Category Archives: Discus

Out of the Back, German Style

I’ve been coaching high school discus throwers for nearly 25 years, and I’ve spent a great deal of that time trying to figure out how to get them out of the back of the ring on balance.

We all know what it looks like when they fail at this. The head leading the way . The right foot stomping down in the middle of the ring so hard as to nearly crack the concrete. The discus whanging off the right support post. The embarrassment. The shame.  The utter futility of it all.

The “American” approach to dealing with this matter has been to get the right foot off the ground as soon as possible when setting up to run the ring.  Here is Casey Malone demonstrating that concept:

malone wind

malone left

Notice that when his left foot is turned 90 degrees to the direction of the throw, his right toes are off the ground. His right leg then leads him to the middle of the ring with the disc trailing behind:

malone wide

By getting his right foot off the ground quickly (before the left has rotated past 90 degrees) Casey has set himself up to run the ring on balance.

Here is the fine American rotational shot putter Joe Kovacs demonstrating the same approach:

joe 1

photo (24)

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The logic here (and it has worked quite well for these two gentlemen) is that getting the right foot moving as early as possible prevents the upper body from getting ahead and pulling the thrower off balance.

I have come to understand, however, that the Germans (who have done quite well for themselves in the discus over the past 30+ years) have a different philosophy regarding getting out of the back of the ring.

They emphasize keeping the right foot grounded at the back as long as possible. Take a look at these photos of Robert Harting:


photo (19)

See how far his left foot has turned while his right toes are still in contact with the ground?


By the time his right foot leaves the concrete, his left foot is nearly facing the direction of the throw.

He is perfectly on balance then as the right leg sweeps around…



…and leads him into the throw:

robert 3

The intention here is to use the “late” push-off of the right foot to create a stretch in the hips and thighs that will lend momentum to the right leg so that it may more easily sweep ahead coming out of the back.


Here is Sandra Perkovic using a similar approach:

perk 3


perk 5

Look how far her left heel has turned while her right toes maintain contact with the ground.

When the right foot finally leaves the concrete…

perk 4

…it carries a lot of force…


…which can be transferred into the throw.

It seems to me, that this “leave the right foot down and turn the crap out of the left” approach can also be used in the rotational shot. Take a look at these photos of Stipe Zunic:


Unlike Kovacs, Stipe’s right foot is still on the ground as his left foot turns 90 degrees from the direction of the throw.



It is only when the left foot has turned past that 90-degree point that the right foot pushes off. Notice the distance between Stipe’s knees here. He has created a lot of tension in his hips/thighs that will lend impetus to that right leg when it sweeps ahead out of the back.

The question here is can a young thrower be trusted to leave the right foot in place long enough to develop a significant stretch in the hips and thighs without letting the upper body pull ahead and bollix up the throw?

The answer is yes, provided that you teach that young thrower to push his/her hips forward and to the left as they begin their entry, and to keep their head calm.

Take a look at this still from a vid of Jurgen Schult giving a clinic somewhere in France. When demonstrating the proper method of getting out of the back of the ring, Jurgen emphasizes that the hips must be pushed forward…


…and not allowed to slide back:



This keeps the thrower on balance and creates the desired tension in the hips and thighs.




sandra back

…and Robert…

robert back


…all do an excellent job of pushing their hips forward prior to entry as a way of staying on balance and creating that powerful hip/thigh stretch.

In working with my athletes on this, I have found that putting an emphasis on pushing the hips forward and keeping the right foot grounded until the left heel has turned as far as it possibly can has solved a lot of the head-yanking problems that typically plague young throwers.

Keeping the right foot down is certainly no cure-all for the many problems that can arise during the entry phase. Last winter I asked Robert’s coach, Torsten Schmidt, how they chose which discus ring to use when throwing at the Berlin training center (they have half-a-dozen or so from which to choose). He said that he and Robert liked to throw from a certain ring from which a tree is visible when setting up at the back of the ring. Robert uses this tree as a focal point to try to keep his head slow and calm during the entry phase.

