Friday, July 31, 2009

Which Discus Should I use?



A kid in the candy store is an expression that has always brought out the imaginary child out of all of us. The thrill of having all the choices of sweets you want makes you jittery with delight and anticipation as your mouth waters. You dip your hand in several jars and stuff your face with as much candy as you can and before you know it, you are sick to your stomach. Choosing a discus can be similar to this, except for the edibility aspect.
I remember the times when my coach would tell me to choose which new discus equipment to buy out of a brochure. With all the pretty colors, the choices became difficult. Should I choose the 85 percent rim weight or the 90? The Hollowood or the Denfi. The OTE or the Gill. The choices are so numerous but being that I am no longer a Kid and discus equipment is not as affordable as candy, I have to be very careful with my choices. Today we will discus what every discus thrower should know before choosing a discus and why.
Some athletes and even coaches assume that the type of discus thrown is arbitrary. Many fail to consider the rim weight, the balance, the feel, the rim type, the width and the material. Failure to understand the importance of choosing the proper implement can result in shorter throws.
When choosing a discus, the following are the most important details that must be touched upon, they include:
Brand
  • By far, in my opinion the best discus made today are done by Denfi, Gill (Hollowood), OTE, and pacer. My favorite has to be Denfi because they have a line up that is second to none. I can use all of the products on their line without a problem because I know they are all crafted with superior quality. You should stay away from cheap discus because they are bound to break or be bent out of shape easily. I have used a denfi ultimate spin discus for several years without any complaints. It is the top of many top throwers (It broke the world record) . Take a look at it below :

*CHROMED RIM.




*CARBONATE PLATES.




*RIM WEIGHT IS AROUND 85-88%.



*SPIN RATE ON REALEASE IS 10-16 REV.PER SECOND

*DESIGNED FOR 0 WIND AND HEADWIND.


*ALSO EXCELLENT I TAIL WIND.



*5-8% LONGER THROWS COMPARED TO OTHER DISCS.



Rim Weight
  • As you can observe above 85 percent rim weight is a safe range for advanced throwers. I must advice that beginners stay away from rim weights in the 80's until their technique gets good. I even know of some advanced throwers that still prefer 70 percent rim weight. A problem most beginners have is their inability to spin the discus properly. Remember that the faster the discus spins the better it rides in the air. Using rubber discs or dummy discs as I like to call them are a good way to begin because the rim weight is very low, which means it will spin well for beginners.
Tactility
  • A properly made discus sticks to your fingers like sandpaper. A lot of the cheaper discus made are made with rims that are hard to feel and grip, especially on bad weather days. A discus that does well to stick to the fingers in any weather is very important for training in bad weather conditions and throwing far in bad weather. Everybody has a different feel for what is tactile to their fingers but aluminum rims are usually the worst for grip in my opinion. Denfi Uses chrome which is a better feel in my opinion.
Personalization
  • After you've selected a discus, have fun with your discs. What I sometimes do is make some designs on my discus; put a mark I'm trying to reach on it; even name it. When you personalize your discus you build a connection with it which could help you throw farther haha. I remember sometimes I would speak to my discus as if it were real and tell it to do its job and fly.
Choosing the proper discus is not rocket science but it is easy to fail to choose the proper one. Also, remember to practice with the same rim weight you use in competition because it helps with consistency. If you throw an 80 percent in practice and then throw a 70 in competition, you are bound for disaster. Discus heads dismissed!


Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

I Told YOU I'LL be BACK



I'm back from Nigeria and boy am I pooped. International traveling is not for the meek and eventually breaks down the strong. Imagine sitting in those cramped economy airline seats for 8 hours while sitting next to a stranger who smells like he went to the bathroom on himself. I prayed to the almighty to save me from the smelly stranger but the only solstice I could gain was from my i pod and an occasional doze here and there.
Anyway, Nigeria was a good time! Nice people, good food and good teammates. I was one of a few other USA based Nigerian athletes that were invited to the meet. The meet took place at the national stadium situated in the capital, Abuja. The competition took place in center field and the stands were not packed. Our discus competition took place at 3pm on Saturday and I was still jet lagged. With only two fair throws and four fouls I was not at the top of my game. I ended up throwing only 56meters but with it I won with a landslide. My competition consisted of the biggest and strongest Nigeria had to offer but most lacked the technique to throw more than 50 meters. With this easy win I waved to the few family and spectators watching me in the stands and went home.
Its great to be back. I know you all missed me but please hold the kisses because its time for business.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last second but... I'm off to Nigeria

