You need more than Herculean strength to be a good thrower. "Agility and footwork are huge," says Don Babbitt, strength and conditioning coach to Reese Hoffa, one of the best shot putters heading into the Beijing Olympics.
"Throws happen from the ground up," Babbitt explains, "and some of the most successful throwers are surprisingly agile, fast and quick of foot." However, before you can develop proper agility for the circle, you need to gain some flexibility, which will consistently lead to longer throws.
Babbitt helps his throwers recruit the proper flexibility and coordination by training them with a hurdle mobility circuit, which many sprinters use. Try this out once a week before or after practice to gain flexibility that will boost your throwing numbers.
Hurdle Mobility Circuit
Perform two times, making sure to repeat any directional drill to the opposite side.
Setup: Line up six to 10 hurdles back-to-back, high enough so that walking over them is a challenge but not a struggle.
• Walk over hurdles; lead leg, then trail leg
• Walk backwards over all hurdles
• Walk forward over two hurdles, then step backward over one. Repeat pattern
• Step over first hurdle; step under next. Repeat pattern
• Step forward over first hurdle; slowly pivot right 180 degrees and step over next. Repeat pattern
• Face left so hurdles are to your right; walk laterally over hurdles
• Turn left 90 degrees; step laterally over first hurdle; pivot 180 degrees and step over next. Repeat pattern
Adaptation: Perform drill holding medicine ball overhead or with hands locked together behind head
Coaching points: Make sure you can feel this in your legs // Keep your head and arms still throughout the drill // Avoid extraneous movements // Concentrate on having proper posture // All movements should be fluid // Make sure to adjust hurdles accordingly if working with teammates of different heights
Benefits: Increases a thrower's rotational balance and agility // Develops hip fluidity // Promotes coordination and mimics movements required when throwing // Strengthens core and lower body
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