How to Introduce Young Athletes to the Discus Arm Action

Use “Scarecrow Claps” as an Introductory Activity for Discus

“Scarecrow Claps” is a simple activity that can be used to introduce young athletes to the long, swinging arm action used in a discus throw. No implement is required.

Preparatory Stance

Stand side-on to the throwing direction “like a scarecrow” (i.e. arms extended wide at shoulder height). A right-handed thrower will stand facing to their right. Their right arm will be back; their left arm will be forward. Both hands should be held with thumb on top, little finger underneath, ready to clap.


Preparatory stance

Scarecrow Clap

Keeping the non-throwing arm extended (it does not move), swing the throwing hand around in a wide flat arc along a horizontal plane to “clap” with the front hand. This will be primarily an upper body movement. Repeat a number of times, keeping the clapping arm long.

Scarecrow Clap with Pivot

As above but pivot the back foot. Pivot on the ball of the foot so that the toes of this foot and the belly button finish pointing in the direction of the throw at the time of the clap. Repeat, pivoting forward and backward with the swing of the arm

Scarecrow Clap, Pivot and Weight Transfer

As above but transfer the weight between the back and front foot with the swinging of the arm. As the arm swings forward, transfer weight onto front foot; as the arm swings back, transfer weight on to the back foot. The cue I like to use is: “Rock forward, rock back; turn forward, turn back.”

Clap with pivot & weight transfer

I would love to hear from you!

Have you used an activity like this before? What methods have you come across to teach the discus arm action? What related coaching cues have you used or do you know? I would love to hear from you if you try this activity and if it works for you. You can 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

CYA Membership Email

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.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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