Be Aware of These 3 Myths When Coaching Young Athletes
In 3 Common Athletics Myths You Should Know I discussed how lots of myths and misconceptions surround the rules and coaching of athletics events and then went about “busting” three of these myths. I have identified three more myths that need busting, so here we go again . . .
MYTH 1: The discus is released out the back of the hand
If you ask a group of kids whether it is better to release the discus out of the front or the back of the hand, most are under the impression that it it should come out of the back of the hand. They are often amazed when I announce that it is, in fact, better for the discus to spin out of the front of the hand.
Whereas there is no rule governing how the discus is released from the hand, it is far more effective to spin the implement over and off the index finger. Therefore, a right-handed thrower will release the discus so that it spins in a clockwise direction. A left-handed thrower will spin the discus in an anti-clockwise direction.
Reasons why it is better to release the discus out of the front of the hand include:
- The throwing arm can be kept in an extended position until the discus is released. This creates a long lever and more momentum. Releasing the discus out of the back of the hand necessitates a bent arm, causing a shortened lever.
- The hand is kept behind the discus for longer, meaning that the force is applied to the discus for longer.
- With the hand kept behind the discus, the thrower can “flick” the wrist and provide a final push to the discus. This is not achievable if the discus spins out the back of the hand.
- A front-of-hand release encourages a full follow-through; a back-of-hand release can lead to a shortened follow through.
See How to Teach the Discus Grip to Young Athletes and How to Teach the Discus Release to Young Athletes for more information.
MYTH 2: “Get set” to go
Many people are under the impression that the starter’s command prior to them firing the gun is “Get Set” whereas it is actually “Set”. The IAAF Competition Rules state: ‘In races up to and including the 400m . . the commands will be “On your marks” and “Set”.’
Note that there is no “Set” command in races that are longer than 400m. The command is simply “On your marks” followed by the gun.
MYTH 3: The javelin must stick in the ground to be a legal throw
It is really common for people to believe that for a javelin throw to be legal, the implement must land with its point stuck in the ground.
This is untrue and there is no rule to this effect. The IAAF Competition Rules state: “A throw shall only be valid if the metal head strikes the ground before any other part of the javelin.” There is no mention of the javelin having to stick in the ground. However, if the javelin lands flat or tail-first, then it is a foul throw.
Do you know of any athletics-related myths?
If you have come across any other athletics-related myths or would like to ask a question about something that you suspect could be a myth, let me know by leaving a comment. I might discuss it in a future post.
3 Common Athletics Myths You Should Know
Another 3 Athletics Myths You Should Know
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.