Today, San Francisco Track and Field Club hosted a Throw Clinic and I went to learn how to do Shotput and Discus. I know, this is not running. But I’ve been wanting to try. It looks more fun than just running around the track in intervals. It was raining as I left the house around 8:15. It was not warm either. So, not a perfect day to do a throw-and-fetch on the field. Anyway, I called up Bob and I met up with him and got a ride to Cox Stadium at San Francisco State University.
Most of the team members have been doing this and competed in meets. So, it was great to be in a clinic with them and gauge against them to know what level I might be. We did shotput, discus and javelin. No hammer throw, as nobody really wanted to do it.
The team invited Mark Marshall from Chabot College. He is an assistant coach for Chabot College Track and Field team. A good guy and gave very clear instructions what to do and what not to do; however, it was almost information overload for me and there were lots to think about and digest before I actually got to throw. I am sure there are lots more that I need to learn to be a decent thrower, but the basic techniques alone were sort of overwhelming to me.
Shotput: Since we did not have enough Olympic men’s shots for everyone, I used a 5 kg (11LB ) shot. The Olympic men’s shot is 16LB. It was recommended that I practice with the 16 pounder, but hey, I am a novice and can use a lighter one to get the form right. Again, there are lots to think: Use all 5 fingers, keep the shot behind my hip, throw with legs, keep the momentum, jump explosively just as I throw, don’t throw with the arm, and throw high, among other things that I already forgot. So here is the result.
As opposed to how Olympians do it.
Discus: Good news was that we could use the same techniques that we learned for shotput and discus is lighter (2 kg or 4 LB 7 OZ) than shot. Bad news was discus is larger (diameter of 8.66 inches) than my hand and I would want to do turns to get momentum before you throw, without mis-firing it or dropping it. I learned discus in a high school PE class and I was good at it. But I am sure I used a smaller disc back then. Mark showed us how to throw without turning, then with a half-turn, and with a full one-and-half turn. Sense of balance and body coordination plays an important role here. I kept throwing with my arm and I wasn’t able to keep my throwing arm behind my hip. Those are areas I have to work on. I don’t know how I did or looked, but they did say I was good (for a marathoner). No video of me throwing discus today. But here is how it’s done by the Olympians.
Javelin: This is a specialty of Nordic countries, so I wanted to at least try. I don’t have their height or viking-like shoulders, arms or legs. And I cannot even throw spiral with a football. So very low expectation. Also, by this time, my right shoulder and oblique were tired. As I threw a few, my jav was going all over the place, and I did not have a single throw the way a self-respecting javelin would want to fly. I decided that my shoulder is not made to throw a jav and decided to head over to shotput pit and throw some more. It’s mainly Fins and Norwegians who are good at javelin, anyways. I don’t even bother to look in Youtube how it’s done.
Overall, I had a great fun experience and am glad that I went to the clinic. I think I am going to try either shotput or discus, and hope to compete in Outgames in July this year. I won’t be running a marathon this summer, so my long-run time can be used to train one of these. Exciting! Oh, I need to buy throw shoes, too. Double exciting!