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How to throw harder like Valerie Adams

Inspired after Val’s Olympic silver medal shot put throwing prowess? So are we! Okay, so you may not want to do something quite as intense as throw a shot put through the air (which is technically pushing it into the air rather than throwing anyway…), but there are some thing you can do to improve your throwing technique for other activities.

Whether you’re just playing fetch at the park with your dog, working towards a throwing goal at the gym or you play a sport that needs you to get a ball from A to B hard and fast, there are a number of things you can do to strengthen your throw. While genetics and natural ability do play a part, if you’ve ever been told you ‘throw like a girl’, we’ve got some training tips that will help you improve:

Strengthen your body!

To throw stronger, you need to put your whole body into it. Try starting off with one foot forward and your other foot back (the one on the side you’re throwing). Your abdominal area should twist and ‘wind up’ your body to bring your throwing arm and shoulder behind you.

As your throwing arm comes forward, step through with your back foot, extend your arm fully and release the ball. Slow motion it if you need to until your technique feels right and if stepping through is putting you off balance, give it a go with your feet about shoulder width apart, firmly planted on the ground.

A short sharp exhale as you bring your arm from back to front may help engage your core muscles as well, which will get more strength behind your throw. If you can’t find a partner to do this with, and your dog isn’t that great at bringing anything back, you can always practice up against a wall.

You can also strengthen arms, core and shoulders by doing weight bearing strength exercises such as tricep dips and push ups. However, you don’t need to be really strong to throw hard and fast – as long as you put your body behind it. Try throwing weighted balls such as a small medicine ball, so that when you go to throw something lighter it will be easier.

Practice makes perfect

Still not happening for you? Do some self analysis on your technique to figure out what’s going wrong. At what point is it happening? Does your beginning stance feel off? Does your core feel engaged? Is it going in the right direction when you release the ball?

Nothing gets better without practice, so get out there and give it a go. If you really want to improve, you should practice throwing every day. It’s normal for one throwing arm to be a bit weaker than the other, so try practicing with both so that your other arm sees some action.

Photo / Flickr – Stuart Seeger

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