Throwing Events for College Coaches

Throwing is a very technical event. You can have throwers that are not that strong, yet have the technique down perfectly and throw further than the strongest thrower on your team. In order to avoid this you need to be able to teach each of your throwers in the most efficient ways so that they can learn every aspect to every throw. The keys to accomplishing this are repetition and drills. If you want an athlete to improve you cannot simply tell them to keep doing the same throw over and over again. Repeating improper technique only solidifies the improper technique in the athletes muscle memory. To combat this you need to break down each throw in multiple steps and really focus on every movement. “Sometimes you need to break it down, because throwing over and over is not always helpful,” says Olivia Osunkwo, sophomore thrower at Marquette University. By fixing just one small thing, like which foot their weight is on in the beginning, can add multiple feet and sometimes meters to a throw.

When new throwers come in it is safe to assume that their shot put and discus technique will be able to get them through the first year while you teach them the new events: hammer, weight throw, and javelin. However, no one’s technique is perfect and shot put and discus need to be worked on at a later time.

When working on weight throw your initial drills should involve footwork. The footwork is crucial to mastering the rest of the throw. This is because if your weight is over the wrong foot at any given time you can be thrown off to the point of falling over and obviously, you cannot complete your throat if you fall on the ground. To begin the throw your weight should be over your left foot and it should remain over your left as you go throw the rest of the steps. The tricky part is that when you are spinning the weight over your head and it spins past your right side you are tempted to pull your weight onto your right foot. This can lead to the rest of your throw being messed up because your right foot is the one that needs to be able to move through the throw and it cannot do this if there is weight pushing down on it. This goes for hammer as well since the two have the same steps.

As for javelin, it is also safe to start with the footwork. While it is not as complicated or hard to learn as hammer and weight, it is still a key part to the throw and where the momentum of the throw stems from. If you do not have the footwork down, there is no place for momentum to build and the thrower will end up having to generate all of the power of their throw from their arm, which will be significantly less than the power that can build up through the legs. Power is essential in any throw and sometimes the hardest part is to not break one’s momentum while throwing.

Here is an example of the javelin throw. You can see how the power moves up from the feet through the arm until it exits through the hand and pushes the javelin far. This is John Krzyszkowski, a senior thrower at Marquette University.