The discus throw looks mysterious and impressive on television, as athletes spin in circles to launch the discus long distances. Although discus throwing is challenging, like any other sport, it is broken down into a series of steps. Many beginning discus throwers waste energy, ultimately sacrificing distance, because they misunderstand the best ways of performing each step.
An excellent discus throw begins with a proper hold on the discus. A women’s regulation discus weighs 1 kilogram, or just more than 2 pounds. A men’s discus weighs 2 kilograms, or nearly 4.5 pounds. Support the discus in your non-throwing hand and place the palm of your throwing hand across it. Spread your fingers evenly across the discus, but avoid unnatural stretching. If it feels more comfortable, keep your index and middle fingers together, spreading only the others. Bend your fingers around the edge, allowing the discus to rest on your first knuckles. Avoid the temptation to squeeze the discus.
Eliminating Extra Movements
Many discus throwers add extra movements to the rotation phase of the throw. Additional spins, unnecessary arm movements and fast dance-style steps are common errors. Sometimes these extra movements are due to bad training, but they are often the result of superstition. If you have a particularly excellent throw, it is natural to try to replicate it. Unfortunately, it you happened to swing your arms several times or even tug at your shorts right before that throw, you may be inclined to consider those movements as part of what led to your success. The reality is that the great throw happened in spite of, not because of, those extra maneuvers. Getting rid of them will likely make your great throw that much better.
Many coaches use the word “spin” to describe the rotation phase of a discus throw. As Rhode Island-based Primal Athlete Training Center coach Matthew Ellis points out, however, many beginners develop mental images of figure skaters spinning across the ice. Instead of thinking of your rotation as a spin, try thinking of it as a drive toward your final throwing position. Direct your energy into the throw rather than into your rotation.
Practice is the key to improving in any sport, including the discus throw. Rather than trying to put an entire throw together at once, break the process into individual steps and practice each step until it feels natural. Standing throws, bowling drills and flip drills allow you to focus solely on the release without worrying about the windup. Wheel drills and balance drills allow you to pay attention to footwork and body positioning without the actual throw. If you want to throw competitively, find a good coach as soon as possible. He will assess your current technique and suggest targeted training exercises that focus on your needs.
Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer specializing in disabled adventure travel. She spent 15 years working for Central Florida theme parks and frequently travels with her disabled father. Fritscher's work can be found in both print and online mediums, including VisualTravelTours.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Florida.