Common Throwing Terminology You Should Know

What Is The Power Position, Block & Reverse?

Have you ever been in a situation in which you hear terminology that you don’t understand, you wish that you did understand, but were too embarrassed to ask?

This is not uncommon in the world of track & field, where those who are experienced may use terminology that can “go over the head” of others.

Do not fear!

In the first of a series of articles that explain athletics terminology, I will outline the meaning of three common terms used in relation to the throwing events.

1. Power position

The “power position” is the body position that the thrower aims to achieve just prior to the final stage of making a throw.

It is where the athlete’s body is properly aligned and ready to launch the implement.

Image (12)

Shot Put Power Position

In shot put and discus, the power position is sometimes referred to as the “chin-knee-toe” position. This describes how the chin, knee and toe are all lined up, one above the other, as the thrower prepares to launch the implement from over a flexed rear leg.

An athlete will often start in a power position when performing a standing version of the throw.

2. Block

“Blocking” or “bracing” refers to the point at which the thrower is in their delivery stance and the non-throwing side of the body comes to a halt and is locked in place. This then acts as a pivot point around which the throwing side of the body can accelerate to release the implement. (i.e. A right-handed thrower will block the left side of their body as their right arm comes through). Think of the left side of the body acting like a hinge on a gate. To slam the gate shut, the pivot point must be fixed in place. Also useful is the analogy of a catapult, which relies on a fixed pivot point for its power.

Shot putter showing good wrist extension

Blocking the left side of the body in the shot put

3. Reverse

The term “reverse” describes when a thrower’s feet switch or “reverse” their delivery position during or after the release of the implement. For example, a right-handed thrower will deliver the implement with the left foot forward and the right foot back. The force of the throwing action can then result in the right side being driven to the front and the left side being rotated back. The reversing of the feet allows the thrower a full follow-through while they remain in the throwing circle or behind the foul line.

NOTE: The reverse should not be taught to young athletes. It is something that should occur naturally. Teaching kids to reverse can undo their ability to achieve a good blocking action.

I would love to hear from you

Can you help further clarify any of the above terms? Are there any other athletics-related terms that you would like dealt with in a future article? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.

Further reading

E- Books by Coaching Young Athletes:

How To Teach Shot Put To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet) 

How To Teach Discus To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet)

How To Introduce Javelin to Young Athletes (plus bonus cheat sheet)


What is a “Block” in the Throws and How Do I Teach It?

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 Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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