My advice to throwing coaches at all levels? Tree or no tree, teach your throwers to push their hips forward as they unwind and to leave that right foot down until their left foot has turned until it can turn no more.

Can the current men’s and women’s Olympic discus gold medalists and the newly crowned indoor NCAA men’s shot champion be wrong?

Not. Likely.



The German Power Position

So I chase poor Torsten Schmidt from Zurich to Berlin to Bradenton, Florida to try to figure out why the Germans are so good at the discus and what concepts I can steal from them to help my high school throwers, and my pursuit leads me to a discus cage at the IMG academy on a perfect 70-degree evening and I’m watching Robert Harting take standing throws and–astute observer that I am–I notice that he is not throwing the way I teach my guys to throw.

So when Robert goes out to retrieve his discs, I ask Torsten why Robert sets up with his feet like this:


I’ve always told my guys to point both feet 90-degrees to the direction of the throw when they wind up for a stand, but Robert set up with his feet pointed out, almost like one might in a sumo-style dead lift. (This still is taken from a vid of a full throw, but it accurately depicts his setup for a stand.)

Torsten explained that this position created optimal tension in the hips and set up the thrower to drive the right hip out (“out” in this case being towards the viewer of this picture).

I believe that Torsten told me that the thrower should leave the left foot at this angle during the windup for a stand throw, even though Robert turns his left foot 180-degrees from the throwing direction when he winds.

Two things here. One, Robert has a lot of habits that he developed before Torsten became his coach in the fall of 2013, and when  you have been as successful as he has you might be inclined to hang on to some of your habits in spite of a coaching change. Two, though Torsten’s English is very good and getting better all the time, I speak not a word of German so the risk of a communication breakdown is ever present.

So when I talk about Torsten’s discus philosophy, I am kind of like an archeologist who has spent a lot of time digging around at Pompeii. I know a heck of a lot more than I did before the dig, but do I have the complete picture? Not likely.

That said, since returning from Bradenton I have coached my kids to keep their left foot in that “sumo” or “duck-footed” position when winding for a stand and I think it has really helped them.

What is the biggest mistake that most young throwers make?  They try to create power by yanking their head. This pulls their upper body past their hips and results in weak, pansie-man throws down the right sector line.

So far, it seems like the cues of keeping the feet in the sumo position while winding and then driving the hip out towards the cage have helped to eliminate chronic head-yanking from the power position among my throwers.

Torsten explained one more aspect of a successful power position throw: the thrower should sweep the disc out and around that protruded hip. This absolutely prevents the head-yank, and lets the thrower move the disc through the longest possible path. Here is Robert demonstrating.

He hits a sumo-style power position…


…drives his right knee/hip towards the cage…


…and sweeps the disc waaaay out and around that right hip.


Torsten told me that even when Robert does not execute properly coming out of the back of the ring, he almost always finds a way to right the ship and produce an excellent finish to the throw.

Hopefully, this provides insight into how he does it.

Perkovic at the Euro Championships


In an earlier post, I started to write about what makes Sandra Perkovic such a great thrower. Then I got sidetracked by my affection for Betty Heidler.

Time to get back to the Croatian Sensation.

The picture above is one I took at the European Championships in Zurich last August.  That’s Sandra conferring with her boyfriend and coach Edis Elkasevic just before her one and only prelim throw.

That throw of 63.93m easily surpassed the automatic qualifying mark ( 60m, I think) and was a great example of what an elite thrower needs to do in the preliminary rounds: Get it done early without expending much energy.

The weather on the day of the finals was fantastic, and as this was the biggest competition of the year for Sandra (there being no Olympics or World Championships) I anticipated a big throw from her.

My ticket for that session was behind the cage probably 30 rows up, but after my experience with the men’s discus final (the television cameras blocked my view from that angle) I staked out a standing room spot to the right of the cage where I could actually see the throwers throw.

