All athletes, regardless of sport or level of competitiveness share at least one common experience: pain. For throwers one of the most common ailments is the ‘Thrower’s Hand’, whether this be torn fingers from the chords of a javelin, decimated pads and knuckles from a hammer, blood blisters that near aneurismisitc quality and finally the most famous of the four: The Paw of a shot put thrower. These are the thrower’s weight to carry and it is also the mark of their commitment. Not to say if you don’t or haven’t suffered from these you aren’t training properly but, well, that’s exactly what I am saying, actually.
Not only are these hand ailments a reaction to intense training and throwing they are the bodies attempt at changing the structure and function of your biological system to better allow you to have success in such movements. If you want to throw the shot put 70 feet you’re going to have to have a hand the thickness of a baseball glove. If you want to throw the discus 70M you’re probably going to have a chocolate kiss of death on your pointer or middle finger and if you want to throw the hammer or javelin over 80 meters your fingers are going to be hacked away at like a machete to a coconut tree.
Now these can lead to one of two things: 1. American youths are going to head out to the garage or ring and decimate their hands masochistically in belief that it will aid in them throwing further or 2. Readers will understand the quality and quantity of attempts necessary to put an athlete in a position to make an elite level attempt and the byproducts of such endeavors. Every thrower wakes up and has pain in their shoulder and hand, tendonitis and arthritis are jokes compared to what most professional throwers will feel in the later years of their lives.
There are many ways to protect your hands, whether it be through taking med ball and kettle bell throws of javelin or discus, wearing thick gloves in hammer or shot put or keeping your calluses in check.
Often times in America and especially in the collegiate setting when an athlete has a pain or a throb or a soreness they are sent to a trainer and then they are sent on break for two weeks. Too often and too much the solution to being uncomfortable has been rest until you are comfortable when in actuality the key to success, the key to growth and development is being uncomfortable in the right places for the right amount of time for the reasons. Not just in the throwers hand but in weight lifting, throwing selection and body health there is an epidemic in America of the need for rest, the need to always be at 100% and the fear of what happens if you can’t do everything or anything at any given moment.
If you train properly, if you live properly then you exist in states of peaks and valleys, physically, psychologically, emotionally, etc and if you understand the process of growth through such phases you are able to develop yourself into much higher peaks than you would at such a plateau philosophy that many experts advocate towards. The Paw of a shot putter is designed to aid them throw far, the reason for the creation of the Paw of the shot putter is the quality and quantity of attempts in their training, the goal of their training is to throw as far as they can, do not train to get a paw, Train to Throw Far and be prepared for the consequences.
Bonus points: name the hands on the cover photo.