Track and Field is a great sport that you can compete in your entire life with organizations, such as USA Track and Field, hosting meets for youth, open, and masters athletes. The field events, particularly the throwing events, are great for people to get involved in because the competitions are exciting, and it is easy to track your progress. Also, there can be some down time during competition and practice which creates a social aspect not seen in other events or sports. All these factors make for a fun and social atmosphere focused on progress. If you don’t believe me watch this short video of the 2000 Olympic trials shot put.
The throwing events may seem complicated and made for giants, but don’t be intimidated. You don’t need to know everything, and you definitely don’t have to be a giant to get started in throwing. My grandfather, who was a collegiate thrower and high school coach for 30+ years, always told me “your body is not as stupid as you are.” This was a way of telling me to stop overthinking or getting bogged down in the details. He would go on to explain the quote saying, “If you try to do anything enough, your body will figure out a way to do it.”
When it comes to throwing there are some aspects, such as keeping your elbow behind the shot and putting, that are universally accepted as the best way to complete the throw. However, there are various ways to end up in this position, and you have to figure out what works best for you. This idea is where the name of the website originates. Throwing is an experiment where you try different things and see what works.
I recommend that beginners watch YouTube videos of elite throwers competing, conceptualize the movement pattern, and then imitate what they have watched. Understand you can break the throw down into segments to practice such as a stand throw and half turn for the rotational shot put and discus. I will discuss how I coach the throws and how you can coach yourself in more detail in an article that will be released April 19, 2018
Before I move onto equipment and facilities needed to practice the throwing events, I want to note a few things about throwing.
- Throwing is an athletic event and requires a warm-up just like any other athletic event or competition.
- When you are just starting to throw, distance is not the most important aspect.
- Focus on your technique, and as you become more comfortable with your technique, you can slowly increase the intensity.
- If you are throwing with a group of people, never turn your back to the circle or runway and always pay attention when someone is throwing.
All you really need to start throwing is an implement (shot, discus, hammer, javelin, weight) and a place to throw. Most high schools and some colleges have throwing facilities that the public can access. Throwing shoes are a good investment and will save your regular shoes from tearing up, because they are not made for the demands of throwing. A hammer glove is highly recommended for anyone wanting to throw hammer because it will protect your hand from the metal handle. If you are right-handed, you will need a glove for your left hand.
This should be enough information for you to start throwing, but stay tuned for future articles on technique, workouts, and various other topics related to throwing.