Luke Persichetti: A Beginner’s Guide to Weight Throwing

The weight throw is an American track and field event which first emerged as an indoor alternative to the hammer throw. Though it is not a part of any international events and there is formally no money in participation, the sport has an overwhelming draw for those with competitive spirits. With this in consideration, it’s no shock that many novice weight throwers enter the sport with an eagerness that overshadows the development of proper technique. Driven by the competitive nature of weight throwing, it’s common to jump in with little attention toward technical form or proper methods.

Luke Persichetti states that novice weight throwers focus exclusively on speed and velocity. They do everything in their power to accelerate the weight and achieve distance, frequently at the cost of their form and long-term potential.

Effective throw methods harness that enthusiasm and sheer force, while implementing techniques that minimize the room for error. Here are the key elements of proper weight throwing technique for beginners looking to refine their form and improve their throw.

Maintain Proper Posture

Posture is the foundation of an effective weight throwing technique. It is also what beginners struggle with most. Without understanding the physics of weight throwing, new athletes often sacrifice posture (either knowingly or unknowingly) in an attempt to distance the weight artificially. While there is no officially-recognized or enforced posture, a consideration of standard technical concepts will help beginning throwers find a position that benefits their performance.

When it comes to throwing posture, top experts recommend that beginners focus on keeping their hips underneath their shoulders. Novice throwers will often draw their hips backward, allowing their shoulders to come forward. This disrupts the axis of rotation and seriously hinders the strength of the throw. To create an effective axis of rotation, new throwers are advised to imagine a pole running through their left shoulder, left hip, and left heel.

Do Not Wind the Weight

According to Luke Persichetti, release velocity is the key to throwing distance, and an efficient throw is the key to increasing your release velocity. Doing so requires keeping the ball flat throughout the throw, which helps to maintain a constant axis of rotation. This makes for the most efficient throw possible.

While many athletes choose to wind the weight overhead, experts assert that it wastes energy which could otherwise be applied to the throw itself. Contrary to popular belief, a wind does not help a throw gain speed. In fact, the preliminary stages of the throw (such as the wind and the entry) should never focus on acceleration at all; this is the function of the turns.

Instead, the preliminary portion of the throw should be used to position the body effectively, preparing it to effectively accelerate the weight. In this sense, a superior alternative to winding the weight is to bump start or sling start, as it takes out the guesswork and inefficiency out of the throw’s preliminary stages.

Relax the Arms

During the course of the throw, it’s essential to keep the arms as relaxed as possible. Tensing of the arms handicaps the throw by masking important feedback and shortening the radius of the turns. 
 Alternatively, relaxing the arms elongates the distance between the weight and the athlete, creating an increase in radius. This increase helps the weight to achieve a higher velocity and travel comparatively further. It also aids in overall balance.

Luke Persichetti’s Final Thoughts

While many beginning weight throwers are inclined to over-focus on the finish, the truth is that attention is best placed on the entry, turns, and implementation of foundational concepts. Athletes will find that an effective finish will happen naturally when implementing effective technique.

Lastly, it’s recommended that beginners pace themselves in mastering their approach. Remember that improvement doesn’t happen overnight; it takes dedication and practice.