While waiting for the women’s disc to begin, I happened to notice a rather large gentleman with a familiar profile standing nearby. He is the father of two world class men’s discus throwers. Can you tell who?


Hint: One of his sons dates a competitor in the women’s discus final.

During the discus warmups, a woman walked up to me and held out her ticket, saying something about the view. I thought she was commiserating with me about being stuck in the standing room section, so I just nodded and smiled.

Turns out, she was leaving and wanted to give me her ticket, which was for a seat about 20 rows up on the right side of the cage–a great spot!

Here is the video I took from that seat:

Not a bad angle, eh?

Anyway, Perkovic did not disappoint.

She opened at 64.58m, sealed the win with her next throw of 67.37m, and then crushed any hope anyone might have entertained of an upset with a round three 68.78m.

During the pause prior to the final three throws, I was faced with a decision.

This was my final day in Europe, and I was meant to share one last dinner with my brother-in-law Larry and his wife Susi at their home in southern Germany.

The women’s disc final had started late, and I had to catch a tram soon if I was going to make it to Larry and Susi’s on time.

If I left before the end of the competition, I risked missing a great throw by Perkovic.

If I stayed, I risked missing a great dinner (Susi is an amazing cook).

I decided to hang in there for one more round and then decide.

Sandra fouled her fourth round throw. I told myself that she had probably lost her focus during the break, knowing that the 68.78m would surely hold up for the win.

Based on that calculation, I headed for the tram.

A few minutes later, as I waited for my connection in the main Zurich train station, I decided to kill some time by checking out the final results on my ipad mini.

Imagine my chagrin when I found out that had I stayed in my seat for another ten minutes I’d have seen the farthest women’s discus throw since 1992, Sandra’s fifth round 71.08m.

I should have known.

After her 68.78m, Sandra came over to the stands to talk to Edis and you could tell by her gestures that she was agitated that she had not thrown farther.  She clearly believed that she had a big throw in her that day, and…well, she was right.

And that’s why Perkovic means so much to our sport.

Every sport needs someone who keeps you in your seat.  J.J.Watt. Lionel Messi. Lebron James. You can’t leave a game when those guys are playing because you want to be able to tell your friends that you were there when they did something amazing.

And it is the same with Perkovic.

I can’t wait until this summer. The American Gia Lewis-Smallwood has shown that she too can make huge throws in stadiums, and with her putting the pressure on Perkovic, the World Championships should be a fantastic competition.

A quick comment on Perkovic’s technique.

It can be very difficult for a coach of young, non-elite athletes to figure out which aspects of an elite thrower’s technique are worth emulating.

The United States has recently produced three of the best shot putters ever in Adam Nelson, Reese Hoffa, and Christian Cantwell, but their technique is so idiosyncratic that it would be counterproductive for a young thrower to try to emulate them.

Perkovic’s technique is a bit idiosyncratic as well.  Not many throwers could hit a position in the middle with their head facing down like this…

perkovic middle

…without losing their balance.

I would, however, recommend emulating Sandra in the way she leads with her hip as she gets out of the back of the ring.

She does an amazing job of  getting from here…

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…to here…

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…on balance.

Another view:




See how her left armpit and hip are aligned?

Coming out of the back, she is perfectly on balance and so can run the ring aggressively without spinning out of control.

Here is a shot of her juxtaposed with Franz Kruger, who also did a great job of getting his shoulders and hips aligned out of the back:


That is an aspect of Sandra’s technique that throwers of all levels should emulate.

Here is a short vid by Mac Wilkins highlighting several aspects of Sandra’s form:

Whatever you think of her technique, take my advice. If you are at a meet where Sandra Perkovic is competing, not leave early.




What’s so great about Perkovic?

A lot, actually.


First of all, she is immensely competitive, which makes her fun to watch.

The first time I saw her throw in person was  in 2010 at the Adidas Grand Prix Diamond League meet in New York. She was only nineteen then, and had not won any big meets but you could tell she was going to be something special. It was a humid day, and the other discus throwers seemed to sag in the damp air.

