View Mobile Site

Text Size: Smaller Larger Normal

Discus throw allows athletes to go for a spin

Discus throw allows athletes to go for a spin

Cuauhtemoc Vallejo-Howard is one of the Cal State Stanislaus discus throwers who constantly work on perfecting his technique.


POSTED May 3, 2011 11:12 p.m.

With the discus throw, it’s not just about strength.

Oh no, there’s more to this track and field event.

For Cal State Stanislaus throwing coach Ryan Vierra, it’s about finding the right balance and enough torque to send a heavy disc — which, in this case, is known as a discus — flying high through the air. For a few seconds, the object looks like an UFO before it lands on the nearby grass.

The thrower stands inside a circle before taking a crouching stance. The thrower then spins around counter-clockwise (for right-handers) for one and a half times, ultimately letting go of the object. This is one of the many events at this year’s NCAA Division II Championships on May 26-27 at Warrior Stadium on the Stanislaus campus, an event that will draw thousands of athletes, coaches and supporters from around the country to help boost the local economy.

Cuauhtemoc Vallejo-Howard has a shot of qualifying for the event at nationals. His personal best is 158 feet, 5 inches — four feet from a provisional mark. He says the discus throw is difficult to perfect because it’s not all about upper-body strength. It’s also about building enough momentum in his legs to send an object flying.

“When you throw with your arms,” he said, “it’s not going to go very far. I’ve had a problem with that.”

So Vierra, the Stanislaus throwing coach, teaches Vallejo-Howard and the other throwers how to use their legs and hips correctly, in order for them to get the most out of every attempt. It’s different than the hammer throw, Vallejo-Howard’s most successful event, which consists of swinging a much heavier object around to see which competitor can heave the furthest.

The discus is an ancient sport, and has been part of the Olympic Games since the first one in 1896. It’s an event that’s taught at the California high school level, unlike the hammer throw. Vierra said that’s an advantage after discus throwers graduate.

“It gives them a good feel once they get into college,” Vierra said.

Still, the discus throw is all about getting enough practice in.

Vallejo-Howard, who is the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s top hammer thrower, tries to work on perfecting his discus throw — though he admits that the process hasn’t been easy.

“It’s harder to improve in discus because the rhythm is harder to get down,” he said. “The hammer throw, I can get the rhythm down better.”

Vallejo-Howard keeps at it, though.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting is not available.

Share on Facebook Bookmark and Share
Commenting not available.

Please wait ...