Does Training With Heavier Shots & Discuses Give Kids An Advantage?
I see a few young athletes practising with implements, usually shots and discuses, that are heavier than what their age group uses in competition.
I understand the thinking behind this: training with a heavier implement will make the recommended weight for the athlete’s age group seem much easier.
In some cases, the heavier implement may be the only one that the athlete has to practice with; but would I recommend using a heavier implement by choice? No.
Young athletes should avoid practising with heavier implements.
Let me explain.
Two important elements that a young athlete needs to develop in the throws are:
- Speed of release of the implement.
- A sound, reliable technique.
Using a heavier implement may hamper efforts to develop both of these things. This is because the heavier weight will:
- Slow down the athlete’s movements, including slowing their arm speed.
- Make it more difficult for the athlete to produce the technique being sought. Dealing with the weight of the implement may become the primary focus.
Would I ever ask a young athlete to use a different weight implement to what they use in competition? Absolutely! A lighter implement used in practice can assist the development of movement speed and make it easier to development a sound technique.
Lighter implements can assist with the development of movement speed.
Another advantage is that a lighter implement allows more repetitions to be completed before fatigue sets in, increasing the amount of learning opportunities.
I believe, therefore, that young athletes should avoid using throwing implements that are heavier than what is recommended for their age group.
Let me know what you think!
Do you agree? Do you have any experience with using heavier or lighter implements? What were the results? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the contact details below.
How To Teach Shot Put To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes
How To Teach Discus To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes
If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.
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.
Great explanation. Same refers to other disciplines such as hurdles. ie. put the hurdle down for repeated practice but not up. Weights are imposed for athlete safety and should be applied. Thanks DW.
Thanks. I agree with your hurdle reference. Darren
it depends wether it is glide or rotational. for glide heavy is essential for mechanical adaption and idenfying weak parts in techniques. it also build strength. to improve speed more specifically increase strength. when you work for speed you can use lighter shot in a separate session.it all depends how you are stimulating the CNS and what your goals.heavy is needed for youth.shot put is a strength event!
Thanks for your input. I think that it depends what age “youth” athlete we are talking about. Certainly some older higher-performing teenagers may be able to cope with a heavier shot, but I wouldn’t use heavier shots with, say, pre-pubescent kids. Darren