Should Kids “Step” Across the Ring in the Discus?

Thoughts On The “2-Step” Discus Technique For Young Athletes

A parent of a young athlete recently asked me whether kids are allowed to use a “2-step throw” in discus competition. The following article attempts to answer these questions:

  • What is the “2-step” discus throw?
  • Is it within the rules?
  • Why do athletes use this technique?
  • Should they use this technique?

What is the “2-Step” Discus Technique?

The “2-step” movement used by some young athletes in the discus is very similar to what some young shot-putters use to move across the ring prior to delivering the shot.

The athlete will begin standing with the discus at the back of the circle, looking out in the direction of the throw. They will then take 2 steps to move across the ring as they withdraw then throw the discus.

Is it Within the Rules?

There is nothing in the rules that prevents an athlete from performing a “2-step” discus throw during a competition. The rules do not dictate how an athlete must move across the throwing circle and they do not limit the athlete to using either a standing or a rotational throw.

Why Do Athletes Use This Technique?

I understand the attraction of the 2-step technique; it is seen as a simple introduction to the athlete moving across the circle. It may also provide additional momentum to the discus prior to its release, resulting in greater distances being achieved.

Should Young Athletes Use This Technique?

It is not a technique that I personally coach or recommend; discus is ultimately a rotational event, whereas the 2-step technique requires the athlete to move linearly across the circle, without rotation.

One major disadvantage of the technique is that the athlete has to try to control or balance the discus in their hand while stepping across the circle. It is actually easier to control the discus while rotating – the centrifugal forces help to hold the discus in the hand.

The other problem with the 2-step technique is that while it may help a young athlete achieve longer throws in the short term, it really is not a valid teaching step that leads to anything. When coaching, my preference is to look at the bigger picture of where we ultimately want to progress the athlete’s throwing technique –  i.e. to a rotational throw. Therefore I would prefer to see young athletes start to learn to rotate once they can perform a solid standing throw, rather than attempt a stepping technique.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I don’t have a major problem with young athletes using the 2-step movement – and it is “legal” – but I personally wouldn’t teach it.

Let me know what you think!

Do you agree? Have you ever used or taught the “2-step” technique? Did it work? Were there any problems? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment, or by using the contact details below.

Further reading

5 Tips for Teaching Discus to Beginners

10 Biggest Mistakes Young Athletes Make When Throwing a Discus

When Should a Child Start to “Spin” in the Discus?

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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