Not Perkovic.

She blasted every warmup throw like she was in the Olympic final. One whanged off the cage so hard that I’m surprised it didn’t knock down the support pole.

She only threw 61m that day, with a 65m foul, but she exhibited definite  beast-like tendencies.

The next time I saw her compete in person was back in New York in 2013. This time she came in as reigning Olympic Champion but faced a major challenge from some bizarre Memorial Day weekend weather. The air was damp again, not with humidity but with freezing rain. I don’t know what the temperature was, but between the wind and the rain it felt like eleventy below.


That’s me in the blue trying not to die of hypothermia while eavesdropping on Perkovic as she confers with her boyfriend and coach Edis Elkasevic (the former NCAA shot champion for Auburn). Unfortunately, they were speaking Croatian so I understood what they were saying about as well as my daughter understands me when I try to explain to her that we can’t live at Disney World.

But language barrier aside, it was very clear that Perkovic had come to New York to win and not by a little bit.  She opened with 64m, and even though it was a Diamond League meet featuring a pretty strong group of throwers, I’d have bet my house, my car, and my entire collection of 1990’s throwing videos that  in those conditions 64m would hold up for the win.

So when the automated measuring system went on the fritz after the first round resulting in a thirty-minute delay in the competition I figured she’d withdraw or at least start throwing  like crap as any normal, immensely frustrated, half frozen human being would.

Not Perkovic.

When she is competing, Perkovic reminds me of another great athlete of Eastern European heritage–the hall of fame Chicago Bears middle linebacker Dick Butkus.

If you’ve never seen video of Butkus in his prime, check this one out:

When Butkus tackled someone, he didn’t just want to hit them hard. He wanted to kill them.

And I think Perkovic approaches discus competitions the same way.

So she did not withdraw after that ridiculous delay.  Nor did she throw like crap. Instead, she took a couple of rounds to get her bearings, then launched one 68.48m . Bam!

Here is a vid of that competition:

And here is Sandra in the interview tent afterwards. Sorry the camera keeps shaking, but my core body temperature was -2 at that point.

Anyway, more on Perkovic next time, including some thoughts on her technique.




More on Franka


Here is a nice look at the technique common among female German throwers.

Notice how Franka sets up to kick her way out of the back (photo 3), how she how she turns her right foot like crazy even before it lands in the middle (photos 4 and 5) and how far she gets her right knee ahead of  the disc as she drives into the throw (photo 8).

Here is Lars displaying those same technical points:


Lars and Franka: the finish

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So there it is.

Both have cranked their right heel/knee/hip hard into the throw, which is great, but both have pulled away with their head, which is not so great.

I suspect that the pulling away of the head can be traced back to the beginning of the throw, when both seemed to lead into the middle of the ring with their upper body and then sort of chase their head through the rest of the throw.

As previously mentioned, Lars and Franka share eight World Championship golds between them, so I don’t mean to suggest that they have lousy form.

But, if Torsten Schmidt is correct, they both use a style of throwing that is most suitable to very strong women throwing a very light disc.

The fact that Lars was able to effectively use such a technique with the 2k shows what an amazing athlete he is.

Lars and Franka

In my last post, I suggested that Franz Kruger’s technique was an excellent example of the “German style” of discus throwing for men,

I also suggested that Lars Riedel did not adhere to the German template for men but instead used a style common among German women.

Allow me to elaborate.

Here are Lars and Franka Dietszch set up to run the ring:

photo 1 (4)

I put those blue marks on there to emphasize the position of their feet. Pretty similar, eh?

Torsten Schmidt told me that it is advisable for women throwers to use a kicking action out of the back, and you can see that Franka is set up to do just that. As is Lars.

A quick note of caution to those of you who coach athletes slightly less gifted than these two (between them they won 8 World Championship gold medals). The placement of the left shoulder out past the left hip can cause balance problems that the average athlete will not be able to overcome.  Franz provides a better model for getting out of the back on balance. (See my last post).

