Discus is one of the oldest individual sports. It was a popular event with the ancient Greeks in their Olympic Games.
Athletes in ancient times threw a discus that was made of stone or metal. The discus that is used today is a round plate of wood or other material. It is tapered at the edge and has a smooth metal rim. A men s discus is 8 5/8 inches in diameter and 1 + inches thick at the center. It weighs 4 pounds 6 2/3 ounces. A women s discus is 7 1/8 inches in diameter and 1 + inches thick at the center. It weighs 2 pounds 3 + ounces.
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Athletes throw the discus from a circle 8 feet 2 + inches in diameter. The discus thrower holds the discus in the palm of one hand, the ends of the fingers curling around the rim. He or she whirls in a complete turn to gather speed or power, and hurls the discus at the end of another half turn. The fingertips spin the discus as it leaves the athlete’s hand, and the discus flies through the air in a fairly flat position.
A throw does not count if the thrower steps on the circle or touches the ground outside the circle before the discus touches the ground. Judges measure the throw from the inside edge of the circle to the nearest point the discus struck the ground. Under international rules, each athlete gets six throws if eight or fewer contestants enter the competition. If more than eight athletes compete, each one gets three throws. The eight with the longest throws qualify for the finals.
Track and field to your average outsider may be seen as boring or a waste of time. No one really wants to sit around in the hot sun on the most uncomfortable bleachers watching random people run to a line as fast as possible. Trust and believe, most people will not put themselves in this situation. In retrospect, had I not tried out track for myself when I was in the 8th grade I would have thought this too and been watching basketball on TV.
However, there is so much more behind the front face of the track community. There are so many hours of training and coaching and perfecting in order to cross that line first or jump a goal height or throw a winning distance. Since joining the track and field community, it has been the most challenging, tiring, and uplifting commitment I have ever agreed to. It definitely isn’t easy and it requires a lot of mental toughness. Traits that a potential member, plus myself, need to join this community are athleticism, motivation, determination, and ferocity in order to push yourself to your highest level of performance and achieve the goal of being the best. Participation in track and field has helped me become a hard-working, patient, self-driven young woman with the goal of giving the best I can in everything I do.
The track community is a very tight-knit group of people. Teams tend to go against each other often therefore you see a lot of the same competitors each track meet. You can make a lot of good friends in this sport, especially on your own team. The Arkansas State team meets probably twice a month as a whole to keep everyone focused. We are constantly getting reminders through e-mail from the head coach on important events coming up, or text messages from our coaches for practice times. The track doesn’t really have slang or jargon. Everything in track and field is fairly straight forward and basic. Sometimes when we joke around we will say, “Make sure you don’t get hurt, you’re worth points!”
This simply means that person can score points for us at the meet and they are an important asset to the team’s success. So it’s a compliment of sorts, but a sincere one. Also, there are many abbreviations of events. For instance, in the races instead of saying one hundred meter dash, we will only say the hundred. This applies to all races. Or in the throwing events, we will shorten shot put to shot, discus to disc, javelin to jab, and so on. For the jumpers, instead of a long-jump or triple jump, they will say long or triple. The track has never been a complicated sport like basketball or football. Its main ideas are thrown far, jump high, run fast, and score the most points. That’s all there is to know.
Members of the track and field community go in basic order; head coach, specialty coaches, athletes. This is incredibly simple but there are many coaches for each mini group of athletes. There is a throws coach, long distance coach, sprinter coach, hurdler coach, 400 and 800-meter coach, jumps coach, pole vault coach, and multi-events coach. Then of course there are the 80-100 athletes that are split up to their specialty. For each coach there are approximately seven to ten athletes. Now for the long-distance/ cross country group there are about twenty to twenty-five athletes.
