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 constrains 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 constrained 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.
How To Teach Discus To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat) by Coaching Young Athletes
Teach Kids to Make a “Discus Sandwich”
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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, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.
Have been trialling this game since I saw it on your blog recently. The kids love it! I have one boy though who is struggling to hold the discus correctly and is reverting back to grasping it between thumb and fingers (pinching it) instead of having it rest on his palm. His is 9 and using the 500g discus and I think size wise should be able to do it correctly. Any other tips to help him? We also did your train tracks game with the discus, they loved that too. This boy though again went back to the wrong grip, even though I thought the hand down and swinging back to front action might back it easier to practise hold the discus correctly, with him not worrying about it “falling out” of his hands. Thanks for the help 🙂
Hi Naomi. Check out my post https://coachingyoungathletes.com/2017/06/26/how-to-teach-discus-to-young-athletes/. This contains some of my best tips for dealing with the discus grip. Darren
I have benefited greatly from your tips and advice in coaching young athletes: as a primary school PE teacher, having an ‘expert’ share their cue phrases, and activity ideas, assists in diversifying my teaching – thank you. I am continuing to teach athletics skills during COVID-19 remote learning time and will use this activity for this weeks discus lesson