Here are Lars and Franka beginning to run the ring:

photo 2 (2)

Do you ever read People Magazine?  They have a feature in there every week where they print two versions of the same photograph, one of which has been slightly altered and you are supposed to find the alterations. I can never do it. Both photos always look the same to me.

As is the case above.

Both have turned their left foot really far. So far that by the time they

get off it…

photo 3 (2)

…it is just about perpendicular to the direction of the throw and the right foot has almost touched down in the middle of the ring.


They both clearly emphasize an aggressive turning of the right foot and knee, although Lars has maintained a taller posture.

Here they are at right foot touch down:

photo 4

Again, Lars stays taller, but check out the angle of the right foot. It is turning like crazy as it lands. According to Torsten, This extreme turning of the right foot and hip does not work for most men as it is too hard to keep the 2k discus back while doing so. Clearly, then, Lars is not like “most men.”


Now for the final phase of the throw:

photo 1 (5)

It seems to me that the emphasis here is getting as much distance as possible between the disc and the right heel/knee/hip.  It is as if the disc is an arrow and their bodies are bows and they are trying to create massive tension in the bow before launching the arrow. I know how important this phase of the throw was to Lars, as I had the pleasure of seeing him  compete in person a couple of times and  during warmups he practiced this right knee/hip action over and over.

Okay, due to technical difficulties, I can’t get the final photo that I wanted to use to load.

Stay tuned, for the final proof that Lars Riedel, uber mensch, did in fact throw like a girl.



Did Lars Riedel Throw Like a Girl?

Why, yes he did.

I had a great time in Berlin talking about throwing with Torsten Schmidt. My sister-in-law Gay and I joined him for lunch at what the Germans call a “doner” restaurant. On Torsten’s recommendation, I ordered something that looked like a gyro and came with “double meat.”

It was excellent, and I powered it down. It would take Torsten about three hours to get through his, though, because it is hard to eat while being interrogated by a crazy American.

I had my ipad, and he patiently went over a bunch of film clips with me while Gay helped translate any difficult terms. I believe “hard ass” and “thigh” gave us the most trouble.

One idea that came up was that there is a certain style of throwing that works for women and not men. Women, according to Torsten, can do things with the 1k disc that men cannot with the 2k.

Most men, that is.

Torsten said that Lars Riedel is the only man he has seen successfully employ the “women’s” technique.

Let’s take a look.

We will start by comparing Lars with Franz Kruger, the great South African thrower who was trained to throw with a technique common to German male throwers.

This first photo shows them in pretty similar positions at the point where their left foot has turned 90 degrees as they unwind at the back of the ring:

photo 1 (3)

In this next photo, the left foot has continue to turn and the right foot has just left the ground:

photo 2 (1)



Now we start to see differences. Franz has been more patient with his head, which allows him to keep the disc back farther.

Differences are apparent in the following  photo as well. Lars has turned his left foot much father than Franz, and his aggressiveness with his head has caused his shoulders to tip towards the center of the ring:

photo 3 (1)


As the left foot leaves the back of the ring, you can see that Lars continues to lead with his head while his hips turn so aggressively that he appears to be backing into the power position:






photo 1 (2)


Franz seems to be using a focal point to slow down his head and shoulders as he sprints to the center. His hips have not turned as violently as those of Lars, but slowing the rotation of his upper body allows Franz to keep the disc way back.

Here they are as the right foot touches down in the center:

photo 2


The angle of the right foot is similar, but Franz is still focused on his focal point, so his disc stays waaaay back.

Next, the moment the left foot touches down at the front of the ring:



Both throwers have done a great job of keeping their weight back over the right foot, but look at the difference in  the position of that foot. Lars has his heel up and turning like crazy.

Franz’s right foot points almost directly towards the back of the ring.