For the new-comers, also known as the freshman like me, we are just thrown out there. We train the exact same way that the upperclassmen train and are expected to work just as hard or harder to beat the upperclassmen. This also applies to those who are trying to ‘walk on’ the team. Walk-ons are very difficult to explain. Not just anyone can join the track and field team but anyone can join the track community. The track community athletes can compete on their own time in whichever meet they wish representing themselves. As a walk-on for the team, you are working to represent an organization. This requires harder training, because they were not recruited to be on the team, and must tryout when the season begins. Nothing less than exceptional is expected from each member, no matter the age or year.
Track has a lot of people, and a lot is going on during practice and meets. Throwers in the track and field community have a huge role to play because there are five throwing events. In the spring for outdoor track, four of the five throwing events (hammer, discus, shot put, and javelin) will be going on at the same time and that is potentially forty points or more for the team (10 points are awarded for first place in each event).My role on the track and field team is clearly a thrower. I am expected to catch up to the sophomore throwers in ability but not as much in size. Since I am significantly smaller than my peers I have to master my technique and speed and work hard on building my strength. Patience is essential for me in the up and coming months. Participating in the track and field community at first seemed insignificant. I felt selfish and that my contribution wasn’t really helping anything.
On the contrary, though, I helped my team come close to many victories simply by focusing on me. It is because I had to work on myself that I became a better athlete and an all-around person. I had to learn to encourage myself when I had a bad throw. I have to put in extra effort to perfect my technique in the throwing ring. Now I have to practice patience because greatness doesn’t happen overnight. Many long work-outs and training sessions go in towards my success and towards the goal of being a conference champion.
The track and field community pushes you to work hard for yourself to help the team and not simply work for the team. Track and field are unlike any other sport. Essentially, it is all about you. Whatever you are willing to put into it, the more you will get out of it, and you have no one to blame but yourself for your mistakes and successes.
The track has taught me that I have the ability to strive for greatness in the highest degree. It has taught me to be strong and independent, confident, patient, focused, aggressive and persistent, an encourager and a supportive teammate. All of these things I’ve learned have been applied into my everyday lifestyle. Participating in track has helped me build the ethos of waiting, working hard, and self-motivating to achieve my goals in life. I have never loved and appreciated a sport as much as track and field community.
Track and Field events, also known as athletics, have progressed a great deal since their birth in Olympus, around the ninth century B.C. More athletes and more nationalities compete in Track and Field than in any other Olympic sport. Athletics is one of the largest attractions at the Modern Olympics, drawing in huge crowds of spectators and creating intense interest at the summer Olympics. Track and Field events have come a long way since the Ancient Greek Olympic games.
Many events and techniques have been revised, added, or eliminated since the original Greek Olympics. The Olympic motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius? is describing the Track and Field events in Latin. Does the Latin mean “Faster (Swifter), Higher, Stronger,” and indicates the running, jumping, and throwing events respectively, and the intense desire to excel.
Running events were a major part of the Ancient Olympic Games. The running events were said to have held the greatest ritualistic importance at the Ancient Olympics. The runners raced nude. The competition started the shortest races first and worked up to the longest races. The shortest race was called a “state” or one length of the stadium, where the first Olympic games were held. It is believed that the length of the stadium track was about 200 yards long and about 30 yards wide.
The next race was a “double flute”, or twice the length of the stadium. Intermediate races of no more than 1500 meters followed the short races. Records show that only one long-distance race took place, a distance of just over two miles. In the data, which is available from that period, it has been shown that the number of footraces was no more than six or seven per Olympic Games.
This, however, has changed greatly in the modern Olympics, where a complex program of running events takes place during competition. The winner of these Ancient Olympic races would be rewarded with an olive branch crown. Another type of footrace, called the hoplite, was introduced rather late in the history of the Ancient Olympics.
The race was off about two “stades” undertaken while wearing battle armor composed of round shields and plumed helmets. Racing over hurdles was not at all part of the Greeks? knowledge during the Ancient Olympics. It was established later in the modern Olympic trials.
