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Throwing training



Teaching Progressions for Beginning Shot Put Part II

Source: www.coacheseducation.com
By Don Babbitt
University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Date: Feb, 2001


Part I of this two-part article illustrated a five-step teaching progression that taught beginning throwers how to standthrow. Once a thrower is able to standthrow and feel comfortable with the motion, he is able to advance to either the glide or the rotational technique. Part II of this article will cover teaching progressions for both techniques, beginning with the glide technique. All descriptions of technique will be for the right-handed thrower.


THE GLIDE TECHNIQUE

The first step in teaching the glide technique is to have the thrower perform the A-drill. To begin this drill, the thrower stands straight up, with his hands on his hips, in the back of the ring. From this position, the thrower slides his left foot backwards along the ground toward the toeboard. While the left foot is reaching back for the toeboard, it is facing out the back of the shot ring. After the left foot is extended backwards about 4-6 feet, the thrower should stop reaching with the foot and stop all movement. At this point the thrower should be in a "split" position across the center of the shot ring, with his hands on his hips, and his upper body and head facing toward the back of the ring. In addition, his right toe should be lifted up so only the right heel is in contact with the ground. This is the first half of the drill.

Once the thrower has achieved the "split" position, he pulls his right foot in underneath him so that it is in the same position that it would be when performing a standthrow. Be careful to note that the thrower has turned his right foot so that it is pointing out the side of the ring at this point. This finishing position should see the thrower have almost all of his weight balanced over the ball of the right foot. When the beginning thrower first performs this drill, he should perform it in two distinct parts as just described. When he starts to get the hand of the drill, he can gradually speed up the two parts so that the A-drill becomes one complete movement. When this movement is achieved, the thrower should be ready to attempt a full throw with an implement.

would like to suggest a couple of drills that can be used to teach the various aspects of the glide technique. The first one is called the standthrow from a stretch. This drill is designed to emphasize the quick push off the right leg from the standthrow position after it is recovered underneath the body following the glide across the ring. The thrower begins the drill by starting in the standthrow position with a base that is roughly 12 feet wider than his normal stance. From this position, the thrower pulls his right leg underneath his body into his normal normal standthrow base. As soon as the right leg is recovered, the thrower performs a standthrow with as little delay on the right foot as possible. The primary emphasis of this drill is to recover and react the right leg as quickly as possible.

The second drill that can aid in teaching the glide technique is called the glide and stop. This drill basically splits the full throw into two separate parts. The thrower begins the drill in the same way that he begins a full throw. The only difference is that after he glides across the ring, he stops in the standthrow position. At this point, the coach can take a look at the thrower and see if he is in the proper position to perform a good throw. This drill essentially asks the thrower to freeze himself in the middle of the throw. When the coach has finished looking to make sure his thrower is in the proper position (usually after a couple of seconds), he can tell the thrower to finish the throw by either saying "go" or clapping his hands. This drill is designed to let the coach assess how well his thrower is "hitting" his positions after he glides across the ring. The one thing that this drill does not do is work on a quick transition from the glide to the actual throw. Because of this, the coach should make sure that the athlete does not get too used to stopping in the middle of the ring when he isn't working on this specific drill.

