10 Things That Will Help You Coach Discus to Kids
Tip 1: Rest The Thumb On The Back of The Discus
Ideally, when holding the discus, your thumb should rest on the back of the implement. Many people think that the thumb needs to hook over the edge of the discus. While this is not against the rules, doing this will make it very difficult to spin the discus out of the hand and flight it properly. Instead, it is just the four fingers that slightly curl over the edge. The discus sits on the pads of the fingers, not past the first finger joints.
Tip 2: Off-Set The Feet
When doing a standing discus throw, it is best to begin by off-setting the feet as seen in the image below (shown for a right-handed thrower). This foot position makes it a lot easier to turn the body fully to the front while slinging the discus.
Tip 3: Make a Discus Sandwich
When preparing to throw, place the throwing hand on top of the discus and the non-throwing hand underneath the discus to provide support. This makes a “discus sandwich”. Hold it up in front of the mouth “ready to eat”.
Tip 4: Use A Controlled Wind-Up
To begin the throw, take the discus off the supporting hand and swing it back through about 180 degrees from above the front of the circle to near the back of the circle, with minimal turning of the body. Any more of a wind-up will likely cause a loss of control of the discus. Beginners should not try to copy an advanced throwers wind-up, which can cover almost double the distance described above and involves turning the body away from the throwing direction.
Tip 5: Keep The Throwing Hand On Top
Keep the throwing hand on top of the discus – with the palm facing down – during the wind-up, forward swing, and release. This will hopefully result in a flat-flying and spinning discus. When a beginner tips the hand even slightly vertically during the wind-up or forward swing, the discus commonly loses its horizontal spin on release.
Tip 6: Pivot To The Front
When throwing a discus, first the back foot, then hips, torso, shoulders, and head should turn to face the front before the arm comes around in a slinging action. To get the body around to the front, think of the back foot and belly button pointing where you want the discus to land. During the throwing action, turn the hips, trunk and shoulders to the front by pivoting the driving (back) foot to the front while also transferring the body weight from the back to the front foot.
Tip 7: Stay Tall, Don’t Tip Over
Aim to throw from a “tall” position, with the chin “as far away from the ground” as possible. This is because a higher release point can be an advantage. It is also more likely that a throwing “block” can be achieved when the body is held tall. A lot of kids tip over to their non-throwing side or bend forward from the hips as they throw. This results in a low release of the discus and less chance of a block being achieved.
Tip 8: Throw Off Two Feet
Keep both feet on the ground when letting go of the discus. It is common for beginners to lift their back foot and try to throw off one leg, which greatly diminishes the force that can be applied to the discus.
Tip 9: Throw Out Of The Front Of The Hand
Whereas there is no rule governing how the discus is released from the hand, it is far more effective to spin the implement over and off the index finger.
Tip 10: Watch The Discus Go
Watching the discus as it flies and lands has a number of advantages for beginners. Firstly it will encourage a young athlete to turn their head and body to the front. It will also help to achieve a block by preventing them from over-rating as they throw.
Over To You!
What is your top quick and easy tip for teaching discus to kids? Share it here by leaving a comment/reply or let me know by using the contact details below.
How To Teach Discus To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes
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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.