Another predecessor of a modern Track and Field event in the long jump. This event differed very greatly from the jumping we see today. The jumpers would have a running start and be holding weights in their hands for momentum purposes. The use of the weights, which were swung about during the run and jump, caused the jumper to have a much larger distance than the athletes of the modern Olympics. In fact, the ancient jumping events are highly controversial because of the ludicrous records found about the distance of the jumps in ancient Greece. One record states that a contestant jumped 55 feet.
The modern record for the running long jump is near 30 feet and it seems to many track and field experts that it would be quite impossible for anyone to jump 55 feet, even with the help of an impetus. Some history experts? claim that the Greeks used a system of measurement in which the feet were smaller than the modern foot, which could indicate that the distances were more realistic when translated into modern feet and inches.
During the jumping event, flute music would be played which might have helped the jumper to time the difficult movements of running, swinging the weights, and finally jumping. The jumpers would jump into broken up earth, no more than a patch of well-turned soil. Each athlete who competed would rake his own jumping pit.
The throwing events have deep roots in the Ancient Olympic Games. The discus throw and the javelin were the most common events at the Ancient Olympics, but later in history, another event was added which was quite similar to the shot put. Although the discus is one of the few events in which the skill is not useable in war, the Greeks must have felt a great fascination for throwing the relatively inaccurate implement.
Both the size and the weight of the Ancient Greek discus varied greatly. Some we have recorded to be nearly 50 pounds and made of stone, whereas the later implements discovered were metal and were of similar weight as modern discs.
Discus throwers were depicted throughout Greek art history as magnificent human sculptures. Artists preferred to render discus throwers toward the beginning of the throw, where the weight of the body was centered, as opposed to the end of the throw, where the thrower was terribly unbalanced and aesthetically unpleasing. Techniques that had been used in the discus are not unlike the ones used today.
The spinning technique, however, was not used in Ancient Grecian times because the stadium in which the event took place was only 35 meters wide. The effects of throwing a fifty-pound stone discus into a crowd of spectators could be quite disastrous.
The javelin was made of elder wood, much lighter than the dogwood javelin/spear used in war. A leather thong was attached to the javelin around the middle. This thong helped the thrower by, one, increasing the leverage of the throw causing it to go farther and, two, by adding a spin to the shaft so the javelin would fly straighter and imbed into the ground on its tip.
Track and Field started at Olympus, centuries ago, and is still a major sport today, despite changes to the program and, to the techniques used during competition. Athletics have come to be known as a very honorable sport, one that requires hard work and dedication from competitors.
I am lucky enough to love this sport and succeed in it, and with the many people, who, throughout the years, have dedicated their lives to Track and Field, as will I. Lifetime dedication from athletes is what drives all athletic activities to evolve and become better.
Running a race well in track and field is not just going out and running, there are many things that go behind running a race. Track and field are often looked at as a sport that everyone can go out and do without training or any true commitment.
The first thing that goes behind running a race, whether it is a short distance or a long-distance race is training. “ Training is a systematic process of repetitive, progressive exercise or work involving learning and acclimatization” (Payne 93) By training for an event you are able to increase the ability of the muscular system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, the nervous system and also metabolism.
There are many types of different training that a runner must do to be able to perform to his or her best ability. ”Athletes need speed, strength, endurance, flexibility, and skill, but different events demand different levels of each, so training must be geared to the event, the athlete and developmental stage.” (Payne 94)
Speed is obviously a huge part of a race. But most people don’t know reaction time is also extremely important as well as movement time. This is “the time taken in the action of moving the limbs.” (Payne 94) Basically this means how fast you can get your foot back on the ground after you have lifted it in between strides. This can be improved by a weight training program and by speed interval exercises.