THE ROTATIONAL TECHNIQUE

TEACHING PROGRESSIONS FOR BEGINNING SHOT-PUT PART II Article By: Don Babbitt University of Georgia, Athens, GA Part I of this two-part article illustrated a five-step teaching progression that taught beginning throwers how to standthrow. Once a thrower is able to standthrow and feel comfortable with the motion, he is able to advance to either the glide or the rotational technique. Part II of this article will cover teaching progressions for both techniques, beginning with the glide technique. All descriptions of technique will be for the right-handed thrower. THE GLIDE TECHNIQUE The first step in teaching the glide technique is to have the thrower perform the A-drill. To begin this drill, the thrower stands straight up, with his hands on his hips, in the back of the ring. From this position, the thrower slides his left foot backwards along the ground toward the toeboard. While the left foot is reaching back for the toeboard, it is facing out the back of the shot ring. After the left foot is extended backwards about 4-6 feet, the thrower should stop reaching with the foot and stop all movement. At this point the thrower should be in a "split" position across the center of the shot ring, with his hands on his hips, and his upper body and head facing toward the back of the ring. In addition, his right toe should be lifted up so only the right heel is in contact with the ground. This is the first half of the drill. Once the thrower has achieved the "split" position, he pulls his right foot in underneath him so that it is in the same position that it would be when performing a standthrow. Be careful to note that the thrower has turned his right foot so that it is pointing out the side of the ring at this point. This finishing position should see the thrower have almost all of his weight balanced over the ball of the right foot. When the beginning thrower first performs this drill, he should perform it in two distinct parts as just described. When he starts to get the hand of the drill, he can gradually speed up the two parts so that the A-drill becomes one complete movement. When this movement is achieved, the thrower should be ready to attempt a full throw with an implement. I would like to suggest a couple of drills that can be used to teach the various aspects of the glide technique. The first one is called the standthrow from a stretch. This drill is designed to emphasize the quick push off the right leg from the standthrow position after it is recovered underneath the body following the glide across the ring. The thrower begins the drill by starting in the standthrow position with a base that is roughly 12 feet wider than his normal stance. From this position, the thrower pulls his right leg underneath his body into his normal normal standthrow base. As soon as the right leg is recovered, the thrower performs a standthrow with as little delay on the right foot as possible. The primary emphasis of this drill is to recover and react the right leg as quickly as possible. The second drill that can aid in teaching the glide technique is called the glide and stop. This drill basically splits the full throw into two separate parts. The thrower begins the drill in the same way that he begins a full throw. The only difference is that after he glides across the ring, he stops in the standthrow position. At this point, the coach can take a look at the thrower and see if he is in the proper position to perform a good throw. This drill essentially asks the thrower to freeze himself in the middle of the throw. When the coach has finished looking to make sure his thrower is in the proper position (usually after a couple of seconds), he can tell the thrower to finish the throw by either saying "go" or clapping his hands. This drill is designed to let the coach assess how well his thrower is "hitting" his positions after he glides across the ring. The one thing that this drill does not do is work on a quick transition from the glide to the actual throw. Because of this, the coach should make sure that the athlete does not get too used to stopping in the middle of the ring when he isn't working on this specific drill. THE ROTATIONAL TECHNIQUE The basics of the rotational technique can be taught once the beginning thrower can perform a standthrow. The first drill that can be introduced is the half-turn or 180-degree turn drill. This drill teaches the thrower how to pivot on the right foot in the middle of the ring. The thrower can actually begin this drill without the shot so he can focus his concentration on the pivoting action of the right foot and the turning of his body. The thrower should start this drill with his right foot placed in the center of the ring with almost all of his weight bearing down on the ball of his right foot. The right leg should be bent as it is at the beginning of a standthrow. In fact, the whole body should be lined up in a position that is similar to that at the beginning of a standthrow except that the thrower is lined up to throw out the back of the ring. It is also suggested that when the thrower is performing this drill without the shot, he should have his hands on his hips to minimize the use of the upper body to gain rotational momentum.

Once the thrower is comfortable with the starting position for this drill, he begins by rotating his right hip, knee, and foot in unison to cause his body to start rotating around. The body of the thrower will be balanced over the ball of the right foot, which will be pivoting or turning as the body turns 180 degrees. At no time should the heel of the right foot touch the ground. During this time, the left leg will be pulled close to the right leg, causing the knees to almost touch together in an effort to increase the speed of the body's rotation. As the thrower is finishing his 180-degree turn, he shoots the left leg out into a straightened-out position that is similar to that seen at the beginning of a standthrow. At the end of the 180-degree turn, the coach should take note to see that the thrower has maintained the following positions:

- The feet are in a heel-toe alignment
- The thrower's back is facing the throwing sector and his chest is facing toward the back of the ring.
- The thrower's weight is balanced over the ball of the right foot (i.e. pivot foot).
- The right leg is bent and the left leg is almost straight, while slightly flexed. The thrower should be in a position to deliver a solid standthrow.

