phases. (I’ve included a quick Excerpt from our camp talking about this and the process)

—– to attend an ATN camp in Dec, Click Here

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I’ll spend 45 minutes on pillar 1 and explain “how” (rather than simply show) a progression should look, feel, and be coached.

We spend the time to drive home the importance of Pillar 1- Setting Up the Trigger Action…

which is how to set separation and the sprint leg axis.

We then spend a bunch of time drilling pillar 2: Setting up Maximum Power.

Pillars 1-2 & 6 are the most complete pillars.

In pillar 2, we start with the CM shift Drills-  keeping the Knees apart to maintain the separations that is set in pillar 1. This teaches the throwers the critical position of setting up Maximum Power.

Each year I am always surprised by how something simple is difficult to do and learn.

After about 45 minutes on how to properly set separation, I said to the campers, “This is what you have to do correctly if you want to throw far fast

 

… And it’s true!  It’s how we routinely see athletes improve 25+ feet in the discus and over 6-8 feet in the shot.  It’s also how they will be throwing farther in just a few weeks if they really work on Pillar 1 & 2.

If you get Pillar 1 and 2 close, the throw is MUCH better because the TCR™ system is much better.  Seriously, you can mess up pillars 3-6 and still manage decent throw, but if P1 & P2 are wrong… its OVER!….

… The throw is toast!

The point is,  both coaches and throwers need to understand that you need to spend the time to set the foundation.

In fact, most programs shouldn’t even begin throwing for at least 2 weeks.

They should do drills, like machines every day for 2 weeks, and started developing throwing strength.

I guarantee,  you will have the best season ever if you focus on learning and doing the right things first;  spend the time to master Pillar 1 & 2 during the first 4 weeks with a thrower.. ..

…Its makes a huge difference!

I also talked about how to simplify the throw.

You’re familiar with the expression “Don’t’ put the cart before the horse”….. well in throwing, “Don’t put the throw before the technique”.

Trust me, it happens all the time!

I strive to really make it clear how the Throwing Chain Reaction™ works. Its real. It powerful.

At each camp I see recurring mistakes….

… and at this camp last weekend, it was no different.

For new Throwers, one of the biggest mistakes in the discus is bringing the discus forward in the throw as they go through the throw, meaning the arm can’t stay back as they move from Pillar 1 to Pillar 3 .

There is a simple reason.

The don’t hold the discus properly.

They are grabbing and gripping the disc, and therefore, they are almost entirely focused on NOT dropping the Discus.

This crushes the throw because the feedback mechanism is totally jacked up…

… They must learn to hold the discus, and how to carry it properly in the throw.

From newbie to more advanced throwers, this is a more common issue than people realize!

Throwers that don’t hold the discus properly will do all drills and training incorrectly because they can sense the discus is going to come out, so they make all kinds of technical compensations, and as a result, and they will never really feel the timing of the hips and the timing of how the arm is supposed to feel.

This is the Pillar Killer, again because the Feedback Mechanism is crushed… which will be discussed later this week.

This issue prohibits the TCR™ system from flowing properly because Pillar 1 will be incorrect,breaking the “chain reaction”… get it?

…   holding the implement (in all throws) must be done correctly and first.

If you see the unwind, look at how kids carry the discus.

This is the juicy stuff a lot of people don’t talk about and it makes a major difference because once throwers establish the wrong pattern, it’s a total pain to arse to correct it.

And the this carry issue is more prevalent than most people realize!

Stay tuned for tomorrows email, where I go into more tips and revelations from last week’s Discus Camp.

-Coach Johnson

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.

how to throw the shot put

5 Tips For Better Shot Put Technique and Bigger Results

It’s the day after Halloween, and after a night of trick or treating with my youngest daughter, I thought I’d post an ATN treat for all of you who are interested in gaining some serious SHOT PUT results!

… make that 5 tips to be exact….

This past Saturday we kicked off our Preseason throw camp series in So Cal with the Shot put, and like every camp there are a host of issues for every thrower to work on.

One of the biggest issues our sport faces is a limited number of properly trained coaches.

Most understand conceptually what’s supposed to be done, however, many have never been taught correctly, or better yet, ever been taught a true system… even those that threw in college.

The term “system” gets thrown around a lot, but what it’s really referring to is a coaching perspective…. meaning “We approach the throw via “x” way”…

The Throwing Chain Reaction™ System, however, is a REAL SYSTEM.