This leads to the next thing that is needed in training to run a race well, strength. Athletes’ level of strength affects so many other factors of their performance. Speed and endurance can be increased by strength. For a runner to increase their strength, they must work on the three main types of muscle: “the smooth voluntary muscles forming the walls of vessels, the cardiac muscles of the heart, and the striated skeletal muscles that are under voluntary control.” (Payne 98) Flexibility will also help with speed during a race. An athlete must establish optimum flexibility to be able to improve their time.
This may be worked on by different warm-up exercises. Endurance is one of the main things needed in a distance race but it is also helpful in a sprinting race too. “Endurance is the capacity of the body to undergo prolonged activity.” (Payne 102) This means how much and how long your body can take something. “Endurance depends on three physiological factors: oxygen uptake, lactate threshold, and efficiency.” (Emmaus 151)
To increase a person’s endurance you need to force your body to do something it is not used to. This increases the stress on your body, but only for a short period of time and in the end will increase your endurance. Although training plays a huge part in a runner being able to run a race well, the mental side of running plays just as big of a part.
A runner’s mindset is just as important as the training the runner does before a race. “When they [runners] start to struggle, they ease off the pace, regroup physically and push again.” (Emmaus 184)Runners are able to realize what they need to do while actually in the race to perform to their best abilities. “The physical tactics for pushing on are as varied as the athletes who use them.
Many are simply ploys, often outright chicanery, designed to convince the body that it isn’t on the verge of meltdown.” (Emmaus 186) Another tactic for getting through the race is finding a “center”, only focusing on breathing, heart rate, and the movement of the body. Getting through the pain is not the only thing a runner should mentally work on. They should also mentally run through the race.
This is called a mental practice and should be done before the runner’s race. They should think about exactly how to run the race and what they would like the result of the race to be. Whether that is the place they want to get or the time they wish to finish, or both.
They should also think positively before and during the race. “Mental states such as fear, anxiety, and tension do influence muscle action potentials.” (Doherty 229) If a runner goes into a race thinking they will not succeed or make the time they wanted they will not. That is why the mentality of the runner is just as important as the training itself. Running track and field is much more than just going out and running a race.
The training and practice of speed, strength, endurance, skill, and flexibility, along with the mindset of the runner are the key things to running a race well. Without these, the runner would not be able to succeed. A runner must be mentally and physically committed to the sport to be able to achieve their set goals.
The book I have chosen to research is High-Performance Training for Track and Field. Every since the age of nine I have been in love with the track. My uncle would make bets with the other guys in the neighborhood that their kids couldn’t beat me in an all-out sprint. And believe it or not, I never lost until two years later when I raced my cousin Ernest, he was eight years older than I. When I got beat I pushed myself further. The more I ran the more people looked at me and wanted to find out why I ran, and what makes me so fast.
The book I’ve chosen to research talks about all the correct ways to train, and what workouts are best for any event. It has worked out for every single event. It first a-tempts to break you down; to were you are to sore to do anything else, then after that, they will build you back up stronger than you were before. It teaches you how to get a work out from home, work, and school.
I compete in six events so as you can tell I spend a lot of time on track and field. The most important thing for me is the rest! A lot of athletes don’t get that. It is said that an athlete should get eight hours of rest the night before and the night before the night of the race. The biggest thing that plagues athletes is discipline, as well as anybody. A lot of times discipline can save our lives.
Being on the track team has taught me a lot about discipline. Of-course in other aspects of life nothing just comes to you. The biggest reason I chose to write about the track is that it is my base in life. I base a lot of things off track like in life there’re some things you just don’t do.
For instance, drugs your not going to catch me doing drugs because that’s something you just don’t do, especially when you want to be something out of life. I’ve always wanted to compete in the Olympics. I’m going to compete in the two thousand four Olympic games. And there’s no way I’m going to throw away all this for a few minutes of pleasure.
Saying all that to say this “Track is my life and as long as I’m alive I will continue doing it. Drugs will not be the key to this athlete’s downfall. My research paper will go in-depth to show the area of importance track has on my life.
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