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Basic Technique For Discus Throwing
By: Mark Harsha
Portage High School (IN) Girls' Head Coach

Goal One: Discus grip and release

1. Holding the discus
  • Place discus in your throwing hand
  • Spread fingers out with index finger inline with wrist
  • Place fingers first knuckles over the disc

2. Release the discus

  • When releasing the discus have your palm down
  • Squeeze the discus out (bar of soap)
  • The disc will come off the index finger
  • The disc will spin in a clockwise direction for a right handed thrower

3. Drills used to teach the grip and release ?excellent time for a competition

Arm swings ?Use this drill to teach about centrifugal force
a) The thrower stands with feet shoulder width apart
b) Place the disc into throwing hand
c) Swing the disc level with the shoulders back and forth catching it in your left hand
d) The athlete should feel the discus pushing out on the hand

Discus bowling ?Use this drill for proper discus release.
a) The thrower will place the discus in his hand with proper placement
b) The thrower will bowl the discus to his partner that is standing 15 feet away
c) Remember to squeeze the discus out making sure the discus rolls off the index finger and does not wobble
d) Once the thrower becomes proficient at 15 feet move the partners farther away form each other or have the thrower bowl at a target

Throws for height ?Use this drill for proper release of the discus
a) The thrower stands with feet shoulder width apart
b) Place the disc into throwing hand
c) Swing the discus forward and back next to your body two times
d) After two swings throw the discus straight up with a proper release remembering to squeeze the discus out. Make sure the throwing arm is straight

Skip throws ?Use this drill for proper discus release.
a) the thrower stands with feet shoulder width apart and facing perpendicular to the throwing direction
b) place the disc into throwing hand
c) swing the disc level with the shoulders back and forth catching it in your left hand
d) After two swings throw the disc close to the ground with proper release remembering to squeeze the disc out and keep the palm flat

Goal two: Power Position

1. Body position in the power position

  • The thrower will stand perpendicular to the throwing direction

  • The feet position will be shoulder width apart with left foot slightly behind the right foot
  • The thrower needs to be in an athletic position
  • The thrower will shift 80% percent of his/her weight onto the right leg
  • The thrower will twist his/her upper body completely opposite the throwing direction. This position from up above will look like an X
  • The chest, knee and toe should be in line
  • The thrower extends the right arm out from the side of the body
  • The left arm will be extended out from the body with a right angle relationship to the right arm
2. Throwing from the power position
  • Use cones when first teaching to throw from the power position, so the athlete does not have to worry about the discus falling out of his /her hands
  • Over exaggerate the use of the legs in the throw especially the hips
  • The sequence of the throw will be hips ?legs ?arm
  • Start the throw by turning the right hip to the front of the ring
  • Once the hips start moving the legs will extend upwards
  • Sweep the left arm out and around
  • Once the left arm reaches the front of the ring bring it in tight to the body to form a block
  • The left side of the body will stop to aid in accelerating the discus
  • Release the discus
3. Drills used to teach throwing from the power position
  • Heel turns with partner ? Use this drill to over exaggerate the hips coming through before the shoulders. Surgical tubing could be used to add resistance.

a) The thrower gets into the power position without a discus
b) The partner will place his hand near the right heel of the thrower
c) The thrower will attempt to smack and drive through his partners hand with his heel ?focusing on the speed of his heel

  • Cone throwing –Use for any parts of the throw.

a) Use cones so athletes can concentrate on the throw and not the disc
b) Use cones for inside throwing
c) Use cones to produce a long pull

  • 1-2 drill ? Use this drill to teach the thrower to keep the disc back on the hip.

a) The thrower gets into the power position with the disc held in the right hand
b) On the command of "one"-he opens his left arm to the throwing direction and turns his heel out.
c) On the command of "two" the thrower completes the throw ? release the disc 5 feet in front of the ring

Goal Three: Middle of the ring

1. Body position in the middle of the ring

  • Stand facing the throwing direction
  • Take a step with your right foot
  • Place 80% of your body weight on the right foot
  • Put your body in an athletic position in relation to your right leg
  • The alignment of your body should be chest- right knee- right toe

