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Discus Drills by England Throws Camp

Discus Drills by England Throws Camp

Our coaching partner England Throws Camp has developed a programme of drills for discus throwers. These are specific drills for athletes who want to to improve their technique - the next level up from the general fitness and strength training in the garden grind. Use your time wisely during lock-down and after. 

This is the first in a series which will cover the full range of throw events.

Discus Drills - set of 8

1:  The Start

Why Do it?

This drill is very useful to help the athlete establish the trigger movements at the beginning of the turn that will enable the throw to have the best possible start.

Coaching Tips

  • Push the centre of mass over the left leg in order to help the entry of the circle and prevent the athlete ending up in the bucket.
  • Push the right knee to the rear of the circle.  This will help the right leg get off early in the turn, lead the movement and have a better chance of achieving a dorsi-flexed foot position in the sweep.
  • Keep the body neutral and head up so that the body-weight can be controlled and the athlete can enable a rotation around the central axis in later parts of the turn.
  • Keep the left arm inside the left knee and the right arm behind the hip.

 

2:  Contralateral Stretch

Why Do it?

This drill provides an extension of the previous exercise by adding load.  It develops the cross body sling muscle processes that are incredibly important in discus throwing. It should be done for both left and right sides.

Coaching Tips

  • Left arm should be around shoulder height preferably level.
  • Left arm should not travel to the rear and should stop level with the plane of the back.
  • Weight should be transferred to the left side of the body and the left knee should compress.
  • The body should remain neutral and upright with no hinging at the hips.

 

3: Pivot

Why Do it?

This drill helps the athlete appreciate the positions, movement flow and weight distribution required to make the middle of the turn efficient, powerful and sufficient to set up a good final phase of the throw.

Coaching Tips

  • Weight should predominantly be over the right leg in the middle of the circle and should remain on this leg as long as possible.
  • Body should be neutral and should not hinge and tip over.
  • The legs should dominate the movement with a rapid transition of the left leg to the front of the circle and into the power position.
  • The right foot needs to turn and remain active as early as possible in the movement.
  • Be careful not to “blow out” the left arm and throw it away during the exercise and over-rotate the body. The left arm should not dominate the exercise.

 

4: Hide the Discus

Why Do it?

This drill helps the athlete understand the feel and positional tension required to maintain separation during the turn, keep a neutral body position and also maintain weight distribution on the right leg in the middle of the turn. 

Coaching Tips

  • The discus should be positioned behind the right hip during the drill and kept in that position throughout the throw to enable shoulder separation.
  • The discus should remain as horizontal as possible throughout the drill.  If it dips or twists this is usually an indication of lapse of the neutral body position in the movement,
  • The drill emphasises the use of the legs.  They are the leading element and thus should not be lead by the upper body or head during the drill.

 

5: The Stretch

 Why Do it?

This drill is aimed at helping the athlete adopt a neutral body position and also help them create a good thoracic posture.  The band forces the athlete to engage their back muscles in order to create tension in the band and this supports a strong thoracic position.

Coaching Tips

  • The band should be kept under tension at all times. 
  • Don’t let the left arm dominate the movement and “throw” away out of the back of the circle.
  • Concentrate on keeping the right hand behind the hip at all times with the band under tension.
  • Emphasis is on moving the legs and feet as the movement initiators and dominant elements of the drill.

 

6: Finish with your legs

Why Do it?

A lot of athletes overemphasise the arms in the finish and neglect the impact their legs can have.  This drill isolates the legs and helps them appreciate the movement needed to capture the full benefit from their largest muscle groups.

Coaching Tips

  • Hands should remain on hips at all times to isolate the legs.
  • The line of the hips should rise sharply in the movement as the athlete demonstrates a full triple extension of their legs.
  • The movement should be as crisp and sharp.
  • Ideally there should be a slight bend in the left leg and the left heel should be on the floor ( the athlete does not manage to achieve this in this video example).

7: Dumbbell Swing

Why Do it?

This drill helps the athlete develop some key power at the initial pull phase of the discus delivery.  It is important not to do this without a corresponding volume of exercise that emphasises the final portion of the delivery or the “slap”.

Coaching Tips

  • Sequence the throw correctly. Legs before torso before arms.
  • The right foot should turn and be snappy.
  • The left heel should be placed on the floor to allow power transfer.
  • The left knee should be slight bent to allow the body-weight to get over the leg on delivery.
  • Chest should be pointing to the sky on delivery to provide a good thoracic position.
  • Right foot should be pointed down the middle or left of the imaginary sector in order to ensure the hip is fully engaged.
  • Don’t go too heavy on the weight. 2x competition weight should be good.

 

8: The Towel

Why Do it?

The most critical element of the throw is the final part of the delivery and releasing the discus at the highest possible speed.  This drill helps the athlete develop the final “slap” of the discus and finish the throw with the discus leaving their hand at the highest possible velocity.

Coaching Tips

  • The towel should slap the athlete on the back between the shoulder blades. This ensures the finish is strong.
  • The chest of the athlete should be pointing to the sky.
  • The left arm should activate early and then brace hard to create stretch across the chest and then a solid pivot upon which to throw the left arm.
  • The athletes head should be neutral and looking up.

 

Competition

In May 2020 we will run a competition for the best examples of these drills with Nelco discus prizes up for grabs for the top drill videos.  Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information.

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