Throwing events techniques broken down

By Ed Rietveld

Throwing events in track and field can sometimes be overlooked since they are not as flashy as sprinting, but throwing athletes can make a big impact on the team scores.

There are four throwing events in track and field: shot put, which is an event during the indoor and outdoor seasons; and discus, javelin and hammer throw, events from track and field’s outdoor season. In the indoor season athletes will have a weight throw which prepares them for the hammer throw when they compete outside.

Sophomore shot-putter Sidra Sherrill said the fact that her sister also threw made her want to try it.

“The first time I threw was in second grade and I just watched the high school [team] and I started throwing there and my sister also threw before me,” Sherrill said. “She threw and she was really good, and it helped me to wanna move in that direction and I started again in middle school.”

Kevin Dwyer, the track and field assistant coach who handles the field events, said there are things he does with the throwing athletes specifically to help them improve.

“Usually we do either a technique session or we do a strength session,” Dwyer said. “In the technique session this year with the throwers, we have them understand body positioning and how to feel the positions throughout the throw…it’s not about just getting in there and throwing it as you can. It’s about getting in there and thinking about…your positioning throughout the ring and then [you need to] build solid base that way. And once they understand the basic positioning…we can really throw it far.”

Sherrill, who also throws the discus in the outdoor season, said it takes the whole body to throw the shot put effectively

“I do the glide technique, so in order to throw it well I would say you need to be able to get across the ring and strength is the big part,” Sherrill said. “Just basically getting my foot underneath me so I can use my legs to throw, like, you really need to use your legs in order to throw. Most people think that it’s just arm that you need to throw, but it’s really using your legs and your hips, getting that involved, and [using] speed in order to get the shot out.”

Sherrill said there are different methods in how somebody would throw a discus compared to how they would throw the shot put.

“Well, discus is a lot different,” Sherrill said. “Shot is a completely different technique. I don’t spin in shot put [and in] discus I spin. Discus, you can kind of compare it…it looks like a frisbee, but it’s nothing like a frisbee…. Basically I’m doing a spin and it’s coming out of my hand a lot different than what a shot put would do. So, it’s really different.”

Dwyer said the weather plays a big role in the throwing events, as compared to a more controlled environment indoors.

“Basically, it’s just the element issue right there,” Dwyer said. “So when you’re outdoors you gotta deal with the weather–the wind, the rain–you never know what it’s gonna be like that day. Indoor it’s a little more neutral you don’t have to worry about that.”