Holding the Discus

Place discus in your throwing hand. The discus should be comfortable in the hand. Spread the fingers out with index finger inline with wrist and place fingers first knuckles over the disc. The grip should be comfortable.

Release the Discus

When releasing the discus have your palm down. The centripetal force of the throwing motion will keep the discus in the thrower's hand. When ready to release the discus, the thrower will squeeze the discus out of their hand like a bar of soap. The disc will come off the index finger and spin in a clockwise direction for a right handed thrower. The opposite is true for left handed throwers.

Power Position

The thrower will stand perpendicular to the throwing direction with the feet comfortably shoulder width apart with their left foot slightly behind the right foot. The thrower needs to be in an athletic position with 80% of their weight on their back leg. The thrower will twist his/her upper body completely opposite the throwing direction. The chest, knee and toe should be in line. The thrower extends the right arm out from the side of the body with the disc.The left arm will be extended out from the body with a right angle relationship to the right arm.

Throwing From the Power Position

Over exaggerate the use of the legs in the throw especially the hips. Young athletes will especially struggle with their awareness of their hip position. The sequence of the throw will be hips, legs, arms. Start the throw by turning the right hip to the front of the ring. Once the hips start moving the legs will extend upwards. Sweep the left arm out and around and once the left arm reaches the front of the ring bring it in tight to the body to form a block. The left side of the body will stop to aid in accelerating the discus. Release the discus by squeezing it like a bar of soap.

Rotational Throw Progression

Middle of the Ring

Stand facing the throwing direction from the middle of the ring. With their right foot forward forward for right handed throwers, and left foot for left-handed throwers. 80% of thier weight should be on their forward foot. Get in an athletic position with your body aligned chest, knee, toe.

Throwing from the Middle of the Ring

For right handed throwers, the athlete will swing their right arm back where you can hit your right cheek of your glutes. Their left arm will be pointed towards the throwing direction. The athlete will start the reverse 180 by pivoting counterclockwise on their right foot. The left leg will be picked up off the ground and driven to the front of the ring in a straight line as the right foot rotates. The left foot should try to hit the right heel as it is being placed in the front of the ring. Complete the throw once you are in the power position.

Back of the Ring Body Position

The thrower will face the opposite of the throwing direction in the back of the ring in an athletic position. The thrower will raise their arms to their sides at shoulder level. The thrower will twist their arms and shoulders to the right forming an X with shoulders and hip axis and have 80% of their body weight on the left leg for right-handed throwers.

Pivoting out of the back of the ring

Pivot the left foot towards the three o’clock position. Pickup the right foot as soon as the left foot is pivoting. Work only the lower body, keeping the upper body back. The right foot will take a wide and low path outside the circle. Once the left foot reaches the 3 o’clock position drive and sprint to the center of the ring. As the thrower is driving to the center bring the right leg in towards the center of the ring.

Drive Across the Ring

This part of the throw is the transition from the back of the ring to the middle. The drive from the back of the ring comes from a push off from the left foot and a strong high knee punch from the right leg. It’s important that the athlete doesn’t spend that much time in the air. Time in the air is power lost in the throw. Once the left foot pushes off then the left leg is tucked close the right leg. The thrower will drive down a straight line and when the left foot reaches the 3 o’clock position, they will push off. The thrower will not step with the right leg but instead the right will be locked and let the ground come to them.

Discus Technique Videos

These are some very good informational videos about how to throw the discus and how to throw using a spin or rotational technique.

Discus Drills

Bowling Release

The proper grip and release is important to make sure that the discus comes out of the hand the right way

Setup – Each discus thrower needs a discus, and an open area. Throwers do not need to be in the circle in order to execute this drill.

Procedure – With the proper grip, the thrower will use a three-step approach to a line and then ‘bowl’ the discus ahead of them. The best throws will roll the furthest on their edge. This indicates a good release.

The release should come off the index finger – which gives the final push and puts the rotation on the discus. The thumb should be on top of the discus, close to the index finger, not stretched out to the back of the discus.

The bowling release works well to help throwers learn the proper elements of release.

Standing Release Drill

Working the upper body and making the release point a priority makes up half of the good discus throw.

Setup – Each thrower should have a discus, and they should have a clear area to make the throws.

