How to Throw a Discus

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Are you an aspiring discus thrower? Are you just too big to run and too strong to sit on a couch? Do you need something else to do in the football offseason? Then learn to throw the discus. Remember, running is the oldest sport, but throwing heavy things is the best!

Things You'll Need

  • Discus
  • Discus Ring
  • Large empty field
  • Suggested need: throwing shoes
  • Buy or borrow a discus. It's rare for an elementary school to own a discus, less rare for a middle school and pretty common for a high school. There are varying levels of quality, depending on the rim weight. More rim weight means a faster spin, but is much harder to throw if you are a novice.

  • Grip the discus as follows. Place the discus on the tips of your outspread fingers, line up your index finger with your wrist. The purpose of balancing the disc like that is because you want to throw the discus off the front of your index finger.

  • Find a discus ring. A discus ring is 8' 2 1/2" in diameter. A shot put ring is 7'. A discus ring should have a net that stops discs that go any way besides forward. MAKE SURE NO ONE IS IN THE PATH OF YOUR DISCUS BEFORE YOU THROW.

  • There are three steps to learning to throw. A "standing throw," a "half-throw," and a "full throw." (Note: this is designed for a right-handed thrower, reverse if you're left-handed)

    Standing throw - place your left foot perpendicular to the front of the ring and slightly to the left of the center of the front of the ring. Place your right foot under your shoulder and place the bulk of your weight on the right foot.

    When you start twisting back to throw, only twist your right foot (stay on the ball of your foot) and keep that left foot planted, which is called your "blocking foot." As you twist back, keep that right arm extended and the left arm loose but close to your chest. When you are done twisting, start twisting your right foot first, the upper body will follow.

    The left arm should reach forward like you're picking an apple and then close back in toward your chest. The right arm, as strange as it might sound, is designed to ship around. When you get better, you will realize that the throw is really generated from the legs and core muscles and less with your arm. When you reach a point where your right leg has twisted around, your left arm is tucked in to your chest, the right arm should be perpendicular to the field, push the discus forward with your fingers so that it rolls off the front of your index finger.

  • Half-throw. This is one step beyond a standing throw. Stand in the standing throw position. Push off with your left foot and go forward around your right leg. Remember, the right leg is the twisting leg for the throw.

    Now, stop the left foot when you are facing the opposite direction. The right leg will be facing away from the field. To start, twist the upper body back slightly, remembering that the legs generate the power. The left foot will swing around quickly into the standing position. The left foot will now come into the blocking position again, which means it will not be twisting.

    The right leg will again twist around just like the standing position. The purpose of this exercise is to get used to blocking the left leg and twisting under the right while relaxing the right arm so that it whips around.

  • Full throw. Remember that the standing throw and half throw are NOT easy and will take a long time just to get good. The full throw takes much longer, find a coach. But if you want the basic concepts, here they are:

    You will straddle the back of the ring, facing away from the field. DO NOT THROW UNTIL YOU MAKE SURE THE FIELD IS CLEAR. Twist slowly with your upper body. Then twist around on your left foot. As you are twisting around, the right foot needs to swing through as if you are sprinting out of the back of the ring, face the field as you do so, do not attach your head to your shoulder, it will open up your chest early and the throw will go awry. Push off the left foot and as you land in the center of the ring with your right foot, your left foot should be in the air.

    The right foot will be turning the second it hits the ring and your left foot will hit its blocking position. Now it's the half-throw and standing throw all over again.

    Congrats, you just threw a discus!

Tips & Warnings

  • It's important to get used to throwing the discus off your index finger. There are two good tips to do so:
  • 1) Roll the discus like a bowling ball. It should roll straight when you are doing it correctly.
  • 2) Throw the discus straight up in the air. It should spin straight up without wobbling.
  • NEVER throw the discus in a full throw position without a net.
  • NEVER throw a discus if the field is not clear. Heavy metal thrown at a high speed is not pleasant for either party.

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