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I will be away to compete in Nigeria for a week but I will be back next week. If I get a chance to have some free time I will let you all know how it goes and maybe write a post. I will miss you all. Discus Heads dismissed!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Monday, July 20, 2009

We can all learn something from Werner Günthör

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I stumbled upon a training style that humbled me, I know I know, this man above is holding a shot put so please hold the insults and boos for later please. This is a rare look into the training of one of the most athletic and successful throwers to ever live. His training style in particular is something we can all learn from as discus throwers. Coaches, take notes. Athletes take notes and show them to your coaches because Werner Gunthor's training regiment is to be respected and replicated.
According to Wiki:
Werner Günthör (born June 1, 1961 in Uttwil) is a former Swiss track and Field athlete, who was the best shot putter in the history of Swiss track and field.
Günthör won three straight World Championships, 1987, 1991, and 1993, as well as one European Championship in 1986. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul he won the bronze medal.
His personal best throw, and Swiss record, was 22.75 metres, achieved in August 1988 in Bern. The 2.00 meter tall natural athlete also competed in the bobsled (Which means he is athletic and did a lot of sprint work also). He trained to be a sanitation installer but later completed study in sports and works today as a sport teacher and track and field coach. He is married and lives in Biel.

Now take a look at some of his training. I propose you watch it from top to bottom on the You tube video bar on the top right of the site because it has 4 parts, enjoy. (It is in a foreign language but you will get the gist of it all)

After I watched this video I realized that I needed to take my training to the next level like he is doing. Luckily a lot of the things he does, I do as well. The main difference I want you all to focus on is his intensity. Watch how he constantly focuses on explosive lifts and drills. As discus throwers, we can take a lot out of this video because everything in it can help us. Some of you might be thinking that this is a shot putters workout but I strongly believe that if Gunthor knew how to throw the discus he could be a 70 meter thrower based on his training and athletic ability. Open your minds to his style of training and I am sure it will bless your style greatly. Disc heads dismissed!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Need for speed

weight loss - high intensity exercise
Too many throwers complain about not being fast enough but when I ask them what their workout consists of they fail to mention a lot about sprinting. Our legs are what propel us in the circle when we throw. Shorter throwers like me who are deficient in wingspan need all the speed we can get out of our legs in order to produce enough momentum to launch the discus. Taller throwers can get a way with being slower due to their height and longer wingspans but as I just mentioned, shorter throwers thrive on it.
Watch the video of Asafa Powell below:

video

As you can see, the sprinting motion is very similar to the sprint to the middle of the circle. We can see how his left leg powerfully extends while the right leg hits the ground in quick succession. The amount of power generated from the sprint phase will drastically improve your chances of having enough momentum to unleash the discus at a high velocity. Interestingly enough the South African drill is a perfect drill for practicing the sprint portion of the throw from the back of the circle. We all know how to do it but not all of us do it well enough. Just hitting the positions is not good enough, you have to be explosive like a sprinter coming out of the blocks! Attacking the middle of the circle like Mac Wilkins does so well.
Apart from the frontal sprint, which is important for the first portion of the throw, the backward sprint is important for the second half of the throw. Remember that the discus technique is fundamentally a forward sprint, a spin then into a backward sprint. Working on the backward sprints is just as important, if not more important than the forwards because of the power position. The power position demands a good backward sprint ability because depending on how much explosion and force you can generate from the backward sprint, you will be able to push off the center of the circle more efficiently.
Doing both forward and backward sprints should be a regular part of our speed regiment. Don't ignore the importance of the sprint because it is where the power of your technique comes from. A day dedicated to the sprints during the off season will do wonders in increasing explosiveness and general athleticism. Do some sled pulls, do some stairs, do some hill runs (and backwards too) push a car or truck, just sprint!! Focusing on the weights is important but so is sprinting. Don't be lazy, get out there and do it.

let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Friday, July 17, 2009

All good things must come to an end

Join me and a few other Disc heads on deepthrows.com so we can discuss past posts in greater detail. My season is officially done and I am happy I can sit back and drink a cold one and catch up with some old friends. It was a great season and I look forward to coming back stronger next year. Disc heads dismissed!
P.S.
Posting will still continue!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Snatch it up

