Sunday, July 19, 2009
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:
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.
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Posted by Y. Ayeni at 3:19 PM