What qualities make up a good thrower? There are several qualities that make up a good thrower, those being; speed, strength, aggression, grace, coordination, hard work and dedication. The last one being one of the more important ones, as being a good thrower, one must have the self-drive and determination to ask questions, as well as have the drive and enthusiasm to learn and study the event on their own.
Speed and strength can go together since they are relative. The more strength that one may have the greater the ability is to develop speed through various exercises (sprints, lifts, and technique). Speed in the throwing events is both horizontal and vertical (through linear, rotational, and vertical forces). For example, in the hammer the stronger the athlete is the more force and speed that can be applied on the hammer. In the linear sense, when the athlete is moving the ball forward through the first winds and turns in the circle, the athlete is accelerating the ball horizontally through both rotational and linear movements. After understanding the horizontal forces one must understand the vertical force in the hammer, and this is shown with the orbit of the ball throughout the circle.
While moving the ball in the orbit a 16 pound hammer may produce a ground reaction force in excess of 700 pounds, which is where the strength comes into play, since the hammer is now exerting a great force on the thrower. A force of 700 pounds that is placed on the ground (ground reaction force) must have an equal force that will be in the opposite direction, thus the greater the speed and force you place on the hammer ball in a downward fashion, the athlete will than generate the same force in the opposite or upward direction (Newton’s Third Law of Motion). In order to benefit from this the release angle of the hammer must be optimal. Thus by accelerating the hammer throughout the circle the athlete is gaining velocity. The shape of the orbit, by having both a high point and low point is creating great force do the accelerating nature that the velocity is placing on the ball as it is moving from high to low. If the athlete can not control both speed and strength in this event, then the attempt is futile.
A second quality that is important to look for while trying to find and develop a good thrower is aggression and the ability to harness it in the right circumstances. In the throwing events you would like to heighten your senses to produce a great amount of reaction to the throw, however, you need to be aware of the anxiety that is also produced and learn how to overcome this. Aggression is also beneficial for a thrower since hopefully the athlete will show an interest and eagerness in getting into the circle and wanting to throw each day. A thrower that has that drive and desire will be an excellent thrower, since the amount that you put into an event, the more you will get out of it. In the first form of aggression which concerned the athlete’s ability to be aggressive during meet situations, it is important to understand how to harness this for the throw.
In the throwing events one must utilize their speed and agility as was previously mentioned, in order to produce better gains in the event. The more speed or velocity that is placed on the implement, the further that it will travel this also has to do with release angle; however, a thrower will not approach the throws in a passive manner if gains would like to be met. The second form of aggression comes into play during a track and field meet; this form of aggression gives the athlete the vision of winning. However, with this aggression comes the need to have control or else the aggressive attitude will get the better of the athlete. Emotional control for the athlete will raise the anxiety level to a positive range in which the athlete can have a positive performance. With envisioning the perfect throw or sequence of throws, the athlete can than perform a track meet in their head and make themselves ready to throw and aggressive into the circle. Envisioning the throw will be talked about in the next paragraph.
The last attribute that makes a track and field athlete a good thrower is the eagerness to learn the event and become a student of the art. By becoming a student of the event, than the athlete chooses to make track and field a way of life. By having this much understanding of the throws than the individual can provide the much needed feedback to the coach that may be missing from an observational standpoint. The athlete becomes a student of the event by learning outside of practice, becoming knowledgeable of the subject through books, videos, magazines, journals, and first hand experiences. The ability to provide such feedback to the coach is an important one as coaches may need to know how a throw felt, so that corrections may take place. Also through studying the event the athlete can have an awareness of how a perfect throw will feel as was previously mentioned, however, this time both in actuality and through visualization which can help with the emotional control. The athlete can be a student by eagerly participating in practices; this is achieved by listening to the coach, watching other athletes perform the task, and asking and challenging the coach in an inquisitive way that may benefit both the athlete and coach.
In conclusion after reading this chapter, one may see that there are many qualities that make up a good thrower. One quality alone is not good enough to make a thrower an exceptional one, however, all of these qualities working together will benefit the athlete, coach and program. As expressed the athlete should not only rely on speed, since strength shall also need to be involved, nor should the athlete solely rely on being a student of the sport as they may over think the throw, and loose out on the aggressive behavior needed in these events. Lastly if the coach can help the athlete sum all of these qualities into their experience than the athlete and coach will be see success. Be honest, set goals (short and long), visualize and hard work, a thrower with these qualities will go a long way.