How the USA adapted in the Shot Put post-1995 and Why We Didn't Adapt in the Discus

  • Discussion of article How the USA adapted in the Shot Put post-1995 and Why We Didn't Adapt in the Discus:

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    How the USA adapted in the Shot Put post-1995 and Why We Didn't Adapt in the Discus

    Throwholics note: Coach Smith will answer your questions in this discussion thread. http://social.throwholics.com/index.php/Thread/4152-How-the-USA-adapted-in-the-Shot-Put-post-1995-and-Why-We-Didn’t-Adapt-in-the-DisIt’s been 20 years now since there was a radical shift in drug testing on the world level. American shot putters adapted to the new conditions by developing a fairly new way of throwing: the…
  • Coach Smith,


    There are a lot of kids in high school throwing over 60 meters because they can get away with poor form and still throw the 1.6 kg implement far. When they reach the collegiate level, more focus is placed on shot put due to the fact it is a indoor AND outdoor event and the universities get more "bang for their buck" with the elite throwers from high school. Less emphasis is placed on the discus and it is essentially practiced for only a few months out of the year. As you know, the rotation of the shot put is not the same as the rotation in the discus. Less practice equates to a disconnect from the 1.6 kg disc to the 2 kg implement. When there is a collegiate program that has the long - term goal (with the student athlete in mind) to develop a talented 60 meter high school thrower, you will see a next level 2 kg discus thrower.


    PS - Lars Riedel was a phenomenal non reverse thrower, as was Jurgen Schult. I think that non-reverse throwing should be the focus from the start until the athlete understands the feeling of driving the hip through the throw.

  • I think americans have to work on underwheight throws to improve technique (knee down forward). Your sucess to shot put rotational is an result of number of big powerfull guys doing a much easy technique and also auto teache technique (many failures =auto teache).
    Too much power provide bad legs technique on discus and power gos up not forward. light implement make more fails on throws, so motivate to better technique... Sorry for bad english, hope you understan my meaning. (old javelin portugal record holder)

  • Coach Smith,


    There are a lot of kids in high school throwing over 60 meters because they can get away with poor form and still throw the 1.6 kg implement far. When they reach the collegiate level, more focus is placed on shot put due to the fact it is a indoor AND outdoor event and the universities get more “bang for their buck” with the elite throwers from high school. Less emphasis is placed on the discus and it is essentially practiced for only a few months out of the year. As you know, the rotation of the shot put is not the same as the rotation in the discus. Less practice equates to a disconnect from the 1.6 kg disc to the 2 kg implement. When there is a collegiate program that has the long – term goal (with the student athlete in mind) to develop a talented 60 meter high school thrower, you will see a next level 2 kg discus thrower.


    PS – Lars Riedel was a phenomenal non reverse thrower, as was Jurgen Schult. I think that non-reverse throwing should be the focus from the start until the athlete understands the feeling of driving the hip through the throw.



    I think Americans have to work on under-weight throws to improve technique (knee down forward). Your success in the shot put rotational is a result of number of big powerful guys doing a much easy technique and also auto teache technique (many failures = auto teache).Too much power provide bad legs technique on discus and power goes up, not forward. Light implement make more fails on throws, so motivate to better technique… Sorry for bad english, hope you understand my meaning. (old javelin portugal record holder)

  • @Jim Williams testing became better. In 1988 Connie threw 62.10 and was 42nd on the world list. 1998 she threw 63.10 and was ranked 3rd in the world by Track and Field News... mainline stuff got phased out.


    @Tabór Abarca its better only because of the ability of 18 full rides women and 12.6 for men. 4 to 5 years free training ground for many 18 to 23 year olds. Lots of div 1 and 2 schools with money. Lots of bodies. However, when school is over the money stops and the throwers that can live cheap and work part time jobs are the ones that can survive. European talent selection and training is better then ours for the throws. However the NCAA system produced 29 track and field medals in the last Olympics and 30 medals from other countries that athletes came through the NCAA system. So we are beating ourselves.


    @Carlos Cunha Technique is one of the factors with the disc but the specific strength work is where we are really losing. I have seen 40 to 50 foot increases with the women's disc in 9 months by throwing heavy. Throwing heavy develops technique and so does the light. We need both.


    @Jim Williams 1.75k disc is just another tool in the toolbox. It all helps.