Procedure – With the proper grip, the thrower will go through an adjusted motion, starting with the discus brought back and up, the body slightly coiled at the waist.

This is not a full discus motion drill. Instead it works on the release just starting from the upper body. While you get the power from the hips and legs, you get the proper flight and trajectory from the upper body.

From the starting position, the thrower will turn their hips forward toward their target area and release the discus, working on the ‘outside edge up’ toss.

Repeated work with this drill is going to help the thrower build memory and perfect the release technique.

Pivoting Drill

Learning to pivot quickly and under control is a tremendous tool for the discus thrower

Setup – For each discus thrower needs an area large enough for them to spin around and potentially lose control without hurting anyone around them. No discuses are required for this drill to begin. Each thrower should have a line that is approximately shoulder width in length to put their feet on.

Procedure – This drill works on pivoting, but does it without the discus to start. Each thrower will stand with their feet shoulder width apart on a line that has been drawn or taped on the floor to start the drill.

When the coach blows a whistle (or says go), the thrower should use one foot to pivot, and they need to pivot around in a full circle three times as quickly as possible. It might be easier at first to do this on a slick surface, but throwers should work up to doing it in the discus circle.

The key to this drill is control – and building up speed. Control first, speed second.

The pivot is an important element of building momentum during the throw, and control during the spin is essential. This drill works on improving both.

Sweeping Leg

Driving the right leg (sweeping leg) forward helps generate great power on the throw.

Setup – Throwers can do this drill with or without a discus

Procedure – Start in the ready position, with feet more than shoulder width apart for this drill. The discus should be up and the waist should be coiled.

Take three windups and on the third windup, bring the discus back and then bring it around as if you were going to throw. Once you feel like you can move the right leg freely, this is when you lift it up, extend it back and then use it to sweep around, leading with the knee.

Do not throw the discus, and your thrower should land on the right foot after it was used to build momentum.

This drill helps teach the thrower to use the momentum from their right leg for power on the throw.

Sitting Throw

The trunk rotation is an essential part of the throw, and this drill works on the technique, and to build strength in the core.

Setup – Each thrower should have enough room to sit down with their legs in front of them with the discus lifted to the side.

Procedure – The thrower should sit with their legs in front of them, spread in a ‘V’. The discus should be in the throwing hand and the thrower should reach as far as they can behind them, using their trunk to turn back as far as possible, and then their arm and shoulder.

At first, this drill should be run slowly, in order to work on the proper rotation and delivery. You want the hips to square up, then the waist and trunk, the shoulders and then bring the arm around. Each of these motions should be exaggerated until they are perfected. Then you can increase the speed of this drill.

This drill will work on good technique and it will also help to build muscle memory and strength for the trunk rotation.

Arm Swing

Muscle memory and strength are key to making sure you get the best throw with the discus

Setup – Each thrower should have a discus to do this drill, and enough room to swing their arm in a normal motion.

Procedure – This is strictly a repetitive drill that helps the thrower get used to the discus and to the motion they are going to use to throw discus.

This is a simple drill that can be used as a warm up, or an early season drill to get throwers into the swing of things with their throwing motion. It allows the thrower to work on their form.

The throwing arm should be extended out to the side, parallel to the ground. Then, it should be moved forward and backward in a smooth motion in order to mimic the throwing motion. Do not release the discus during this drill.

Working on this drill will build strength and muscle memory for the arm and the motion it must take when it throws the discus.

Rise and Throw

This drill emphasizes the upward thrust and uncoiling of the body just before throwing the discus.

Setup – Each thrower should have a discus in order to complete this drill.

Procedure – The uncoiling of the body to create the force and power of the discus throw.

To start, the thrower will begin in the position just prior to throwing the discus. The knees will be slightly bent and turned back. The hips will be turned away from the target, the trunk will be rotated, and will the shoulders, and the arm will reach back as far as it can.

This drill is done in at half speed first, in order to work on the thrust. The thrower should uncoil the body one step at a time: feet, knees, thighs, hips, trunk, shoulder and then the arm moving forward. As this happens, the body should be rising to the delivery position.

As the thrower works with this drill, he or she will understand the thrust and upward drive needed to make a great throw.