It has Step-by-step instructions, methods, language, and is Tested by Science….

… and you if want to get better fast, you’ll want to do so in the shortest steps possible!

So with that said, Here are your 5 tricks and 2 treats:

Tip #1: Simplification.

Once throwers and coaches start to look at the throw correctly, its becomes much easier to teach and learn. This is why I said some things are simply incorrect.

And if you’re coaching from the wrong perspective, its gonna result in leaving results on the table.

Tip #2: Pillar 1 is the key to simplification

One of the biggest problems across the board that I see at every camp is Pillar 1: Setting up the Trigger Action… whether it’s glide, or spin shot.

By now you should be familiar with the TCR™ system, and you should know that the efficiency of the start of the throw will determine nearly 80% of your success!

The start in the spin has 12 biomechanical checks, and in the the Glide shot, it’s 9.

Therefore, you don’t just randomly wind and go, or bend in go in the glide… this  is a crucial point to fully understand.

This is the message I always try to drive home at every camp.

If you just attended the shot put camp 2 days ago you should have this fresh in your mind:

The Throw is a Chain reaction and if the Pillar 1 is done incorrectly, you are in for a long rough ride.

In a nutshell the object of pillar 1 is to set up Separation and the Sprint leg axis.

If you don’t set up the separation, you’ll cut your power output dramatically. If you don’t set up the sprint leg axis., you can’t move into a position to generate speed… these are 2 critical goals of the Pillar 1.

If you don’t master Pillar 1… THROW OVER!  and your learning curve…. WILL BE MUCH LONGER.

Everything in the throw from poor foot rotation in the middle, to poor block during delivery to sector fouls, hinges on the efficiency of Pillar 1.

Tip #3: Understand each drill has its own TCR…

…and when a drill is not sequenced correctly, the drill will be done incorrectly.….and it takes so much longer to get better.

Basically, if you practice incorrectly, you will throw incorrectly, and your lack of results will be a harsh reality of why you must sequence and practice throw drills the RIGHT WAY.

Tip #4: strive to make your drills feel smooth and efficient.

Every drill & position, when done correctly, has a distinct feeling. This is what you must learn to recognize and replicate; the feeling and rhythm of the throw.

The old theory of  “if it feel wrong its right” …. Yeah, that’s total bullshit!

If it feels crappy, it’s probably wrong; if it feels weird, but smoother…

… You’re on the right path. Be patient and learn how this works.

It’s the key to getting better fast.

Tip #5: Improve your strength levels.

I know this is a “No Kidding Coach!” tip….

… but what I mean is the right type of strength.

A lot of kids get smoked doing the drills at the camp, and specific drills tax your hamstrings, glutes, and core.

… Even with a big bench press and squat, these muscle areas can be weak and limit your throw.

A lot of throwers have a difficult time hitting positions because they are not strong enough to hold the right position.

So I encourage everyone that doesn’t understand the TCR™ system to check us out.

If u want to take your throws to the next level fast… this is how.

If you don’t get tips 1-5 right., it’ll be the death of your throw!!! 

The TCR system is real, it’s science, and our systems is the first of its kind!

It breaks it all down step-by-step, backed with in-depth detail, and a library of throws analysis video that helps you “SEE” the technique better and greatly improves how you address any technical issues or weaknesses.

SIMPLIFICATION

Once you understand how to simplify the complexity, the results will follow rapidly.

It’s the coaching and throwing game changer.

– Coach Johnson

PS… If you are ready to dominate this 2016/2017 track season, click here and check out the alpha coach pack…

You get full access into the Throwing Chain Reaction™ system- Discus Domination/ Shot Put Supremacy/ Goliath Glide/ Tech Lab / Throws Coaching Course (level 1)/ Strength Training & Program Design Course..

…including lots of FREE BONUSES: Drill Prescription Sheet/ Handouts for All Courses- making a powerful throws coaching tool!/ Unlimited Q&A access to Coach Johnson/ Lifting Program Template/ How To Boost T-Levels eGuide/ Access into a private Facebook Group of dedicated throws coaches and self taught post collegiate throwers & pros…..   value $1510……

… Get your Alpha Coach pack membership now for only  $1150    $797    $367 (1X payment) or $37mo  (12 payments)

 

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.