The Writing on The Wall

Before we had the image recording software of today throwers yearned to see themselves throw, to see others throw and to make themselves look like the throws they could see throwing. Old film strips were often kept and copied by athletes and coaches and could easily be played forwards and backwards and at different speeds. Some of those old videos can still be found on youtube today as videos of these videos of these classic throwers.Before video cameras became cheap enough for throwers to buy publishers produced books with still frames and some even made little flip books of some of the worlds best throwers. You would be in the ring and your friend would hold the still or flip book up with an eye closed and position you correctly. As the video cameras became more advanced and proliferated we were able to watch them not just later when we got home but right there at the ring. Soon we would be able to upload them to internet right from the ring or skype them thousands of miles away to our eyes on the other side of the country.Before youtube we were able to smoothly manipulate the images at any rate or direction we wished. Early in the days of digital film the processing rate was awfully slow and worse than that was the digital media player’s capability to accurately manipulate the film in the manner best for emulating throws. Hence came the issue of dependency on technology and reliance that youtube was stopping the video at the point necessary for us to see the key throwing secret to form, furthermore, that we should stop it and look at still frames. Ever see a thrower who looks so good when you freeze their technique, have all those classic key positions, but can’t throw well all together? Youtube-viewer-itis.Now youtube and other video software has grown rapidly, we are able to slow down and speed up at variable rates, zoom in clearly and even write on the frames to show proper angles, as well as, overlay film and our voices and music. Now we need to upgrade ourselves from the technical beliefs of the last two generations: 1. That we have to look exactly like another thrower we see on the internet and 2. That we need to have these exquisite fancy static positions in order for our actual throw to be successful. Now we need to use the technology at hand to view the throws as they should be, in full speed, clear, sharp and from multiple angles. Now I don’t know how useful it is to see the throw from the P.O.V. of the implement but it sure is cool.Keys to successfully technically analyzing a throw:

  1. Correctly assess the proper technical aspect to improve your throw

  2. Correctly create a curriculum to teach and develop this technical aspect

  3. Correctly communicate with yourself and your working group to create a language, cues and understanding of the technical aspect.

  4. Don’t be afraid to throw poorly for a short period of time in order to throw better for a longer period of time.

  5. Feel the technical aspect for yourself

  6. See the technical aspect for yourself, in person.

  7. See the technical aspect for yourself on film at full speed

  8. See the technical aspect for yourself on film at full speed compared to other sample.

  9. See the technical aspect for yourself at various rates and directions and compared to other examples.

  10. Allow natural phenomena to occur in the throwing motions.

Without feeling, without experience, it is very easy to misinterpret deliberate, accidental and unimportant factors of a throwing technique when analyzing a throw on video or other mediums. We all have different cues and emphasis on our technique and training and so there are some things that we are focusing on doing and other things that we just aren’t worrying about; HINT: The things we are all doing different are probably the things that don’t matter and the things we are all doing the same are probably the things that do matter.Some of signature moves of the greatest throwers are by accident, are by mistake, are because of injury or age. Some technical aspects of the throw are because we are inflexible, some are because we have a cist on our back or a bone spur in our ankle. Look at things everybody is doing the same, that is what matters. As you learn how to perform the ‘same’ aspects of your throw you realize you have to do some things ‘different’ in order to achieve that ‘same’ and once you have done that you have created an original throwing motion. We should not want to look like any single thrower but rather look at aspects of their throw and how we might apply that to our own system in order to achieve that ‘same’ motion.Finally, while it is great that we can see all these throws on youtube, facebook, wherever and it is great that we can go to a meet and witness them first hand; what must be done to truly understand why a person is moving their body in such a fashion is to go up and ask them and for that person to share. It’s not a matter of exposing a secret that will unleash the hidden potential of this other athlete, but rather, to share your philosophy of mind of the throw. This way we know that the only reason you’re moving like ‘this’ is because of ‘that’, so that we can understand this technique is good for a thrower with this training age and this training ability but this technique might be better for that training age and that training ability. The technique necessary to throw 20m, 70m, 80m, 90m is different than the technique necessary to throw 12m, 14m, 16m, 50m, 60m, 70m and maybe it would be best to naturally progress through those passages rather than jumping right into the ‘elite’ form.Be appreciative of the process. Be aware of injuries and sport history that directs that development and implementation of technical aspects of an event. Be patient with your athlete and self and start from the beginning, work yourself from there. Throwing is a reflection of who we are and a tool to shape us into the people we want to become; you shouldn’t want to be anybody but yourself and you shouldn’t want to get their any other way than your own steps.