Use This Drill To Help Kids Develop a Strong, Consistent, Flat Discus Release
This would have to be one of the best discus drills that I have used to help kids develop a strong, consistent, flat discus release. It is also one of the most addictive. Kids of all ages absolutely love it!
Stand a mini hurdle on the ground as a target 5-10 meters from the thrower. The thrower is positioned next to a ground marker. If you are working with a group, set up a number of similar stations, spaced appropriately apart.
Initially from one knee, and later progressing to standing, the thrower slings the discus hard at the mini hurdle, with the intent of skimming the implement under the hurdle to score a “goal”.
Three tips for this activity are:
1. Start with a Sandwich
Making a “discus sandwich” describes the hand and discus position prior to the start of a throw where the discus is held up horizontally in front of the eyes (or near the mouth “ready to eat”). The throwing hand is on top of the discus and the non-throwing hand underneath the discus to provide support, thus making a “discus sandwich”. This provides kids with good initial control of the discus.
2. Cut the Grass
To encourage the kids to throw the discus hard and flat, try telling them to “cut the grass” with the discus. This creates the image of a fast-spinning discus skimming the across the top of the grass.
3. Safety Signals
Always use throw and retrieve commands. (i.e. no one throws or retrieves a discus unless they are told to do so).
Why This Drill Works
This drill’s success can be explained by four main factors:
1. It is fun
As mentioned above, the kids love this drill. It is a game during which you can score goals. It is easy to get the kids to do a lot of repetitions without them becoming bored.
2. It is challenging
This drill is not easy. It uses a small target. The activity can be made easier or harder by moving the target closer or further away.
3. It focuses on an external cue
As the intent of the drill is to score a goal by hitting a target, the activity automatically is externally cued. A external cue is a coaching cue where the attention is focused away from the body or is targeted beyond the body on an external object. External cues are thought to be the most effective cues when it comes to learning and improvement.
4. It contrains the movement to the desired technique
Coaches can manipulate the constraints of a task in order to promote learning. In this activity, the task is contrained by the target used. The size and height of the target requires that a discus be thrown hard and flat for success in this activity to occur.
What is your favourite discus release drill?
Can you suggest a great activity to improve discus release? Have you used the one suggested above, or something similar? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.
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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, Anchor or via email.