The Throws Manual Review

  • March 26, 2015
  • / By Tom

The Throws ManualThe Throws Manual, written by Kevin McGill and George Dunn Jr., covers training, technique, and drills for all the track and field throwing events. You can find my review for the book below.

The Throws Manual is on its 3rd edition, which was released in 2003. It covers shot put, hammer, javelin, and discus throws and does an excellent job of illustrating and introducing technique to beginners, while also covering more advanced training theories.

The book has a chapter for all 4 of the events, plus 3 more chapters that cover training and principles for all of the throws, giving the book 7 main sections:

  1. Basic Throwing Principles
  2. Shot Put
  3. Discus Throw
  4. Hammer Throw
  5. Javelin Throw
  6. Aerodynamics and Mechanics
  7. Training for Throwers

The chapters that are dedicated to each individual throw cover everything a beginner would need to know. Nothing is overlooked. Things like grip, windups, recovery, and reverses all go into detail. Each section contains a teaching progression for the full throw, plus error correction, and much more. The shot put chapter covers both major techniques, the spin and the glide.

They also have illustrations to go along with the explanations. This can help to simplify what can seem like complex technique when just reading from text and it really helps to take the guess work out of some of the explanation.

The hammer and javelin sections have extra info, which makes sense because these events are an unknown to many coaches, particularly at the high school level. They introduce the history of the events, specifications, necessary equipment and more.

The other 3 non throws chapters may be just as valuable from a throw’s coaches perspective. The major emphasis is learning how to plan a training year for athletes. It also covers what type of training is necessary and gets into details about strength work, plyometrics, medicine balls, flexibility, and specific strength.

This may seem overwhelming at first, but it is all done in an easy-to-read manner for beginners and it is all put into perspective. The goal of all this information is to help set up a training year for consistent progress and allowing the athletes to perform at their best during their most important meets.

The authors are very qualified on the book’s topics. Kevin McGill has had a long career in coaching education and teaching. He published the Hammer Notes newsletter back in the 1980s and has had a major role in USATF’s coaches education program. George Dunn Jr. coached the throws at the high school level for more than 40 years with great success.

While the book hasn’t been updated since 2003, that doesn’t mean it is out of date. While an update would be welcome and could allow for things such as better illustrations, the vast majority of information included in the book is timeless. After all, the basic concepts of technique and training for the throws does not change every single year.

Overall, this is an excellent book for beginner throws coaches and athletes to learn about the 4 track and field throwing events. You can check out The Throws Manual here.

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