Once the thrower has mastered these positions following a 180-degree turn, he can advance to a series of half-turns to solidify his right foot pivot. The next step is for the thrower to perform this drill with the shot placed under the jaw. The final step is to perform this drill with a release at the end. It is important for the coach to emphasize the smooth transition from the half-turn to the throw. The thrower should not stop or stall after the half-turn before going into a release. The coach should also watch to make sure that the thrower does not initiate the half-turn with the upper body--the most common mistake made by beginners during this drill.

Once the half-turn has been mastered, the beginning thrower can go on to the step-in. This drill begins with the thrower standing at the back of the ring with the ball of the left foot placed inside the back edge of the ring. As with the half-turn, the thrower should start this drill without the shot and with his hands on his hips to minimize the use of the upper body to gain momentum. To begin this drill, the thrower steps with his right foot into the center of the shot ring and settles his weight down onto the ball of the right foot. At this point, the thrower should be in a position similar to the starting position for the half-turn drill. The thrower proceeds to perform the half-turn and throw. As the different parts of the step-in drill become more comfortable, they can be molded into one complete movement with no pauses between positions. It is essential that the coach makes sure that the heel of the right foot never touches the ground once the full step-in drill has begun. The emphasis of this drill should be the continued pivot of the right foot. It is also important that the coach makes sure that the thrower is stepping down on the pivot foot and that the thrower initiates the 180-degree turn by pivoting the right foot. The general rule of thumb is that you pivot to get into position to throw and not to pivot as a reaction to the throw.

The next drill that follows the step-in is the South-African drill. This drill begins just like the step-in except that the thrower drives his right leg into the middle of the ring as he pushes off with the left leg to generate power out of the back. This is an excellent drill to teach the thrower how to drive across the ring using leg drive from both the right and left legs. With this drill it is important that the coach is careful to make sure that the beginning thrower does not initiate the start of the throw with the upper body, which is the tendency of a lot of beginners. The coach will also want to check for the following things:

- The thrower keeps the upper body relaxed as he leads with the right leg into the center of the ring.
- The thrower pushes off with the left leg out the back of the ring as his chest is facing the right sector line. At the same time, he sweeps his right leg outward and across his body as it's driven toward the center of the shot ring. These points are extremely important to remember to make sure that the thrower does not over rotate out the back of the ring. Many throwers mistakenly wait until they are lined up and facing toward the center of the ring before they drive toward the front of the ring. When this occurs, the sweeping action of the right leg causes them to land about 12 feet to the left of where they were trying to drive. This results in over rotation. This is why the thrower should drive down the right sector line, to compensate for the sweeping action of the right leg which will cause him to land in the center of the ring.
- The thrower should land in a balanced position on the ball of his right foot near the center of the shot ring.
- The thrower should always be on the balls of the feet during the throw.

Once the thrower is able to perform the South-African drill, he is ready to attempt a full throw. Before attempting a full throw, there is one drill that can be used to introduce the turn out of the back of the ring. This is the 360-degree turn drill. As with the 180-degree turn drill, the thrower can perform this drill without the shot, and his hands on his hips in an effort to eliminate the upper body from initiating the turning movement. This drill begins with the thrower standing almost straight up while having all his weight balanced on the ball of the left foot. The feet will be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with the left leg flexed while the right leg is only slightly bent. From this position the thrower pivots in a complete circle on the ball of the left foot and comes to a stop in the original starting position. The coach should pay careful attention to the fact that the right leg should stay wide as the turn is being performed. Many beginning throwers pull the ankles together in an attempt to gain more rotational speed. This should be discouraged since it will not allow the thrower to turn out the back of the ring during a full throw.

