The shot put and discus throw put the muscle in track and field, but technique also plays a vital role in achieving success in the events. A variety of drills can help you learn and perfect your technique.
Warm-Up Drills for Shot Put
The underhand toss, chest pass, and wrist-flip drills help warm up and prepare your body for the motions of shot put. To perform the underhand toss, stand on the toe board facing the field, hold the shot with both hands in front of your body, bend your knees, and drive the shot up and out with your legs and arms. This drill works on using your entire body to launch the shot.
The chest pass should also be done facing the field. Hold the shot with both hands at chest level, and push the shot up and out, working on your arm extension. Wrist flips work on the final step of the throw, and can help you add an extra foot or two of distance if done correctly. Hold the shot with your throwing hand against your neck. While facing the field, use your wrist to flick the shot out from your neck.
Warm-Up Drills for Discus
Standing releases and bowling the discus help with your release. When you release the discus correctly, it will fly flat, and travel farther. Standing releases work on your release into the air. Hold the discus with your fingertips, with your thumb resting on the flat part of the discus. Swing your arm up toward the sky, and release the discus from your index finger. Catch the discus, or let it fall back to the ground.
For the bowling drill, hold the discus as you did for the standing release. Taking a step with your opposite foot, bend at your waist and release the discus along the ground, letting it come off your index finger. The discus should travel in a straight line on its edge.
Putting a Medicine Ball For Height and Distance
Medicine balls are good tools for helping beginners learn shot-put technique. They are larger and easier to throw, and you can use a lighter weight if necessary. For this drill, hold the medicine ball the way you would a shot, lower yourself into a standing throw position, and project the ball up and out. The optimum release angle to achieve the farthest distance is 42 degrees. Use your entire body to project the ball. Extend your legs and use your back and chest muscles before extending your throwing arm. For added difficulty, try setting up a rope at 7 to 10 feet high for the ball to clear. Each time you clear the height, step back two paces.
Lead-Ups With a Hula Hoop
A hula hoop can be used in place of a discus for a beginner thrower to learn the footwork and arm motion of the throw, without the frustration of the release. Hold the hula hoop in your hand, with your arm extended. Step into your throw with the opposite foot, driving your legs, hips, and chest while swinging your arm around the body. Keep the arm slightly below your shoulder, and release the hoop in front of your body around eye level. To add difficulty, begin standing with your opposite side facing the field, and rotate on the balls of your feet as you swing your arm around to release the hoop.
The glide drill helps build confidence in the glide technique for throwing the shot. Start at the back of the circle in a crouched position, with your back to the field. Push off your left foot, and drive your right foot down and out toward the toe board. Simultaneously, rotate your feet so they are parallel with the toe board. Once you have mastered the action, start to rotate your hips toward the throwing field while keeping your shoulders square with the back of the circle.
South African Throw
The South African discus throw is a three-quarters throw that you can complete with either a discus or a hula hoop. Start facing the field, with your left foot in front of the right. Rotate on the left foot while stepping forward and around with your right foot until the heel is facing the field. Then step forward with your left foot so you are in the standing position of the previous drill. Swing your arm around and release the discus as before.
- "Fundamentals of Track and Field"; Gerry Carr; 1999