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Athletes get top tips from star coach

PUBLISHED: 18:44 11 August 2010 | UPDATED: 10:03 16 September 2010

DUE to funding provided by England Athletics, Thetford AC throws coaches Gary Howe and Craig Bloomfield were both able to attend a discus training camp in Sweden at the beginning of July.

DUE to funding provided by England Athletics, Thetford AC throws coaches Gary Howe and Craig Bloomfield were both able to attend a discus training camp in Sweden at the beginning of July.

The coaches were accompanied by two 16-year-old junior female athletes of a regional standard - Georgina Howe and Megan Thomas.

The camp was run by one of the world's leading throws coaches - Vésteinn Hafsteinsson.

He is best known as coach to Gerd Kanter of Estonia, the 2008 Olympic discus champion.

The favourable summer climate, along with the excellent indoor and outdoor throwing facilities, makes Växjö a superb 'all year round' training venue.

Gary and Craig were given the opportunity to observe a number of Vésteinn's world-class throwers in action, which included: Demark's Kim Christensen and Nick Petersen, Niklas Arrhenius from Sweden, Navdeep Dhaliwal from Great Britain and Märt Israel from Estonia.

Vésteinn provided the coaches with detailed technical, practical and theoretical guidance on his training philosophies and coaching methods and use of video analysis for effective coaching. Also included was a strength and conditioning workshop and detailed technical analysis and feedback on effective and rhythmical discus throwing.

Practical discus sessions with the two young discus throwers who travelled with Gary and Craig covered a number of key areas including warm-ups, drills, fault diagnosis, rhythm development, explanation of the technical discus model and the 'wake-up call' session.

Vésteinn stressed the need to keep as close to the chosen throwing event as possible in order to build skill, specific strength and throwing expertise. At least 30 to 40 throws a day for aspiring throwers was recommended.

For junior athletes no specific programmes are recommended, instead, they are encouraged to have all-round development, they should be given a wide exposure to all types of athletic events.

Interestingly, standing throws are not really encouraged at a young age, as young athletes tend to find them boring.

Getting athletes to rotate in the circle as soon as possible is recommended as it is normally much more exciting. Junior athletes should enjoy the art of throwing.

Exposure to the fun and games element of this was demonstrated by spinning the discus vertically for height as well as throwing discus along the ground in a skimmer style for distance.

From ages 15 to 18, organised training plans are recommended for those athletes starting to show both promise and a more in-depth competitive interest in throwing.

Another area discussed at the camp was the use of the 'wake-up call' session which is normally undertaken 24 hours (though this period can be longer depending on travel times to meetings) before a competition.

The 'wake-up call' session is a series of throws at different intensities in order to awaken both the body and mind in preparation for the forthcoming competition and can be followed by a short Olympic lifting session in the weight room.

This session has been proved to work and is used on a regular basis prior to any competition.

Both coaches wish to acknowledge the support, guidance and assistance provided by both Vésteinn Hafsteinsson and England Athletics.

As part of the England Athletics Local Coach Development Programme, Gary and Craig will be delivering a number of sessions over the winter which will provide a further opportunity to pass on some of the information gained during their visit to Sweden.

For further information Gary or Craig can be contacted on gary.howe@uk.zurich.com or craig.bloomfield99@yahoo.co.uk


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