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I had a long conversation with Anthony Washington about the weight room and his thoughts about the most effective lift in the weight room. Here is what my pal had to say:
  • The hang snatch is the most important lift for the discus throw
    • Essentially, his reasoning was due to the fact that it mimics the discus technique the best. If you really break down the hang snatch, what about it makes Anthony insist that it is the best lift? Lets look at the pictures below:
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    • As you can see above, the "catching" phase of the snatch resembles the power position in the discus throw. Notice how the knees are slightly bent just like the snatch. Also, notice how the snatch ensures a tight core in order to support the weight, which is transferred to a strong and upright torso in the power position during a throw. Furthermore, the hang snatch, next to the hang clean, is one of the most explosive total body lifts which is always needed for building those fast twitch muscle fibers. Lastly, notice the hand positions and how closely they resemble the hand positions of a power position.
      • At the most basic level of dissection, in my opinion, the snatch reinforces good habits in the discus throw because of the muscle groups engaged in the snatch position. We should take not of this.
Although we talked about other lifts, Anthony insisted that this was the best bang for your buck lift and it gave results! Of course there are other lifts that need to be addressed in the weight room in order to ensure muscle balance and attain other levels of power not provided by the snatch but todays post should help us all take a closer look at why we should incorporate the snatch into our lifting more frequently. Peace love and discus.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! or email me at 0a4w@virginia.edu

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So you want to throw in college?

We have all heard about "hoop dreams" but how about "throwing dreams?" Well, today I will be talking about what it takes to get to the next level in throwing after high school so this will be short and sweet and I promise my next post will be back on track with the rest. The reason I'm talking about this today is because a friend of mine online wanted to know the answers to the following questions: if you could go back to high school, what would you do differently? What is/are the one or two most important things you would tell a high school kid who is a throwing enthusiast? I will answer these two questions after I offer some advice below.

High school was four years ago and I remember the uncertainty I felt when I was looking for the right University to attend in order to compete at the division one level. Before I got to this stage however a couple of things had to take place in order for me to be considered good enough to be recruited by any school. Here is a list of all I did:
  • I marketed myself and my skills to all the programs that appealed to me.
    • This was a joint effort between my coach and myself. Anything from calling schools to sending out tapes to them my junior year. It is important to do this because most University coaches usually only have numbers to work with so if you send them a video of you throwing, lifting or doing something athletic, the coach will be able to have an idea of how well they can develop your talent. Doing this will drastically increase your chances of getting a recruiting visit as well.
  • I responded to every questionnaire!
    • This might sound tedious but answering many college questionnaires drastically increases your chances of finding a coach that is willing to take a chance with you. Another tip is that if your personal best is not the greatest, you have a better chance of finding a coach that will respond to you by sending a questionnaire to all the schools you can.
  • I was patient.
    • This is the most important part. There is a lot of misconception that you have to know what school you will be going to by the beginning of your senior year. I waited till I hit my best marks late in my senior year season before I made a decision. This allowed me to prove to coaches that I was improving and in turn the offers for scholarship increased due to my patience. Be patient and good things will come.
Now that I have spilled the beans on tips about how to get recruited, I will now answer my friends question. (If you could go back to high school, what would you do differently?) If I could go back to high school the first thing I would have done would have been to perfect my technique and focused less on strength. I now know that technique is the most important and basic element that would have set me up for a nice transition to college. I had a tough time adjusting to the heavier 2K disc because my technique was sub par. Second, I would have worked harder at my second event, shot-put. If I had done so, I would have thrown a lot farther than I did, which would have increased the scholarship offers I would have received.
(What is/are the one or two most important things you would tell a high school kid who is a throwing enthusiast?) The most important thing is to understand that, throwing far takes time! It is a life long battle. Most discus throwers will never reach their peak until their mid to late twenties and some even peak later. Unlike most sports, throwing requires a level of technical precision that only time can fashion. Be patient and adamant, don't be in a rush to throw far. Rather, know that you will be great if you train hard and focus of improving you technique every year. Remember, discus throwing at the elite levels requires a few hairs on your chest.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hey Yemi! What do you bench and Squat?

