Should Young Athletes Practice With Heavy Throwing Implements?

Does Training With Heavier Shots & Discuses Give Kids An Advantage?

I see a few young athletes practicing 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.

Let me explain.

Two important elements that a young athlete needs to develop in the throws are:

  1. Speed of release of the implement.
  2. A sound, reliable technique.

Using a heavier implement may hamper efforts to develop both of these things. This is because the heavier weight will:

  1. Slow down the athlete’s movements, including slowing their arm speed.
  2. 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.

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.

20150614_154020-1Darren 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 TwitterFacebookLinkedin or via email.

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2 thoughts on “Should Young Athletes Practice With Heavy Throwing Implements?

  1. Chris Watt says:

    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.

    Like

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