It has been a great spring for my disciples. They proved the revolution is complete and the future has arrived. I mean the revolution of the rotational throw and the overthrow of the glide technique.
I cite as an example the young athletes who threw shot in the Illinois boys state high school championships recently.
Rotational throwing was the clear choice for all Classes, 1A, 2A and 3A. The ratio may have been nearly 10 to 1.
For me to have this kind of impact with young people and to be remembered as a coach and mentor is an honor for me. I’m still leaving my mark on the world. And now, my disciples will leave theirs.
The top three high school shot-putters in Division 3A were part of my throwing brigade. I either coached them or helped their coach coach them. Two of them are twin brothers at Lake Park High School, Jermaine and Jeremy Kline. Jermaine took first with a throw of 66-05.75, a state record and Jeremy threw 61-09.5, taking third.
In between them was Igor Liokumovich, of Deerfield High School, with a throw of 62-00.25.
Those three guys also took the top three places in the discus. Jermaine first with 188-01, Jeremy second at 185-10, and Igor third with 181-10. The wind came from the left so it cut down on the distances, because Jermaine has thrown over 200 feet.
Igor is going to Harvard and probably will become some sort of genius. Jermaine and Jeremy are going to the University of South Carolina where they will do well, I‘m sure.
I have to mention Brian Bobek, a senior from Fremd High School in Palatine, and Owen Saldana, a senior from Waubonsie Valley in Aurora. Brian took fourth in shot-put with a throw of 61-05.50 and Owen fourth in the discus at 179-0. I consulted with Brian’s coach on throwing and he has been to our coaching clinics. I am in regular contact with Owen’s coach and have been for years.
So the rotation revolution is continuing and I want to take some credit for it. Though I did not invent the rotational shot-put throw, I like to think I put it in the limelight, gave it grit, gave it some respect. They laughed when I threw the shot with it until it hit them in their imagination. They laughed when I sat down to play the piano, until I picked it up and threw it at them.
Sing it with me: Somewhere over the rainbow, throw so high, somewhere over the rainbow, why or why can’t I? I wish I may I wish I might throw that shot right out of sight.
I showed the world in 1974 that the rotational throw was the path to the future. I worked on it for two years before using it in competition. I was in El Paso when I took my last six throws with the spin and they were all about 72 feet.
It is almost all we teach throwers at the John Powell Throwing Camps, in which I play the role of shot-put coach, or shot-put ogre as some think. This is the only place where a shot-putter can get coached by a 75 foot thrower, namely me.
Powell and I have been holding these camps for 25 years and we have had a lot of student athletes who have done very well in competitions at state, national and international levels.
Powell is an Olympic medalist and former national champion in the discus. Together we have coached thousands of throwers and many of them have been able to get athletic scholarships, one of the other primary reasons why throwing is a great sport.
We even have the 72-year-old state discus champion from Wyoming and the 13-year-old female middle school discus champion from Illinois. They both throw about 110 feet. So we take all people into the camps, young, old, even ogre types like me.
For those who can’t quite grasp the rotation, there is the Oldfield Shuffle, in which you take two fast steps backward, turn the feet and throw. I stole the two-step from George Woods, the silver medalist who used it and did quite well. I think he called it the Chicago Shuffle.
The spin is complicated, it is complex, and takes a lot of coordination. So if you can’t boogey, you throw the backward two-step. The first time I used it, I threw 69-6. And that was a piano.
By Brian Oldfield with George Houde
(this blog was originally posted on 6/16/2011)