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I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this question. When I give an answer, people are usually shocked because it is a number far from what they expect a 60 meter thrower to have. I believe that many of us assume that pushing serious weight in the weight room equals throwing far. This is debatable in many aspects and from my experience every coach has his/her own deep seated impression on what gets results.
Today I want to explain my philosophy on lifting weights and gaining strength as a discus thrower. I will talk about three spheres of strength that need to be attained in order to achieve the most extensive amount of general strength essential to throwing the discus. Here are the spheres:
  • Weight room strength. A lot of us are more than adequate in this range. In my opinion if you are benching more than 300 you are fine and anything more than 500, you should consider becoming a shot putter full time. For full squats, anything over 400 is more than enough, anything over 600 and you are in for a world of pain in your future.
    • I usually tell people that the more important of the two lifts is the squat because all the power comes from the legs. If you depend on your upper body (high bench press) to throw far, you are setting yourself up for many injuries due to poor technique.
    • The reason I don't feel bench should be too much over 500 is because there comes a point where you can actually be too powerful to throw the discus, yes you heard me right, you can become too powerful and in turn overpower the discus.
  • Athleticism. If i was a discus coach, I would rather have a athletically gifted athlete who is explosive in the sprints and agile than a hulk who is too strong to be athletic. The hulk might work in shot put sometimes but is the discus it might not be as succesful. This is because it takes natural athleticism rather than strength to throw the discus far. Take a look at Brian Clay:
http://nbcsportsmedia3.msnbc.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/040824/040824_clay_hlg_4p.h2.jpg
    • The reason why this 5'11" 174 lb decathlete can throw the discus over a 180' and throw the javelin over 220' is because he has good technique and is very athletic. At best I would give Brian a 350 lb bench and 500 lb full squat (correct me if I'm wrong). With this information, why do some coaches still push their athletes to increase their weight room max instead of telling them to go run a couple of laps and do some sprints more often? Bigger is definitely not better in the discus throw, rather it is the more athletic athlete that takes home the medal in the discus.
  • Throw technique specific strength. This is what makes European throwers leaps and bounds ahead with of U.S throwers today. Building technical strength requires repetition of good technique while adding an element of resistance in order to strengthen technical strength. This can be achieved with doing drills such as: discus drills with weight bar on back or holding dumbbells; medball throws with a focus on using the hips to throw the ball.
    • Throw specific strength is what I feel is the most important part of gaining actual throwing strength because it is the only one that targets throwing specific muscles and reinforces strong muscle memory. Trust me when I say that doing this more often, especially during the off season will do wonders for your throwing and overall athleticism.
We should not just focus on one area of the strength sphere because they are interdependent on each other. A fluent combination of all three spheres mentioned above will result in more athletic ability in combination with strength which results in a more powerful, explosive and balanced discus thrower.

If you disagree with me or have something to add let me know! leave a comment below or email me at oa4w@virginia.edu. "Discus heads dismissed!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Only if I was a little bit taller...

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Let's face it people, leverage is what makes a discus fly. Unfortunately not all throwers come into this world with the best levers. We are tall, short, slow, fast, coordinated, uncoordinated, the list goes on. Therefore in essence we all falter in one aspect of physical ability as far as being the optimal discus thrower. So what do we do? We work with what we have and try to improve what we lack.
If we look back in history at the best discus throwers of all time, what about them physically helped them achieve greatness? Lets watch this video:
video

As you can see, a majority of these individuals are Goliaths and only a few are David. Take a look at some of these statistics. Alekna is 6'6" 280lbs, Art Burns was 6'2" 297lbs, Kanter is 6'4" 270lbs, Delis was 6'1" 230lbs and Jurgen was 6'3" 260lbs. For a complete list of the dimensions of the 70 meter club members take a look at what my friends put together at team 75 plus.
With these numbers I can be assured that there is still a slight possibility of me hitting 70 meters in the future due to the dimensions of Louis Delis whose measurements are closest to mine.

