The Throws course went ahead, despite the weather on Sunday, 28th November.

Chris Black (Olympic Hammer Thrower) gave an entertaining but very informative chat about throws, ably backed by Derek Kasselstrand (USA Discus Thrower). Unfortunately, we had to advise Robert Wilkie (Top Javelin Coach) not to take the risk of travelling through from Helensburgh due to the snow conditions. Robert is keen to come through to Meadowbank for a workshop in the New Year.

Chris and Derek both strongly advised the coaches attending that the first priority to ensure that young athletes became top Senior Athletes was to spend more attention on correcting technique rather than spending the time making the athletes stronger. A strong young athlete will get quick results but if the technique is poor they will not progress to good senior level.  Chris displayed a number of videos of top throwers and highlighted the faults especially of how many were “off balance” when competing. Chris and Derek explained that many throwers were confused by understanding what coaches tried to teach them. Coaches often ask athletes to put their weight on “one foot / leg or the other” when they actually meant that the “forces” should be applied through the foot. Changing the weight leads the athlete to being off balance and not being in a position to execute a good throw / putt. Another major error is athletes are looking at the ground when they are about to release the implement which again interfered with the performances.               
Poor performances are often related to the timing of the various aspects of the throw, young athletes always seem to be in a hurry to get rid of the implement rather than wait until the full range is completed.

Chris and Derek both showed their knowledge and experience was very valuable and must be shared if the standard of throws is to be improved. Scotland has never produced a Commonwealth Medallist at the Commonwealth Games, we would hope that this will improve for the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

Bill Walker, Head Coach EAC, had commented that most of the points raised at this workshop would also apply to all the other athletic disciplines and he was pleased to see five of the coaches attending were “non-throws” coaches.
Bill Walker


  • Scott Reed

    Terrific input from Chris and Derek. I certainly learned a lot from the session, particularly regarding balance posture and head position.
    Hopefully they’ll both do another session again soon when the weather is better.

    Just one point, I think I was right when I said that Meg Ritchie was the last Scottish athlete to win a Commonwealth games medal. Chris got his on the 3rd October 1982 and Meg won hers the next day on 4th October…. but don’t say anything to Chris…. he’s much bigger than me!

    • Chris Nelson

      I would just like to thank all of those who braved the cold snap of recent times to attend the throws workshop presented recently by Chris Black and Derek Kasstlestrand. Both throws coaches parted with valuable knowledge for shot putt, discus, hammer and javelin but also knowledge that wouldn’t be out of place in any other aspect of athletics. After a comprehensive seminar style presentation from Chris and Derek a practical workshop was given to put theory in to practice….‘Seeing is believing’. To break the workshop down further, the seminar consisted of video analysis of, in the main part, hammer throwing and one of the main threads that emerged was the confusion between what coaches may say, what they mean and how your athlete may interpret it, just something to think about. During the practical workshop, the throws were broken down comprehensively allowing us to see issues which are prevalent with youngsters learning to throw today. Both Chris and Derek, not exactly miniscule in stature men, also illustrated the point of refining technique then moving on to a more strength based practice as they both believe there is always time to get stronger but bad technique will prevent progress. To summarise then, a very valuable day where I think all involved left with a much sounder knowledge base for coaching throws and to the athletes present today. The only disappointment was Robert Wilkie was not able to travel through from the West due to the treacherous road conditions, but we were assured he is keen to come through at a later date. Chris wished the young athletes all the best and reminded them that they signed their commitment with a solid ‘high five’ of Chris’s bear hand so see them in 2014.
      Chris Nelson

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