Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Close Look At a Pioneer Of Discus Throwing: AL Oerter

Al Oerter of the USA throws the discus at the Mexico Olympic Games.(AFP/Getty Images)
When I look back at the early stages of my career, the first thing that crosses my mind is Ole Al. I was infatuated with Al, I would tell all my track buddies all the fun facts about his career such as his four time gold medal achievement and many more. I was even lucky enough to get autographed pictures from him through a dear friend of mine and I still cherish them till today and keep them safely locked a way. Getting those autographed pictures inspired me to do the best i could and had a strong hand in leading me to where I am today in my career as a discus junkie.
Although Al passed away in October 2007, his passion and domination of the sport will never be forgotten. On a lighter note, we will take a close look at Mr. Oerter's technique today. Lets check out a vid:

In my opinion, Al's old style of discus throwing was based on functionality. By this I mean that although most throwers of this newer generation might see a jumbled mess of a technique, the fact is that it worked wonderfully for Al. The definition of functionality is the ability of being functional which ultimately means keeping it simple. Here are some things I feel he did very well in his technique:
  • Had a wonderful rhythm in the circle
  • Stayed Low and used his powerful legs
  • Stayed over left leg very well when coming from the back of the circle
  • Hit middle of the circle in a manner that optimized his torque
  • had a fast right hip that helped him sling the disc
All these points above are the basics of what any discus thrower should be aware of. Although the orbit of his discus looked bizarre, the power he had in each of the positions mentioned above ultimately helped him deliver a huge amount of velocity to his discus, leading to four gold medals in one event. An impressive feat even by todays standards.

Summary: Learn from the forefathers such as Al and don't forget that they were exceptional athletes during those days of old. They focused on the fundamental function of their technique rather than looking pretty in the circle.


Anonymous said...

wow you seem to know a lot about your sport. I like the passion and dedication!

Yemi Ayeni (D.M.F) said...

Thank you! I love to write about it.