Now that all theses numbers are out in the open, what can we learn from them? In my opinion this is what we should note:
  • The best discus throwers in the world are at least 6 foot tall but not over 6'6"
  • They weigh at least over 230lbs but not over 320lbs
Now, please don't get angry at me if i just bust your bubble but this is what the data shows. As the saying goes, "the numbers don't lie!"
Am I saying that you can't be a great discus thrower if you don't fit into this category? No, all I am saying is that the numbers are on your side if you fit in this category, which most of us do!
Don't loose hope if you are a five foot thrower or if you are a 6'9" giant. The numbers aren't on your size to throw over 70 meters but the high 60's are still well within your grasp. Thats it for it today. "Throw far and Prosper"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mac Attack

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When I think of Mac Wilkins or should I say Malcolm Maurice Wilkins, I think of one of the best technicians of discus throwing. Mac wasn't just good at the discus, Wilkins also had lifetime bests of 69' 1 1/4" in the shot put, 208' 10" in the hammer throw and 257' 4" in the javelin while at the University of Oregon. If these numbers didn't impress you I'm sure his discus performance did the trick with his all time best of 70.86m.
The reason I named this post Mac Attack is because of the Way Mac Wilkins attacks the circle. I have not seen another thrower do it as well as Mac. Mac as I mentioned earlier is a force of nature through the circle. He attacks the front of the circle with such ferocity that the discus has no choice but to obey his every command. A Houdini in the circle, a work of art, and a fierce competitor, Mac commands respect because he earned it.
I'm sure all you disc heads out there have watched Mac's slow motion clip and all gawked in amazement as he composed an impeccable symphony in the circle. He seems to make his own rules with every movement and derives a tremendous amount of force with each position he hits. This God Father of motion makes us all humble and jealous at the same time because of the ease of it all. Someday I hope to be as graceful as him. Someday I hope to be a work of art in motion.
Lets take a look at him in top form:

video
I know what you are thinking, this is amazing!! But the question is why? Before you read the rest of this post watch the video and try to answer the question in your mind. Well, here is what makes Mac so smooth in the circle in my opinion:
  • His attack of the front of the circle. I am amazed at how he can gather such an immense amount of force in the circle and contain it all in a one step reverse. Not many people can do that anymore. Its a dying art.
  • His balance. Is it me or does Mac just have the best body consciousness (a concept I will talk about in the future) I have ever seen. He knows what each part of his body is doing in the circle at all times during his spin.
  • His wonderful use of the right leg in the center. I don't know anybody who uses their right leg as well as Mac. Unlike most contemporary throwers who fail at doing this well (including myself) Mac makes this look effortless. Watch closely at how all the power in his right leg is transfered straight into his arm to create a nice whip which slings the discus out at a high speed. Remember that a fast initial speed of release of the discus plus proper angle of release is directly proportional to distance.
  • His patience out of the back of the circle. Mac does wonders with how low he gets when coming from the back and how he lets his right foot overtake the speed of his upper torso in order to create torque in the middle. Amazing!!!
This is truly one of my favorite video's to watch because it shows me how far away my technique is from being perfect. We need to take the initiative to to learn from one of the greatest throwers and take a bit of his technical precision and make it ours. We all have unique techniques because our bodies all move to a different tune. Lets pick the aspects of Macs technique to complement ours. "Learn from the best and someday you will be the best in your unique way."Mac is a unique individual both as a competitor and a technician. The Mac Attack is back!

Friday, July 10, 2009

57 Meters..... I could have done better but it was my best...




A big thanks to my buddy at Mac Throw Video. He got me this sequence from nationals 2009.

Today I want to talk about something I like to call "letting go." There have been many times in my career when I look back at a poor performance and feel the urge to cry out as loud as I can because the pain of not performing to my expectation overwhelms me. I remember this time in particular, it was my first year in college and I placed 6th in a competition that I needed to place at least 5th (East Regionals) in order to advance to the next level. I can still imagine the initial shock I felt after my last throw of disappointment and self condemnation. I wanted to be invisible at that moment because I knew that my season was finished due to a sub-par performance and I felt embarrassed because I knew people were probably thinking thoughts such as: "he could have done much better than that" or "he choked."
Looking back again, I wish I could have known what I know now. Rather than being self loathing, I would have accepted my fate and spun the situation around to make it into a motivation instead of a depression. A man once told me that "success is like grabbing a hand full of beach sand and watching almost all the sand escape though your fingers." What this man meant was that, only after failing a large majority of the time will we ever be able to grasp a few of those grains of sand.
My friends, we can learn a lot from this mans wisdom. We must accept that our best effort that day is our best effort for that day. Ask Alekna, ask Gerd, ask your parents or anybody in your life that is successful today how many times they have failed and you will be astonished. The old saying off "the early bird gets the worm" must be changed to "the most persistent bird gets the worm." True success is easy once you are there but very difficult while getting there.
In conclusion, don't and I repeat, don't loose sleep over a bad day of throwing. As long as you know that you did your best because success is just a short walk away. Keep at it, be persistent and don't let your ego get the best of you because if you do, you will never be truly successful.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Doing the Right Thing