Here they are at the moment of release:

photo (1)

Lars has done an amazing job of cranking his right heel in an effort to get separation between his right hip and the disc, but I feel like his head betrays him once again as it pulls off to the left at the very moment when it should be tipped slightly to the right to help elongate the path of the discus.

Franz has not turned his heel nearly as much, but his hips reach a similar position to those of Lars and his head, tipped slightly to the right, allows him to maximize the path of the disc (as does the slight bend in the knee of his blocking leg).

So, if we accept that Franz’s style provides a sound example of German “male” discus technique, we can see that Lars did not adhere to that template.

Next up, we compare Lars to Franka Dietzsch.

Torsten Schmidt

When I was in high school during the 1970’s, Oak Lawn (in the south suburbs of Chicago) had a powerhouse throwing program under Coach George Dunn.

I’ve never forgotten my first look at the Oak Lawn throwers. It came during an indoor meet my freshman year. I was six feet tall and weighed 150 pounds. Approximately ten of that was hair.

My PR was in the neighborhood of twenty-four feet. I wanted desperately to hit thirty feet one day, but at the time that seemed like a long way to throw a twelve-pound shot put.

Imagine my astonishment, then, when one of the Oak Lawn varsity kids (I believe his name was John Marks) bombed one out past the sixty-foot line.

That was the beginning of a long run of great putters at Oak Lawn, and also the beginning of my fascination with the German approach to throwing.

You see, Coach Dunn had somehow struck up a friendship with an East German throwing coach whose name was…Peter Tscheine. I think.

Aided by his German friend, Coach Dunn taught his putters a German-style short/long glide. I remember that one of the Oak Lawn throwers, Mike Lehmann, looked in terms of throwing technique exactly like the East German Hartmut Briesenick. Mike, by the way, ended up competing internationally and throwing over twenty-one meters.

Anyway, this German connection intrigued me and when I became a throwing coach in the early 1990’s, I tried to learn as much as possible about the German style of throwing.

Unfortunately, my sources of information were quite limited.

My first year of coaching, I brought several of my guys to Oak Lawn to have Coach Dunn take a look at them, but shortly thereafter he retired to Florida, partly I suspect because he was tired of me bombarding him with questions.

In the mid-1990’s, I met current Southern Illinois University throws coach John Smith at a big coaches clinic put on by Marty Schnorf at Eastern Illinois University. Coach Smith helped me toward what I think is a pretty good understanding of the German short/long glide, and has been a helpful advisor ever since.

Around that same time, a colleague of mine in the English department at Wheaton North High School hosted a visitor from Germany–a sixteen-year-old girl who competed in the shot and disc for her local track club.

She practiced with us for the couple of weeks that she was in town, and it was really interesting to study her glide technique–a superfast fixed feet short/long.

I didn’t learn much about the discus from her though, as she was struggling with her technique to the point where she caged most of her throws. I did, however, pick up a few German cuss words.

Also around this time, I did the smartest thing I’ve ever done and married my wife.

Before I met her, I had no one to make me laugh all the time or to rub my hair while I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 each night.

Nor had I ever been to Europe.

But that changed quickly, as Alice (my wife) had and has a brother who lives in southern Germany and a sister who lives in Berlin. The brother, Larry, lives very close to the site of a throwers only meet called Weltklasse am Rhein that used to be held each summer near the Swiss/German border.

The final edition of this meet was held in 2001, and I attended it along with my friends and fellow throws coaches Shawn Schleizer and Jim Aikens.

At that meet, we enjoyed a nice conversation with the fine South African discus thrower Franz Kruger and his coach. The coach (his name escapes me) told us that he used a German technical model when training Franz, and gave us his email address in case we wanted to ask him more questions.

I sure as heck did, but for whatever reason we could not get in touch with him after we had returned home, so my search for a German discus mentor continued.

Meanwhile, the Germans dominated international competition.

Jurgen Schult…

jurgen photo

…gave way to Lars Riedel…

lars photo

…who gave way to Robert Harting.

harting photo

By my count, the German men and women discus throwers have won 27 medals at Olympic Games and World Championships since 1987.

