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Paint your Disci!

Tony Dziepak, 29Apr03, revised 25May07

This article describes painting half of each discus side plate a contrasting color--either manufacturers or as a post-consumer customization.

When I say half the discusplate is a contrasting color from the other half, I mean, laying the discus flat, you see a bright semicircle and a dark semicircle. Lately, I have determined that the best visibility is obtained from any combination of these three colors: black, white, and blaze orange.

The benefits of painging your discs this way are all derived from increased visibility. They are as follows:

* Easier to see the spin of the discus. Athletes and coaches can easily compare the spin speed by the flicker rate. This provides valuable feedback, and it is also stylish and has crowd appeal.

* Safety: A discus that has contrasting colors is easy to see in the air against all background colors. In addition, the flickering colors draws it out of the background like a blinking light. If you did not see the discus from the release, it is easier to find it in mid-flight.

* Improved officiating. Because the discus is easier to see against all backgrounds, the official will be able to provide a better mark. The discus is the most difficult of all the implements to mark accurately. On hard ground, it may leave ambiguous marks--or no mark at all.

How to pait your disc: First thoroughly clean used disci, first using a dry wire brush to remove dirt, then warm soapy water and a nylon bristle scrub brush to remove remaining dirt, hand oils, and other substances. Rinse thoroughly, towel dry then air dry for 24 hours. Then cover half the discus (top and bottom) with the blue painter's masking tape and newspaper. Spraypaint the exposed sides. Use very light coats to avoid drip marks.

For metal-rim discs, you may or may not paint the rim. If not, you can either mask the rim (must cover with expensive stretchable masking or athletic tape, or lots of individual pieces of regular tape), or you can paint first, then sand off the paint from the rim (don't do if you have a good disc with a special coated rim).

I got this idea from a water depth disc. This is the disc that they lower into the lake to test water clarity. This disc is painted in quarters: two opposite quarters black, alternating with white quarters. Because the disc is spinning, contrasting halves are better than quarters--plus this is easier to paint. A variant of the two halves would be a yin-yang design, but this would also be harder to paint.

It is perfectly legal for competition for the disc to be painted this way, and the paint does not interfere with the grip.

So coaches and athletes, paint your disci!

Also see: implement maintenance tips

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