Teaching the Discus

1.  Holding the Discus

         Place palm flat on the discus with the first knuckle over the edge of the discus.

         Index finger should bisect the discus.

         Place slight pressure on the discus with thumb.

         Let the arm hand down and swing the arm around at different angels to allow the beginner to feel that centrifugal force will keep the discus in the hand.

2.  Bowling the Discus:

         This will teach proper release of the discus off the index finger.

         Bowl the discus along the ground.  The discus should spin forward out of the hand in a "clock wise" manner.

         Modify the bowling action by having the thrower flip the discus in the air.

         Finish with swings to build confidence that the discus will stay in the hand.

3.  Standing Throws:

         Left shoulder facing the direction of the throw.

         Start with the discus in front on the left shoulder on the left hand.   Swing.

         Pivot the right foot hard, turning the right heel out while pushing the right hip to the front.

         Emphasize that the center of gravity stays over the right foot.

4.  Sink and Sling:

         Feet together with the weight on the right foot while holding the discus at the side.

         Sink down on the right leg, slide the left foot back about 24", lean forward and throw the discus back to shoulder level.

         When the discus reaches the "top", the right foot pivots hard turning the right hip to the front, pulling the discus in a wide arc at shoulder level.

         The discus should be released without reversing the feet.

         Attempt to keep the center of mass over the right foot throughout the whole turn.

         At the time of release, the chest, hip, knees and toes face to the front.

5.  The 1 1/4 Turn:

         Stand at the rear of the circle and sideways to direction of the throw.   Feet should be comfortably apart and knees slightly flexed.

         Transfer weight to the left foot, pivot, and make a running sprint across the circle to land in a good throwing position.

         Teach this as a "whole" action.  Stress rhythmic acceleration across the circle.

6.  The Full Throw:

         The athlete stands at the rear of the circle, facing away from the direction of the throw.

         Start in a balanced position and shift the weight to the left in order to initiate the turn.

         At the same time the weight is shifted to the left, the right foot must be picked up and swept around to the middle of the circle.

         Steps to achieve this:

o    Walk through the turn.

o    Walk through while emphasizing balance on the left leg at the back and on the right leg in the middle.

o    As above, but with knees flexed.

o    Gradually add speed.

Discus Training Drills

1.      90 Degree Drill.  Move the right foot and leg 90 degrees, place it down, move to 180 degrees, place it down.  The next 90 degrees will find the thrower in the center of the circle.  Now move the left foot 90 degrees, then the right again, and that is the power position.

2.      Wheels:

         Right foot in center of the circle pointing in the direction of the throw, right knee bent and heel is off the ground.

         Left arm reaching to front below the shoulder height with the right arm holding the discus in front of the body.

         Swing right arm back, as the discus reaches the farthest point behind the body, begin the push from the left foot.

         Maintain the angles of the right leg and foot.

         Push from the left foot to make the hips move atop the right leg.

         Continue movements over the right leg by moving right hip in direction of throw.

         Left knee "tucks" in behind the right knee.

         Feel left foot move beyond right lower leg.

         "Wheel" left foot for a heel-toe relationship.

3.      South African Drill.  Discus is carried in front with the wrist bent for support.  Begin with the right leg behind the left, and pivot into the power position, and finish with a throw.  Walk forward, doing continuous reps.  The next progression is to run into it.  This drill can also be used before the 1 1/4 turn drill in the teaching progression.

4.      Other Implements.  Such as traffic cones, small bars, etc.  These can be thrown while delaying the upper body as much as possible to really feel the "hip pop", so critical to a throw.

5.      Weight Shift at Beginning.  Practice this by swinging the discus all the way back with weight on the right leg, then swing to the left with weight on the left leg.  Throwers will squat a little in the middle of the swing.

6.      Without the Discus.  Stand facing the throwing direction.  Drive, as in the South African drill, and then attempt to have the feet land in a power position at the same time.