After the 2004 Olympics I somehow got my hands on a CD with clips from the men’s discus competition, and I often watched it with my throwers. That was the year that the great Virgilius Alekna opened with a titanic 69.89m toss (still the Olympic record) and walked out of the ring looking pissed because he knew that his arch nemesis Robert Fazekas was capable of beating that mark.
Fazekas did, in fact, surpass Virgilius’s record toss (what did he throw, just under 71 meters, wasn’t it?) but then ran into a bit of trouble with the anti-doping folks when they insisted on watching very carefully as he…ummm…prepared to provide a urine sample. The testers had been tipped off that Fazekas had been pulling the old switcheroo and submitting someone else’s clean urine in place of his own. Much vexed that the testers would not get out of his grill, Fazekas stormed out of the testing room and into infamy.
Also on that CD were clips of Franz Kruger showing off his long-levered fixed-feet style, the super smooth Aleksander Tammert, and a very tall young German named Torsten Schmidt.
Fast forward ten years, and I just happened to be walking through the lobby of a hotel near the Zurich airport when I spotted that tall, still remarkably fit German ambling towards the elevator.
He was in Zurich coaching 2012 Olympic champion Robert Harting and Julia Fischer (now Julia Harting) at the 2014 European Championships. Another thrower in his stable, Chris Harting, was not competing in Zurich that week, but would go on to win discus gold in Rio.
I accosted him and unleashed a barrage of questions about discus technique, which he patiently answered then and continues to patiently answer to this day.
Now married to a wonderful woman named Sanna Lönnfors (Torsten has since taken on Sanna’s last name) Torsten has agreed to share his insights on the German method of developing young discus throwers via a webinar to be offered Saturday, December 9th at noon Central Standard Time.
Roger Einbecker (my partner in crime with this website and with our webinars) and I rehearsed Torsten’s webinar yesterday, and I can tell you, it is going to be fascinating to anyone who trains teenage discus throwers.
One clip that Torsten shared with us was of a young thrower he is currently training performing discus steps in a gym while holding a small weight plate. It is the kind of drill that many of us have our athletes do, but Torsten has an approach to it that coaches will find really, really interesting.
Roger and I agreed afterwards that we could have spent the better part of an hour just asking Torsten questions about that clip.
And that is just one segment of what promises to be a super informative presentation.
Attendees will be able to submit questions throughout the webinar. It will last somewhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
Afterwards, a video of the presentation will be posted to Coach Tube, where those who have paid the $30 registration fee will be given access to it at no additional charge.
The webinar will be limited to 100 attendees.
I hope you can join us!