Jon and I went down to Sutcliffe Park in South London for our hammer and discus training with Craig Lacy and Richard Houlihan.
Craig got the discus session of to a good start by telling us that discus throwers don’t really peak until their 30s and 40s and that they’re not too keen on energetic warm ups. So instead of lots of running and stretching, we played ‘Remot’e which involved Craig shouting out various commands : ‘Play’ – a gentle jog ; ‘Fast forward’ – sprinting on the spot ; ‘Rewind’ – jogging backwards ; and ‘Pause’ – jumping up and down on the spot.
Thoroughly warmed up, we started on the intricacies of discus throwing. The first thing to realise is that you don’t grip the discus. Instead you rely on centrifugal force to keep it in your hand. The second thing to realise is that it won’t go very far unless you release it at the right angle and use the tip of your index figure to impart spin upon release. Otherwise, as Jon and I demonstrated on numerous occasions, it’s easy to put in quite an effort and then see the discus wobble out to about 10 metres.
Having learnt the basic throwing technique, we then focussed on building up throwing speed by turning in the circle. On the face of it, this isn’t too complicated but turning at speed while retaining your throwing technique isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ve also got to release the discus through a fairly narrow gap in the throwing cage or see all your effort disappear into the netting. The more positive thing I can say about my discus throwing is that I’d like to have a few more goes…
Next up was the hammer which we kept relatively simple by cutting out the body turns and just trying to build up speed using three swings of the hammer around the body. Again the angle and timing of release is vital if you want avoid the netting and achieve any distance. Plenty of height is key.
Eventually Jon and I got the hammer out beyond 31 metres which seemed reasonably good – at least compared to our more modest discus efforts. More importantly we’d both discovered (yet another) sport that we loved and wanted to go on with in the future.
If my attempts to master these events has impressed you, even just a little, then please show your support here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DansGoldChallenge
Many thanks as always to GLL for the venue and the coaching – it was a great session!