Thursday, July 9, 2009
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:
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!
Posted by Y. Ayeni at 9:09 PM