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The Thrower's Page


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High School
Wt. pentathlon


Thrower's Page Frequently Asked Questions

I made this FAQ to handle common repeat questions. Please just check these questions before you e-mail me.

My email address is dziepak "at" gmail "dot" com.

1. Can you give coaching tips, advice, or suggestions for a high school thrower who doesn't have a good coach?

It is a sad fact that quality throws coaching in HS is few and far between. However, I cannot be your on-line coach. I work full-time and I am also working on my PhD in economics, so I don't have time. Second, it is difficult to efficiently help you to improve without looking at you. You really need live, personal interaction. I have recently started to produce a training section, which spells out the basics of technique and conditioning for throwing.

Keep an open mind to all advice. Stick with the basics in HS, and don't take any one person's coaching as scripture. Seek out all opportunities to extend your knowledge, such as summer camps and clinics. Read books, and get some videos. This is not football, where all you have to do is blindly follow the orders of your coach. In throwing, you have to make things happen. You have to plan your overall strategy, and you have to understand why you are doing what you are doing.

For specific questions, I recommend The Ring message board. There are many notable throwers and coaches that frequent The Ring. For javelin questions, refer to the Javelin discussion forum. has excellent technique analysis.

2. I am an xx in high school. My throws are yy and zz. How good is this; is this good enough to get a scholarship at the Div. I level? What are the top college throwing programs?

It is very subjective to say what is a good distance. Refer to my Thrower's College Guide.

3. I am an xx in high school from yy. Do you know of any summer camps or clinics in my area?

Track and Field News, lists summer camps on their website. It is posted annually in late April. Also refer to DyeStat, the premier HS track site.

4. I am from a xx school in the yy area. Our athletic teams aren't the greatest (or we don't have a good throws coach). I just started throwing the zz and am looking for someone who can possibly coach me during the summer. Do you have any suggestions or reccommendations. Also I am looking to hire a private coach for my son/daughter.

I do not know of any coaches. I recommend inquiring at DyeStat, the premier HS track site. I also recommend inquiring at USATF and looking for the youth coordinator or contacts through the local associations. There may be clubs, although most clubs are grared primarily towards running. Most youth clubs are not very comprehensive. Typically, they are either urban clubs that cover sprints and relays, with a sprinkle of long jump, or they are suburban distance-running clubs. I also recommend summer camps and clinics (see #3, above).

Finally, I recommend anyone not doing another fall sport, getting involved with organized weightlifting during the fall season. Many boys are probably doing football during the fall, and some women are doing another fall sport, like volleyball. These are great activities, developing explosive power and coordination. However, another option is to do an olympic lifting cycle and prepare for a competition or two in the fall. There are a lot of opportunities for youth and juniors in weightlifting. Contact USATF. Try to get involved with a club, like East Coast Gold. They have coaches that will instruct proper technique and training methods, which are essential in olympic weightlifting.

Competitive powerlifting is another option, but I think that olympic lifting has more to offer for the thrower. There are various powerlifting federations. You might just enter a competition in whatever federation that local competition is operating under. Don't worry about which federation is drug-free, and don't worry about the competition. Just set your own goals and try to achieve them.

5. How much does that thing weigh?

Men's shot and hammer: #16 (7.26kg) all college and olympics, and #12 (5.44 kg) high school. In "junior" competition (US and world), they use 6 kg (#13.23), and they use 5 kg (#11.02) in world "youth" competition. In the US, boys youth use a #6 up to age 12, a 4K ages 13-14, and a #12 for ages 15-18. Women's shot and hammer are 4K (8.82lbs) for all levels except a #6 shot for US youth up to age 14. Women's disc: 1K all levels; men's: 1.6K high school; 2K in college and beyond, 1.75 kg in "junior" championships, and 1.5 kg in world youth championships. High school boys throw a #25 weight in high school , then a #35 weight in college and beyond. Women throw a #20 weight at all levels. Masters implement weights decrease with age starting at age 50. For more on implement specs, check rulebooks online at and

6. I am doing a report on shot put/discus/hammer/javelin throwing for my gym class. I need the info on how it all started in the Olympics.

The discus and the javelin throw were in the ancient (Greek) olympics, which were held during B.C. times. Then they were discontinued and not contested again until 1896, when they were revived with the first modern era olympic games in 1896 A.D. There have also been various javelin and spear throwing both for distance and accuracy in other cultures throughout the world.

The shot put and the hammer throw (as well as the weight throw) have their origin in Celtic games; they were not held in the ancient Greek olympics. The shot put, hammer throw and weight throw were adopted into modern track and field via the Caledonian games of the 19th century. So they predated the first modern olympics. The shot was refined from the stone put, where you put an actual round stone. The hammer throw was a sledge hammer with a wooden handle. The weight throw was just a solid piece of iron with a ring handle attached to it with a chain. There are still these traditional events held in Scottish highland games.

The ancient greek discus was heavier, larger, and flatter. It may have been almost like a small shield. They do an antique discus throw at the Rudlingen International throwers meet. I don't know where the modern discus specifications were taken from, but they have been constant since 1896.

The javelins of the first modern olympics were almost identical to the ancient javelins, with a solid wood body and a metal tip. However, the ancient olympic javelins had Thongs instead of a cord grip. The things were two leather loops attached to the javelin. You stuck your first two fingers in the thongs. As you followed through, your fingers would slip out of the thongs. hollow metal javelins replaced solid wood javelins sometime between the 1950s and 1970s, I think.

7. I need to do a report on the history of the xx for class. Can you give me any more references on this athlete or event?

I do not have any other information that is not already up on my page. I have all of the major throwing links that I know of, but there's certainly more up there. So refer to my links, and do your own Google searches.

8. How important are throwing shoes?

My opinion is you don't need specialty throwing shoes in high school for shot, disc, or javelin. For shot and disc, you can use any flatbottom shoes. You would want to use a shoe that has a fairly low profile and little or no traction. Indoor soccer shoes are OK, worn tennis shoes, cross-training shoes, or even skateboard shoes. You would want to avoid running shoes.

For javelin, you would want to get some spikes. Any spikes from Play it Again Sports store plus a javelin heel to add spikes to the heel, or high jump spikes. If your runway is on the grass, you can wear football/soccer cleats or baseball spikes.

If you want to throw hammer in high school, then you can really benefit from throwing shoes, but they are not essential. The reason is you are turning on the edge of your foot, so you want the sides of the foot to be curved up. That is the basic characteristic of hammer throwing shoes. I would say to buy the cheapest you can find of the hammer shoes. Those same shoes can also be used for shot and discus; however, if they are very rounded, you could lose some stability in the glide shot. It might be preferable to keep a pair of flatter shoes for the glide shot.

It is also a good habit to come to practice in running shoes, and carrying your throwing shoes in a small gym bag. You want to always do some running, agilities, or other warmup exercises in running shoes first. Then when you get to the ring, change into your throwing shoes. This will prolong the life of your throwing shoes, which will wear holes if you walk around in them on the concrete and asphalt roads and sidewalks. Throwing shoes can be expensive to replace. Even if they you throw in flatbottom sneakers, you want to carry them separate because you want to warmup in running shoes.

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