    @Sam Fillious It created more discus throwers, that's for sure but the Soviet block became less state supported which hurt many countries.

  • While I agree with all the training points about variable weight implements and non reverse throwing, I think another factor may also be the body types needed and the lure of football. I've been a throws coach and football coach for 30 years. You can be successful on a world level as a shot putter being 5' 11 to 6' 2 ( Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson etc ) and at that height you are far less desirable to football programs. You can be a great athlete and usually be ignored by college fb coaches. On the other hand, almost all world class discus throwers are 6' 5 and up, way up to 6' 9. That athlete is extremely desirable to football coaches. ( Look at the NFL drooling over Margus Hunt last year ). Even if you are a mediocre athlete, colleges will take a chance on you because they think you have a big upside. In short, the talent pool of shorter throwers is much greater than the talent pool of taller throwers. Plus the options for that type of athlete in Europe where most of the best throwers come from is limited to basketball and the heavier tall man doesn't even have that option.

  • Here are the discus numbers for three 20-year time periods. From 1955–1974 we held 84/200 world ranking spots (42%) much like the spin shot has been for the last twenty years and 10/15 world medals (66.6%) . Over the next twenty years (1975-1994) those numbers dropped dramatically: 42/200 world ranking spots and 5/24 medals (20.8%). During the next twenty years (1995-present) we earned 22/200 world ranking spots and 1/45 world medals (2.2%).

    Does this include the women?

  • @Jim Williams testing became better. In 1988 Connie threw 62.10 and was 42nd on the world list. 1998 she threw 63.10 and was ranked 3rd in the world by Track and Field News... mainline stuff got phased out.

    @John Smith do you know what was better?


    Jim Williams 1.75k disc is just another tool in the toolbox. It all helps.

    John Smith would we be better off if our U20 competed more with the 1.75kg?


    Sorry if I'm nagging.

  • According to Sieg Lindstrom in T&F News @Mac Wilkins plans to address this issue:


    1.) Establish the [US Olympic training Center] as the place to be if you've graduated from college and want to throw the discus as far as you can and win a medal in the Olympics and World Championships.


    2.) Wilkins, "I'm not taking some 210' high school thrower who's 6' 1" or 6' 2" [1,85m-1,88m] and thinking that I can go challenge Robert harting, who's 6'7" [2,01m]. That's not going to happen; that's the definition of inanity. So you need guys like-well, I'm not supposed to mention names, but guys who are in college right now." It's not hard to guess some names (both men and women).


    3.) You need those guys to buy into what's going on, you need to move away from [a once common approach at the US Olympic training Center] where it's kind the cafeteria here: you walk in there and say, 'I think today I'll have some of this and some of that' and tomorrow you walk in and say. 'I'm not taking any of this crap.'


    4.) [Athletes] have to come here because I want this person to be my coach and I want to be fused at the hip he next two years. and maybe beyond that.


    5.) Venegas says, "We want to start a whole new system of of really having a national concept."


    6.) "What is,to me, as important as developing the throwers, is developing a knowledge base, a culture, if you will, of here's what it takes to throw-the discus specifically but, as much as I can, all four throwing events."


    7.) ... When [Wilkins] leaves here, I want to have [a coach] who can step in and take my place who I'll feel can do more than I can do, who knows and can share the event and understands what it takes to be successful technically, mentally, and so on.


  • 2.) @'Mac Wilkins' , "I'm not taking some 210' high school thrower who's 6' 1" or 6' 2" [1,85m-1,88m] and thinking that I can go challenge Robert harting, who's 6'7" [2,01m]. That's not going to happen; that's the definition of insanity. So you need guys like-well, I'm not supposed to mention names, but guys who are in college right now." It's not hard to guess some names (both men and women).


    Soooooo, you're saying John Powell, Anthony Washington are the "the definition of insanity"?

  • To Bill Pendleton: Yes, football is not a big sport in Europe even though it's growing and recruiting tall, athletic guys, but there are other sports for those guys. Handball is a huge professional and olympic sport in Europe and is usually more popular then track and field. If there was no Handball then Europe would probably have even more discus throwers and be even more dominant at the global championships.


    If Harting was not a thrower he could very well have been an elite Handball player. Volleyball is another big sport for the tallest guys, to mention another sport.

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