Americans have won 3.

I know, I know. There are a lot of reasons for this. For one, there is no NFL in Germany, so 6’6″ guys who run like deer are more likely to take up discus throwing as a career.

But there is no NFL for women, and…27-3?  Doesn’t that make you wonder?

It sure made me wonder.

Finally, two years ago my sister-in-law Gay (the one who lives in Berlin) found Jurgen Schult’s email address for me. I had met him briefly at the Weltklasse am Rhein, and he seemed like a friendly guy so I figured I’d see if I could strike up an acquaintance with him and maybe get some insight into German throwing.

It turns out he is a very nice guy, and he replied right away to my email. Unfortunately, he said that he didn’t think there was such a thing as a “German” discus technique. Every thrower has to find their own style.

(It is hard to argue with that, but…27-3?)

Even more unfortunately, Jurgen said that it was not possible to have an intelligent conversation about technique via email, especially with the language barrier. He grew up in the East, and before the wall came down they did not hear much English.

So, that was that.


My lovely wife and I hopped across the pond last August to visit Larry, and I got a chance to attend the European Championships in Zurich.

In a previous post I described my stalking of Harting’s coach at the German hotel in Zurich. Due to my panther-like quickness, he could not avoid me.

His name is Torsten Schmidt…

torsten photo

…and he competed for Germany in the Athens Olympics.

He is 39 years old and grew up in the DDR.

At the age of twelve, Torsten and his schoolmates were tested for athletic potential and because he was tall and explosive he was sent to a sports school in Rostock.

His career lasted until 2007, and in 2009 he became a coach in the German national system.

He has worked with young German standouts such as 2013 World Youth shot put champion Patrick Muller, and the Prufer brothers, Henning and Clemens.

Currently, Torsten trains Robert Harting, Cristoph Harting, and Julia Fischer in Berlin.

And that is where I sat down with him last Wednesday for a chat about German discus throwing.

Three Things I Know by Mac Wilkins

Part 1 of 3

No Secrets here…

These three high level concepts will work well as a tune up focus before the big meets in May and June. You won’t get bogged down with complex details and “forget how to throw”.

They are also concepts that can and should be mastered as part of the foundation of your technique from the beginning of your career.
1. See the Horizon to the Target
2. Work a Wide Right Leg from the Back of the circle to the Middle
3. The Right leg/hip continuously rotate into the left side block from the middle.

The three moves are good for advanced and beginning throwers as well. They are easy to grasp and execute. The trick is executing them well in the whole movement of the throw.

Each of these three concepts have many sub parts or details that can be explored and I will list a few of them. Primarily, though, I am looking at these as high level movements, positions and rhythm that can be approached with the end result in mind. Work one idea or all three per throw in training or competition.

It might be easy to dismiss these concepts as too simple or high level and move on to more detailed trivia. The advanced thrower will find endless subtlety here and increase their power and efficiency.

1. See the Horizon to the Target (throw direction)
If you can’t see the details of the horizon, where the sky meets the earth, then you are turning too fast. Slow Down!  Or get on balance so your head is more centered as you turn.  Or be more upright with your upper body posture.

Let the left side (eyes, left arm, knee and foot) lead to the target

From 10 o’clock on, (with 12 being straight out the back of the circle) the left side is a single vertical plane. (don’t let the foot/knee get ahead of or lag behind the shoulder/arm/head unit)

At the target or in the next 150 degrees, the left side slows or pauses to let the Right Leg Engine catch up and overtake it creating torque. This slowing point varies from thrower to thrower. If the left side doesn’t slow the right leg will never catch up to create torque.

Try to hold your face at the target until the right leg pulls it around to the back of the circle. This is an important key for throwers having trouble getting torque.

The throwers in this video “see the horizon” and “hold their eyes on the target” for a hot second before the right leg turns them to the back of the circle.


For over 100 video lessons from Mac Wilkins on shot and discus…