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Take a close look at the two pictures above and think to yourself for a minute about what these two icons have in common. Really take a close look at what connects these two, apart from the apparent fact that they are both discus throwers. Now, I need you to put away whatever you have come up with and we will see if your ideas matched mine later in this post.
Before I delve into the details which connect these two characters I should give you a brush up on the ancient Greek methodology of throwing the discus so we can understand the history of the sport. According to my friends at Greek- thesaurus:
"The discus of antiquity usually was fashioned from metal, though a discus made of stone was permissible for competition. Each quoit-shaped discus was tapered from the center to the thin edges, which made it easy to grasp. The diskoi, studied in various museums, range in diameter from eight to eleven inches; in weight from five to twelve pounds. Apparently there was no official standard for the size or weight of the discus to be used in competition. Again, as with the halteres for jumping, the size and weight depended on individual preference of the contestant. His discus was made to his specifications, to suit his style and technique for throwing the greatest possible distance."
With this interesting premise on Greek discus throwing I will begin by breaking down my thoughts of what Discobolus is doing. As a discus thrower it is impossible to look at this sculpture by Myron and not criticize the posture of Discobolus. I'm sure some of you have already been scrutinizing his arched back, his head position pointing down and a number of other things I wont go into but I can empathize with you as to why you would initially see these faults. However, from the sculpture, it is clear that the discus looks tremendously heavy in comparison to the 2Kg discus we throw today. Discobolus would have have laughed his butt off at us modern disc heads because of the puny implements we throw today. My point is that in my opinion based on the size of the discus Discobolus threw, his technique was very efficient. Try throwing a 5k discus and take a picture so i can laugh at how awkward your body position is. The wonderful thing that Discobolus does so well is the placement of his right foot. Look at it in comparison to Al's foot position and you can tell that both athletes are patient on their right foot.
Several throwers I've watched including myself are not very good at keeping the right foot low in the middle of the circle. Look at my right foot in comparison to John Godina's:
John Godina of the US competes in the Men Discus Throw event, May 18, 2008 during the Adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Do you see that Godina's Right leg looks more like Al's and Discobolus' than mine? The importance of being patient over the right leg is the difference of several feet! Believe it or not, Discobolus has his right foot in a position that lets him garner the most force out of his right foot than I do. This very minute but important aspect of the discus technique should not be overlooked because it is what separates the elite from the mediocre. Discobolus and Al had it right, and just like me, we can all learn from them in this regard. So I hope the connection you initially chose fell in the same realm as mine did. If it didn't, I'm sure you took something away from this post.

Summary: Discobolus did something that modern throwers including myself can learn from. The flatter you stay on your right foot, the more power!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Discus Shoes

Discus shoes are always a touchy subject for discus throwers. Some people stick with what they know while others like to try new things. If you are like me however, you like to do a bit of both. The truth is that reviews for discus shoes are not very common and if you are a pessimist like me, knowledge is power. Therefore todays post will focus on my top three favorite pair of booties and on the flip-side, my least favorite.
First, I must caution you that this is just an opinion so don't scold me for being partial about my favorite pair of throwing shoes. Secondly, understand that shoes are a very important aspect of throwing the discus and depending on what type of thrower you are, will determine if you will be have a successful technique. Thirdly and most importantly is the concept of foot comfort.
Because this is purely opinion based, I must mention that my opinion should not be taken lightly due to the numerous encounters I have had with elite throwers who also share the same vantage points for shoes. Moving on, it is important to know understand the kind of thrower you are before you purchase a pair of discus kicks because this can drastically improve your performance. I.e if you are a slow technician, you might want something a bit fast and vice versa. My first pair of throwing shoes were wrestling shoes because my coach knew spin shoes would hurt my form initially. It wasn't until I became a more technically sound thrower that my coach advised me to get a pair of Nike SD's. Also, as I mentioned earlier, comfort is key as well. If your feet are in pain when throwing, your technique will be affected and your poor marks will be numerous. This can be extended to the issue of size, "know thy size and comfort is the prize." Without a proper size, your feet, which are the gateways to your throwing technique, will not help you throw far. Therefore comfort is the key.
Take a look at what some of our top discus throwers today like to wear:
The image “http://www.tenerife-sport.com/images/Gerd%20Kanter.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.We can see here that Gerd likes the fast Nike zoom rotationals 3's
http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0fC11gm92u1OL/340x.jpgWe see that Lars Loves his slow Adidas Throwstars
http://image.cdnl3.xosnetwork.com/pics6/200/QY/QYKJBSTPOSHRVHU.20080612120619.jpgWe see that at one point I enjoyed the Nike SD's

