What’s it like to be a Thrower

By: Dawson Davito

Of the many collegiate sports that receive the spotlight during the spring, there is only one that contains such a broad diversity of both events and participants, and that sport is track and field. From the 100-meter dash to the pole vault, there’s always an event going on that’s sure to catch your eye. Of all the events involved within the sport, however, there’s one category that people will sometimes disregard as “boring and simple”, when in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth, and that is Throwing.

Throwing, for those who don’t know, is the category that includes events such as the Shotput, Discus and Javelin. It can be regarded by many who watch it as a very simple, straightforward event. However, veteran throwers like fifth-year senior MacKenzie Bengston argue that the process of throwing is anything but as simple as picking the object up and throwing it far every time. “Throwing is eighty percent mental, twenty percent physical,” Bengston said. “You’re in the ring for a short amount of time and you only have so many throws to get things right. If you’re not in the right mindset, sound in who you are and your thoughts are in so many different places, you’ll start to build anxieties. Then your form starts to crumble, and it’s all downhill from there.” 

Form will often play a big role in throwing, primarily because poor form can often lead to injury, especially since most implements aren’t exactly light. While the discus is only two pounds for women and four pounds for men, implements like the shot put are eight pounds for women and sixteen pounds for men, the same weight as the hammer throw implements. The transition to these types of weights can also put a heavy mental strain on the athlete, not even mentioning the change of atmosphere a young freshman thrower has to transition to as well.

The process to getting to the collegiate level of throwing is also just as strenuous as most other sports due to how meticulous one needs to be with their form and dedication to the sport’s repetitive, tough nature. “I started throwing when I was in seventh grade, and I actually hated it at first. The first day of practice I went home crying because of how strange and hard it was to get used to all the motions in each different event,” Bengston said. At the end of the day, however, you don’t need to be the biggest or strongest person to become adept in throwing. “It’s a lot of patience and perseverance. You have to have a firm set of intentions that you’ll come to practice every day ready to iron out the smallest of details in your technique. Because it’s when everything finally clicks for you that the implement just flies out of your hand just the way you want it.”

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