When the thrower is able to perform a complete 360-degree turn without much effort, he can attempt a full throw. To begin, the thrower lines up at the back of the ring with his feet on either side of the center portion of the back of the ring. This position is exactly like the starting position for the beginning of the 360-degree turn drill except that the thrower holds the shot under the jaw. When the thrower starts the throw, his weight should be equally distributed over both the right and left legs as he performs a small windup with his upper body to gain a little momentum to start the throw. As the thrower starts to come out of his windup and turns out of the back of the ring, he should shift all his weight over the left foot so he can pivot on the ball of the left foot. This allows him to turn easily out of the back of the ring. Once the thrower has shifted all his weight to the left foot and is beginning to initiate the turn, he should sweep his right foot out away from the ring, making a wide circular sweep. When the thrower has turned 90 degrees out the back of the ring, he will find that he is in the starting position for the South-African drill. At this point, he should complete the rest of the throw in the same way that he performed the South-African drill.

One of the hardest things for a beginning thrower to get used to is having a balanced turn out the back of the ring. It is critical that the coach makes sure that his throwers do not initiate the turn out of the back with the upper body, and that they use a driving left leg and sweeping right leg to generate the impulse to get them across the ring. The upper body should be relaxed during the whole rotational process until the delivery phase of the throw.

GLIDE VS. ROTATION

Both the glide and rotational techniques have their merits and their drawbacks. The glide technique is probably a little easier to teach and to perform for the majority of athletes. I think it is a good starting technique for all shot-putters, even if they know they are eventually going to want to be spinners. In teaching throwers, I think that it is essential that they hit the proper power position and that they develop the proper release positions. For this reason, the glide technique, in my opinion, allows the beginner to achieve these positions with greater ease. Once these proper positions become established, the thrower can advance to the rotational technique. I feel it is much more difficult for a thrower to hit a good finish using the rotational technique, since it requires more intricate timing than the glide technique.

The question as to what type of technique each individual thrower should perform has been raised many times. The answer to this question is basically: it depends on the thrower. Gliders generally appear to be the taller and more rangy type of thrower, while the spinners tend to be a little shorter and compact. It is sometimes hard for the larger throwers to turn in such a small space as a shot ring, so they choose the glide technique. The rotational technique, on the other hand, is usually used by smaller throwers who are trying to use rotational speed to compensate for short levers. There are exceptions in each case. Randy Barnes and Augie Wolf are examples of tall throwers who spin. Mike Spiritoso (68-3.5) of Canada was a shorter thrower who glided. The bottom line, though, is use what works best.

SETTING UP TRAINING

The amount of throwing that a thrower does per week will be a function of how much time can be dedicated to throwing practice and how many throwers are participating in a throwing session. In a normal throwing session lasting one hour, a group of 8 to 10 throwers will only be able to take 15-18 throws each. Ideally, your throwers should take anywhere from 20-35 throws each.

As far as setting up a throwing workout, it depends on how much time has been set aside for throwing. A lot can be accomplished by throwing three times a week. This includes throwing in meets as a throwing session. The actual types of throwing and drilling that is performed each day will also vary, depending on what type of throwers you have. It is possible to have ten different throwers doing ten different things during a workout. Some throwers may be working on how to release the shot, while others may be working out their timing on a full throw. This is very difficult to coach. The coach should try to avoid having all his throwers do the same thing on a given day, since this does not take into consideration the individual differences and skill levels of each thrower. This may be convenient for the coach, but it does a disservice to the throwers who are working on skills that they have already mastered or who are trying to perform a technique that is beyond their capability.

The following is a typical throwing workout schedule for an intermediate thrower (who spins) during the competitive season with a meet scheduled on Thursday:

Monday: 7 standthrows, 5 half-turns, 10 step-ins (to work on the right foot pivot), 5 full throws. 27 throws total.

Tuesday: No throwing; just conditioning.

Wednesday: 5 standthrows (easy), 3 half-turns (easy), 3 South-Africans (easy), 5 full throws (easy). Easy workout, concentrating on a smooth flow from position to position to get ready for the meet. 16 throws total.

Thursday: Competition.

Friday: Same workout as Monday; still concentrating on the right foot pivot in the middle of the ring.



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