2. Throwing from the middle of the ring

  • Swing your right arm back where you can hit your right cheek of your buttocks
  • Left arm will be pointed towards the throwing direction
  • Start the reverse 180 by pivoting counterclockwise on your right foot
  • The left leg will be picked up off the ground and driven to the front of the ring in a straight line as the right foot rotates
  • The left foot should try to hit the right heel as it is being placed in the front of the ring (knee to knee)
  • Complete the throw once you are in the power position

3. Drills used to teach the middle of the ring

  • Reverse 180’s ?Use for pivoting at the center of the ring.

a) The thrower will start with the right foot in the middle of the ring
b) The thrower will complete a reverse 180 concentrating on picking up the left foot and bringing both knees together (cue knee to knee)
c) It is critical that the right foot does not stop turning

  • Wheels ?Use this drill to teach balance and continue turning of the right foot.

a) The thrower will start with the right foot in the middle of the ring
b) The thrower will complete a reverse 180 concentrating on picking up the left foot and bringing both knees together (cue knee to knee)
c) It is critical that the right foot does not stop turning
d) Continue for five repetitions

  • High knees ?Use this drill to teach the transition from back of the ring to the middle of the ring.

a) Stand at the back of the ring facing the throwing direction
b) Bring the right thigh parallel to the ground
c) The right foot should be dorsi flexed
d) The left arm will point towards the throwing direction
e) Swing the right arm back where it will be able to hit the right cheek
f) Fall into the middle of the ring ?do not step
g) Once the right foot makes contact start the reverse 180

Goal four: the drive through the center of the ring

1. Drive or sprint across the ring

  • This phase of the throw is a transition from the back of the ring to the middle
  • The drive from the back of ring comes from a push off from the left ankle and a strong high knee punch from the right leg
  • The thrower will not spend much time in the air
  • Once the left ankle pushes off then the left leg is tucked close the right leg
  • The thrower will drive down a straight line (backward seven)
  • The left ankle will push off once the thrower reaches the 3 o’clock position
  • The thrower will not step with the right leg but instead the right will be locked and let the ground come to them
2. Drills to teach the drive across the ring
  • South Africans - Use this drill to teach the sprint across the ring.

a) The thrower will face the front of the ring
b) Place the left foot into the ring at the 5 o’clock position
c) The right foot will be placed outside the ring
d) The thrower will draw the discus back behind his hip allowing his body to wind up
e) Drive off the left foot and make a wide arc while leading with the right leg
f) Make sure the thrower drives straight down the line
g) Once the right foot hits center the foot continues to turn while the thrower does a reverse pivot
h) The left leg will plant in the front of the ring
i) The thrower will be in a good power position to throw the discus

  • Walking turns –Use this drill so the athlete becomes accustomed to turning.

a) Do this drill walking around the track or walking to and from practice
b) Step with the left foot
c) Step with the right foot underneath the body
d) Reverse pivot on the right foot
e) Walk two steps and do another turn

Goal five: Back of the ring

1. Body position in the back of the ring
  • The thrower will face opposite the back of the ring
  • The thrower will be in an athletic position
  • The thrower will raise his/her arms to their sides at shoulder level
  • The thrower will twist their arms and shoulders to the right forming an X with shoulders and hip axis
  • The thrower will shift 80% of their weight onto the left leg
2. Pivoting out of the back of the ring
  • Pivot the left foot (squash the bug) towards the three o’clock position
  • Pickup the right foot as soon as the left foot is pivoting
  • Work only the lower body, the upper body needs to stay back
  • The right foot will take a wide and low path outside the circle
  • Once the left foot reaches the 3 o’clock position drive and sprint to the center of the ring
  • As the thrower is driving to the center bring the right leg in towards the center of the ring (high knee locked)

3. Drills to teach the pivot at the back of the ring

  • 180’s back of the ring ? Use this drill for balance in the back of the ring.

a) The thrower will start in the back of the ring in a good athletic position with arms shoulder level
b) 80% of the weight will be on the left leg
c) Turn the arms and shoulders to the right to form an X with the shoulders and hips
d) Lock the arm back and turn 180 degrees on the left foot - slow and balanced
e) Keep the right foot away from the left foot

  • Small steps 180 and throw (step & go) ?Use this drill to teach the back of the ring movement.

a) Start in the back of the ring with a discus
b) The thrower will touch the ground with his right foot while doing a 180 (small steps)
c) Once the thrower hits the three o’clock position continue the throw

Any questions? Email me at mharsha@portage.k12.in.us
 

 


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