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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

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

 

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.

strength training programs for shot put and discus throwers

Strength Training Programs For Shot Put and Discus

To achieve success, as a throws coach, you need a carefully designed strength-training program that pairs seamlessly

with an equally solid, technique focused, throws program.

 

You’ve heard me talk about technique before, so today, I’m going to talk about strength

programs for shot put and discus throwers.

 

An Arete Nation secret weapon, that has contributed to our

consistent increases in athletic performance, is our focus on the function of the body…

 

…too many strength training programs out there are designed poorly,

and as a result, come up short on overall sports performance.

 

First, many programs assume that the athlete is 100% functional,

and second, they don’t take into account posture inefficiencies.

 

Rebalancing posture is a simple, but powerful process for addressing gross posture issues.

If a thrower’s body is out of alignment, it will create limits his ability to not only perform lifts

and other exercises correctly, but it also sets up limits of success in the ring.

 

Posture analysis and diagnosis is a core process in the ATN strength training system.

Addressing imbalances routinely takes very average kids and make them good throwers,

turns our good throwers into elites, and produces good collegiate throwers into top pros.

 

Posture rebalancing for shot putter and discus throwers is a key part to understanding

how to design the athlete’s program, how to plan the the training cycles, and it assists you to better

understand what will interfere with your athlete’s ability to move dynamically.

 

The challenge throw coaches face is choosing the right lifts

and strength exercises that produce better throwers.  

Don’t make the mistake of falling for the pure strength trap.

 

Throwers are athletes that need to develop dynamic strength.

Pure strength like power lifting does little to improve a thrower’s ability to throw far.

We get the allure of big numbers in the weight room, but the science of developing strength that translates

to big throws, requires a much more thorough understanding of the Annual Training Cycle and most

important how to set up a periodized program that has throwers throwing their best when it matter most.

 

It’s important to learn how to utilize the principles of block periodization to create the most effective annual

and in-season competition training cycle. It’s the job of the throws coach to create multiple peaking windows

rather than a single peak.

 

If you are looking for more information on how to design a strength training program for throwers

and how to design the 3 training blocks: Size, Strength & Competition Speed, and create the 3 peaks

in the track and field season: beginning, middle, and championship phase,

check out my Online Strength Training & Program Design program.

 

ATN Online Throws Coach Course:

Strength Training For Throwers

Click here for more info about the Strength Training & Program Design

 

Learn how to develop a more dynamic throws program, and how to establish training percentages

for each individual thrower based on their technical capability, strength levels,

and conditioning levels- today!