Everything we do in our lives is based on habits.
Deeply ingrained habits.
Habits done tens of thousands of times over the years they have
become part of our actual being and our chemical make-up.
There are different levels of habits. This is how I look at it.
Some habits are so ingrained there is no way to change them.
Some aren’t done as often and can be changed with lots of practice.
At the lowest level, we try to make things habits but because we just
started doing them, we have a very long way to go.
The way we hold a pen, the way we hold a fork,
the way we tie our shoes, the accents we have when we speak,
even how we sit down are all higher level habits that would
be almost impossible to change.
Mid level habits that could be changed but might take months
of practice to do so are things like what hand we write with,
the foot we kick a ball with, and even what time of day we sleep.
Low level habits that are easy to change are simple things that
you may have just started doing recently.
A few examples that come to mind are things like how you
open up your new locker at school, the way you walk your
new puppy around your neighborhood, and even something
like how you comb your new shorter hairstyle.
If the low level habits, like combing your new shorter hairstyle
stick around for a long time, they transform into mid level habits.
Say you keep that new hairstyle for the next 3 years.
The way you comb it every day becomes a habit.
Now say you keep that same haircut for the next 40 years.
The way you comb it becomes so ingrained into your being
and your daily ritual that it would be almost impossible to do
it any other way.
The shot put release can be looked at the same way.
When you first start throwing, the release is new to you.
It is odd, awkward, it doesn’t feel right.
Everything about it is strange.
After a year or two, it becomes so natural to you that
if you ever happen to mess it up, you know it immediately.
After 4-5 years of throwing the release gets so familiar to
you it is almost impossible to do it wrong.
You need to practice your release every…single…day for
years at a time until it becomes a high level habit.
Your release needs to be instinctual.
Over the years posting videos, hosting camps, coaching local
athletes, writing blog posts, I get the same very common
questions from beginner and intermediate shot putters.
Every one of these questions has the same answer:
“Practice your release correctly 10,000 times.”
Coach Matt whenever I go to throw I pull the shot away from my neck.
What can I do to keep the shot against my neck correctly?
Coach Matt whenever I throw I drop my elbow and end up throwing
the shot like I am shooting a basketball. What can I do to
keep my elbow up and throw correctly?
Coach Matt I twist my wrist when I throw and my fingers
point down at the ground instead of out to the side. Is there
a drill you can give me to fix this?
Coach Matt I am having a hard time keeping my head up when
I release the shot and I always look down at the ground.
What steps can I take to make it so I am looking up?
Coach Matt once every 10 throws the shot slips out of my hand
and bends my fingers backwards and it really hurts.
What can I do to prevent this from happening?
The answer is the same for every question listed above.
There is no drill to fix this.
There are no exercises in the weight room.
There are no tricks.
It’s not your coach’s fault either.
You need to practice the release over and over and over again
until this new thing you are trying to learn becomes as
much of a habit as the foot you kick a ball with and
the hand you use to hold your fork at the dinner table.
What does that take? Some say 10,000 is the magic number
to do something and make it a habit.
I like 80.
80 release drills a day for your entire throwing career will make
the release a solid habit that you will never perform incorrectly again.
80 sound like too much? Think it will take too long?
20 releases into the ground,
20 releases back and forth to a partner,
20 block and release to a partner,
20 slap, block, and release to a partner.
That’s 80 release drills that your entire team
should be doing after the general team warm up
before everyone jumps into the throwing circle.
Those 80 throws should take you 20 minutes max!
Hell the first 20 releases into the ground should take
you less than a minute.
Check out the videos below for the 4 release drills
listed above and make sure to practice them every day
before you step into the throwing circle at practice.