Aikens on Throws Outdoor Week 3: Well surprise, surprise, we had another meet canceled today

Kevin ChristianCoaching Blogs, Discus, Opinion, Shot Put Leave a Comment

by Jim Aikens, (Burlington) Central High School

MONDAY 4/16: Well surprise, surprise, we had another meet canceled today. This one is supposed to be made up next Monday. Like all of you, we have had more meets cancelled than we have participated in. Who I feel badly for are the borderline kids or the kids who it’s their first ever season doing track. If I was a freshman and this was my first year of track, I don’t know how enthused I would be to participate in another season, since once the weather does improve only the invites are going to be left and I would not have gotten a lot of opportunities to compete.

Today, we had a lower body power workout so all the athletes hit the weights for the first hour of practice. As usual there was no place to go, so we stayed in the hallway outside the weight room. We made sure our med balls would not mark up the walls so we wouldn’t have a repeat from a few weeks ago. We went through the discus spin again, and then I had them throwing the mini med balls with the entire discus spin focusing on the rhythm of the throw. I want them to use the Oooooonnneee, (Start from wind and turn 270 degrees to the middle) Two (right foot lands in the middle) Three (left foot lands in the front). They always spin too fast when they are first starting out in the discus, so I am really trying to get them to slow down and focus on position and rhythm. We threw about 25 reps. We then worked on our shot put technique, going over the glide progression that I had put in the Simplifaster blog I wrote a few weeks back.

I had said in earlier blogs that I was going to teach everyone the glide and have them do that technique. We have been doing that since we began this year. Now there are a couple of athletes that I am going to try doing the rotational technique with. Two are great kids who work hard but just can’t seem to get the glide, and they actually move okay in the rotational movement. I have two others who seem to have a pretty good feel for the movement. I’ll let you know how it goes.


TUESDAY 4/17: Today we didn’t have any lifting and the baseball and softball teams were away, so we were able to use the shelf and its drop down net and cement throwing wall the entire practice. It was great! Below is Today’s Practice plan.

I will lead the entire group on these:

Full set of unit turns (rotational shot do it as a shot put, everyone else as discus)

Wheels & repeat wheels (rotational shot do it as a shot put, everyone else as discus)

Back of the ring shot drills (rotational shot still do these drills, it can’t hurt for balance)

Full discus spins (everyone do this as a discus spin)





Discus Workout:

10 proper powers (grind back foot)

5 step back powers (focus on staying and working your right foot)

5 South Africans (focus on right heel doesn’t hit, staying on and working your right foot)

10 spins with throw (5 on proper positions and 5 on rhythm)

Shot Put Glide

6 1-2 throws (don’t move the head or shot on 1, also pivot right foot on 1)

6 proper stand throws (focus on proper mechanics)

8 T-Position to gather (focus proper positions)

8 left leg jab from gather (left leg fires first)

6 straight leg glides (focus on right foot position, this is a great rt. leg developer)

8 glide to stop (focus on right foot position, heel up and under shoulders)

10 glides where put it all together (Focus on right foot position)

Shot Put Rotational

6 1-2 throws (don’t move the head or shot on 1, also pivot right foot on 1)

6 proper stand throws (focus on proper mechanics)

6 wheel tosses (stay on right leg) weight until left foot hits

6 South Africans (focus on right heel doesn’t hit, staying on and working your right foot)

10 full spins (stay on right foot in middle of ring and drive with the legs)


The above practice plan worked very well. The kids got a lot of reps in and a lot of throwing. Coach Barnes and I each took a group and we were busting our butts, but we were able to get so much done.


WEDNESDAY 4/18: Today we had the same practice plan as yesterday with some alterations. The baseball and softball teams were again not using the shelf, so we went up immediately after school and did a shortened version of yesterday’s practice. We adjusted yesterday’s workout to an hour and a half workout today. Then we had a weight workout today where we focused on the upper body.

We are supposed to have a meet tomorrow. It is the Rocket Relays. It is a six team invitational where we will be able to have four throwers. I hope we have this meet. Come on weather, Please!


THURSDAY 4/19: Today was the Varsity Rocket Relays. It was a six team meet made up of mostly 2A Schools, so we got to compete against schools in our own class. I have talked about this before but it still amazes me. You work on things with kids in practice and the implement actually goes pretty far. So you go over it with the athletes and tell them do the exact same thing tomorrow with the exact same focus. It never happens that way. They all just want to grip and rip the implement as hard as they can and the results are almost never as good as they were in practice. This is almost always the case with newer throwers. Every once in a rare instance you may have an athlete who can repeat practice performance technique but it is very rare. Once an athlete becomes more accomplished and has their technique better ingrained, I find they are actually better at repeating the practice effort. Over time you may have that athlete who has the technique so well integrated that they can go full force and full speed and the technique holds up. Those athletes are the great ones!

So my athletes are in the first category: they just gripped and ripped. The distances weren’t anything to write about, but they actually ended up earning our first varsity points on the season! On the guys side this to us was a big deal because we haven’t scored a single point, and it was a great feeling for the kids to help the team effort. On the guys side in shot we earned a 3rd, 4th & 6th place finish and in discus we got a 6th place. On the girls side we earned 2nd and 6th place and in discus we earned a first place. It would have been nice to throw well and place but hey, we will take whatever we can get. I was also very pleased on how the rest of my throwers who weren’t competing helped out to have the throws run smoothly.

FRIDAY 4/20: Today we had to get our weights in. We did a speed workout so everything was done with lighter weight but faster reps. On these days, you really need to check your athletes and make sure they use the appropriate weights and proper form. When the weight is lighter, they tend to shortcut their form.

It was warm enough so we went outside and focused on the basics of the stand throws and trying to use the legs properly. I also wanted to get the kids out by 5 pm since we had a late night last night and a lot of the athletes would be competing in the Frosh-Soph Rocket Relays tomorrow. So we practiced outside until 4 pm and then went in and lifted until 5 pm and went home.

SATURDAY 4/21: Today was the Frosh-Soph Rocket Relays. It was a little bit chillier than on Thursday, but the kids had a good time. Again, I was glad to see my other throwers showed up to work and did a great job. Today I brought them all skittles for working the meet–nothing wrong with a little sugar high in the morning. For the most part the kids performed pretty well. They still are not where I think they should be at this point in the season, but I think that is more my issue than the kids’ issue. In the shot, on the guy’s side we earned 1st, 2nd and 3rd place with some pretty good tosses from my 2nd & 3rd place kids. On the girls side, we only got a 4th place finish with an okay effort. In the discus, on the girls side we won and also earned a 5th place finish, while on the guys side we also won and earned a 4th and 5th place finish. I was pleased with the efforts of all the discus throwers–I believe they all threw PR’s.

We have a make-up meet with Woodstock High School on Monday 4/23, which will be our next chance for everyone to throw. As always, I will be curious to see how they do.

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