Of all the shoes I've worn, here are my top 3:
No. 1 is the Nike SD because they are the best shoes for beginners who want to have the best of everything in a shoe which will complement any technique level. I've used these shoes for several years of my career and they are my favorite shoes because they are lightweight, comfortable, medium spinning speed and durable.
No. 2 is the Nike Zoom rotational IV because they are a step above the SDs (above) as far as speed goes, but offer just as much comfort and support in a very attractive color I feel. Although I must caution you that these throwing shoes are not for beginners who are still building their technique because they are fast. I just started wearing them and this is my 9th year throwing!
No. 3 is the original Nike Zoom Rotational (Red black) most throwers I talk to tell me that this is the best throwing shoe Nike ever made. Although I have never worn a pair myself. Due to the acclaim it has received, I give it my stamp of approval as well. As far as the speed goes, I hear it is fast, very comfortable and durable. Even Adam Nelson (Shot Put Olympian) approves it.

My opinion of a throwing shoe to stay away from, here it is:
The New Balance ROT's are Poorly designed and have a rigid arch. I have not seen any national caliber thrower wear them or endorse them. People in general seem to stay away from these shoes. But as I mentioned this is just my opinion and I know New Balance makes better products.

Shoe Review: look for comfort first, speed of shoe that complements your technique second and lastly, style. But remember, its not how good you look, it's how far you throw. Chow for now.
D.M.F




Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Close Look At a Pioneer Of Discus Throwing: AL Oerter

Al Oerter of the USA throws the discus at the Mexico Olympic Games.(AFP/Getty Images)
When I look back at the early stages of my career, the first thing that crosses my mind is Ole Al. I was infatuated with Al, I would tell all my track buddies all the fun facts about his career such as his four time gold medal achievement and many more. I was even lucky enough to get autographed pictures from him through a dear friend of mine and I still cherish them till today and keep them safely locked a way. Getting those autographed pictures inspired me to do the best i could and had a strong hand in leading me to where I am today in my career as a discus junkie.
Although Al passed away in October 2007, his passion and domination of the sport will never be forgotten. On a lighter note, we will take a close look at Mr. Oerter's technique today. Lets check out a vid:

video
In my opinion, Al's old style of discus throwing was based on functionality. By this I mean that although most throwers of this newer generation might see a jumbled mess of a technique, the fact is that it worked wonderfully for Al. The definition of functionality is the ability of being functional which ultimately means keeping it simple. Here are some things I feel he did very well in his technique:
  • Had a wonderful rhythm in the circle
  • Stayed Low and used his powerful legs
  • Stayed over left leg very well when coming from the back of the circle
  • Hit middle of the circle in a manner that optimized his torque
  • had a fast right hip that helped him sling the disc
All these points above are the basics of what any discus thrower should be aware of. Although the orbit of his discus looked bizarre, the power he had in each of the positions mentioned above ultimately helped him deliver a huge amount of velocity to his discus, leading to four gold medals in one event. An impressive feat even by todays standards.

Summary: Learn from the forefathers such as Al and don't forget that they were exceptional athletes during those days of old. They focused on the fundamental function of their technique rather than looking pretty in the circle.

Welcome to Discus Guru

You are all welcome to discus Guru! This site will take a look at discus throwers from every era and describe their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, and more importantly we can all learn from what we see from these icons and apply them to our technique. We can all become better throwers by becoming students of the sport.
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