Discus Training Progression
by Rob Lasorsa, M-F Athletic, USATF Shot Put Development Chairman
A. The Grip
The fingers should be evenly spread and the last joints of the fingers should be placed on the rim of the discus.
The thumb should be placed on top of the discus for control. Some throwers prefer to put the middle finger and the index finger closer together while the other fingers stay evenly spread. In any case, the discus should never be "grabbed."
1. Swinging the throwing arm while keeping the discus flat:
This will teach the thrower to have "confidence" in the fact that the discus will not fall out of the hand while turning.
2. Bowling Drill:
This will teach the thrower to develop a proper release off the index finger.
3. Throw for Height Drill:
This will further develop proper release and begin to teach the thrower to "react" from the ground on up.
4. Seated Throw
B. Learning the Power Position
Starting from the front of the discus circle, the thrower should step back with the rear foot so that the thrower has a stance, which is slightly wider than shoulder width.
The rear foot should be placed approximately at a 45 degree angle while the front foot is pointed directly to the back of the ring.
The thrower then moves his weight over a flexed rear leg while the upper body is turning towards the back of the circle.
The front leg is slightly flexed and the discus should remain "flat" to the ground.
The free arm should stay extended and the chin should be aligned with the mid-chest (sternum) line.
1. "Gene Kelley" Dance Step Drill
C. Standing Throw
From the power position the thrower should initiate the movement by beginning to extend the rear leg while the rear foot is inwardly rotating.
After this happens the thrower will start unwinding with the upper body.
The shoulders should stay level and the non-throwing arm should stay extended.
As the weight shifts towards the front, the front foot should be slightly turning outwardly and the heel should be coming toward the ground so that the whole foot will be on the ground upon release.
When the legs are fully extended, the thrower begins the "arm strike" by pulling the throwing arm out and across the chest.
At this time the non-throwing hand should be allowed to come towards the non-throwing shoulder.
Upon release, both feet should remain in contact with the ground and the thrower's weight should be over the extended front leg.
D. Learning Movement Across the Ring
180 degree turn from the step-across position
Emphasis should be on the following points:
"Wait for the circle to meet you" in the middle of the ring.
Do not bend at the waist.
Foot being placed in the middle of the circle should be inwardly rotating towards the rear.
Keep discus arm up.
The "block" leg should head in a straight line to the front of the circle.
The head should stay in a stationary position and not "lead" the turn.
E. Learning the Full Turn
1. Proper position at the rear of the circle:
The thrower should assume a position at the rear of the circle facing in a direction which is opposite of the throwing direction, with the feet slightly wider than shoulder width. The knees should be slightly flexed, the back should be straight, and the eyes are focused straight ahead to keep the head up. From this position the athlete initiates the action by shifting the weight from the left leg to the right leg (for a right handed thrower), as the shoulders are turning and the discus is being swept around towards the front of the circle (the shoulders are turning in a clockwise direction). The Non-throwing arm is extended and moves in the same pattern as the non-throwing shoulder moves.
2. Transition Phase:
From the position described directly above, the thrower begins to shift the weight from the right leg to the left leg. As this is occurring, the left foot is turning outwardly and the left knee is driving down. The upper body should be slightly unwinding, but the left arm should not be going past the left leg. The back stays straight and the discus arm stays parallel to the ground. The weight continues to shift until the thrower is totally balanced over a flexed left leg.
3. Transition to movement across the ring:
a. Three step sequence and throw drill (without discus)
b. Two step sequence and throw drill (without discus)
c. Continually pivoting and throw drill (without discus and with discus)
d. Executing the "jump" turn
(i) From step-across position
(ii) From full turn position
F. Turning Drills
1. 180 degree turn:
To learn to properly transfer weight during the transition phase.
2. 360 degree turn:
To develop proper balance over the turning axis at the rear of the circle.
3. 360 degree turn into a full throw:
To further develop proper balances in the rear of the circle and proper execution of the transition phase into the "jump" turn.