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BackTrack: Memories of a thrower
April 9, 2014 - Pam Rodgers
I have been enlisted to help out the junior high tracksters at GMG learn the fundamentals of the throwing events.
As I prepared my “presentation,” I was forced to reflect upon the skills I learned 15 years ago. First of all, putting a number on it made me cringe. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago when I first picked up a shot put or a discus. However, I can’t change the math.
My first memory was having no idea what I was doing. It was not a great place to start. So when I was thinking about the teaching tools I could use, I tried to focus on the important details that would have been helpful all those years ago.
My coaches at the time, bless their hearts, didn’t really have a background in the throwing events. So I was left to figure a lot of things out with my sister and some helpful high school throwers. My high school coach was very supportive, and he took me to clinics to learn more fundamentals. It help lead to my success, and it is why I chose to continue throwing in college.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First of all, throwing is not easy. I don’t know what the general consensus among other tracksters are, but it took a lot of hard work to get to my level of competition. When you are first trying to get the technique, it’s awkward. It goes against everything you’ve learned throwing a softball or a frisbee. They may look similar but you can damage your arm if you try to throw either implement like that.
The best thing I can teach them is to stick with it. Even if it takes little while to pick up the steps, once you get it, you can only get better.
I can’t pinpoint the moment where things clicked for me, but I believe it was sometime during eighth grade. I had some success in seventh grade (I have the ribbons to prove it). But things really started looking up once I had a year of competition under my belt. From then on, I kept working so I could get better and stronger to help me reach my goals by the time I graduated.
Now that I have been out of college for a few years and away from competition, it’s fun to look back at all of the memories I created from the throwing rings. While the fundamental skills of throwing don’t help me at the work place, the drive and determination that I put into the sport will stay with me in other aspects of my life.
I was more than happy to lend a hand to these kids. It's nostalgic for me. After all these years, I’m going back to where it all started — GMG junior high track. I will do my best to give these youngsters a good foundation into the sport. I hope they come to enjoy throwing as much as I did then and still do now.