At What Point Should a Young Athlete Begin to Learn the Rotational Discus Throw?
I am regularly asked my opinion about when a young athlete should learn to rotate in the discus.
My answer usually is:
“Once they can consistently perform a good standing throw”.
I explain that a rotational discus throw is (in very basic terms) a standing throw with a rotation added onto the start. Therefore, the standing throw needs to be strong, otherwise an athlete is wasting their time trying to rotate across the circle.
This answer, however, is way too simplistic.
Whilst I believe that it is vital that a young athlete can control a standing throw before any serious attempt to rotate, a coach can work to lay the foundation for a rotational throw before the standing throw is mastered and long before many will realize what the coach is doing.
Prior to allowing a young athlete to try a rotational throw in the discus ring, a coach can introduce skills that will eventually be fundamental to the performance of a such a throw. Balance, coordination, agility and pivoting exercises – all with the intention of ingraining the basic skills required to rotate well – can be introduced alongside the learning of the standing throw.
In other words, I believe that a standing throw and a rotational throw can actually be taught and learnt in parallel with each other.
This process, however, requires the coach to have:
- A long-term vision for the athlete’s discus throwing development.
- A sound understanding of the capabilities of the age group with which they are working.
- A plan for when and how to introduce the various pieces that will come together to complete the discus throwing puzzle.
A coach of young athletes should prioritize the teaching of the standing throw, but can also begin to lay the foundation for an eventual transition to the rotational throw.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this!
Do you agree? What is your philosophy when it comes to teaching a young athlete to rotate in the discus? When would you introduce the rotation? How would you introduce it? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using my contact details below.
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.