Tuesday, August 25, 2009

From the back to the front

Ian Waltz of the United States competes during the Men's Discus Throw qualifications on day two of the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships on August 26, 2007 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka, Japan.
We have all heard it all. "keep your chest up!" "Don't slouch!" "keep your core tight!" "Stick your butt out!" "Don't look down!" "Bend your knees!" And so on and so forth. With all this commotion and advice as to how to set ourselves up in the back of the circle it is no wonder many discus throwers at one point or another develop what I call the "unnatural stance." You can identify this condition in many neophytes. The nervous demeanor on their face when they begin their wind up, the uncertainty in their motion, and the lack of fluidity in their movement. Throwers that suffer from "unnatural stance" of U.S for short have a very curable condition that can be solved by focusing on the following things:
  • First, relax! This is the most valuable advice my coach (Carrie Lane) gave with regards to the back of the circle. The ability to relax in the back of the circle allows the thrower to focus the energy of the throw for later in the spin when it really matters. What typically happens when a thrower is so focused with the back being perfect is that they don't do the same in the middle of the circle, which results in a bad throw. Relax by taking a few deep breaths and visualize hitting the middle of the circle properly. Close your eyes for a few seconds if you have to, trust me it works.
  • Second, Slow down! I am guilty of this myself. I sometimes blow through the back of the circle and i usually pay for it dearly when I get to the front of the circle because it mostly ends up being a bad finish. When I say slow, I don't mean snail paced, I mean slow in a manner that your movement is controlled and not erratic. Doing so allows you to have the ability to attack the circle more controlled and with more intensity than otherwise.
  • Third, do what works for you! This can only be achieved through trial and error. It all depends on what you feel comfortable doing in the back of the circle when it cames down to it. There is no cookie cutter setup that every one has to mimic but the most important points to focus on when trying to find your proper stance and movement from the back of the circle should include:
    • relaxed shoulders
    • relaxed jaw
    • keep eyes on horizon
    • keep torso erect as too prevent slouching
    • Move Hips before you move the discus
Next time you start from the back of the circle it is a good idea to focus on the points I have addressed above. The back of the circle should be the most relaxed and focused part of the throw. The more relaxed you are out of the back, the better your chances of turning up the intensity essential to achieve a great throw with a proper finish out of the front. Disc heads dismissed!!
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

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