Step-By-Step Discus Throw Technique

To throw the discus with the proper technique, you must complete one-and-a-half rotations in the ring, even though you actually move forward in approximately a straight line, from the back of the ring to the front. Proper footwork is vital to produce the speed necessary for a strong throw. Beginning throwers should perform standing throw drills before attempting full throws. The following steps assume a right-handed thrower.

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A competitor grips his discus during the 1997 World Championships. Note how his fingertips extend over the side of the discus. He'll spread out his fingers before beginning the throw.
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Put your non-throwing hand beneath the discus for support. Your throwing hand (including the thumb) is on top of the discus with your fingers evenly spread. The top knuckle of your four fingers (not the thumb) should touch the rim, with your fingertips over the sides. Alternatively, you can place your index and middle fingers together while evenly spacing the remaining fingers.

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Jarred Romes prepares to throw at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
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Face away from your target. Stand in the back of the ring with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your knees and waist slightly bent.

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Wind up

Kris Kuehls winds up for a throw during the 2003 U.S. Championships.
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Hold the discus high in front of your left shoulder. Swing the discus back toward your right shoulder. This action can be repeated once or twice, if necessary, to establish a rhythm.

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Starting the Throw

American Mac Wilkins competes at the 1988 Olympics.
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Rotate your torso clockwise, bringing the discus as far back as you can, holding it in your throwing hand only (if the target is at 12 o’clock, you should end up facing 9 or 10 o’clock). Your non-throwing arm should be pointed in the opposite direction as your throwing arm. Keep your throwing hand as far from your body as possible throughout the throw. Your weight is on your right foot. Your left heel is off the ground.

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Beginning the Turn to the Center of the Ring

Virgilijus Alekna pivots on his left foot as he begins a throw during the 2004 World Athletic Final. Note how his outstretched left arm counterbalances his throwing arm.
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Begin rotating your shoulders in the direction of the throw as you shift your weight to your left foot, then pick your right foot up and swing it around the left. Pivot on the ball of your left foot as you spin toward the center of the ring.

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Completing the Turn to the Center of the Ring

Before Mac Wilkins' right foot has reached the center of the circle, he's already pushed off with his left.
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Just before your right foot lands in the center of the ring, push off with your left foot and continue pivoting toward the front of the ring.

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Turn to the Power Position

Kimberley Mulhall has pivoted on her right foot as her left leg moves toward the front of the ring.
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Pivot on your right foot, swinging the left leg to the front of the ring. Your left foot should land outside of the right. If you drew a line from your right foot to the target, your left foot should be slightly left of the line.

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Power Position

Note how Dani Samuels' left side is firm as she prepares to throw the discus.
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Assume the power position, with your left side, planted and firm, and your left arm pointing forward. Your weight should be shifting from your right side to your left. Your throwing arm should be behind you, outstretched, with the discus at about hip level.

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Lomana Fagatuai completes a throw during the 2008 World Junior Championships. The index finger is the last part of the thrower's hand to touch the discus.
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Continue shifting your weight forward as you pivot your hips. Bring your arm up at approximately a 35-degree angle to release the discus. The discus should leave your hand smoothly off the index finger with your hand at about shoulder height. Follow through, rotating to your left to remain in the ring and avoid fouling.