Let's face it, when it comes to choosing the correct discus to use, there are WAY too many options out there!
Shots are pretty easy. Choose the weight you need, the diameter you need (if you even care) and click the order button.
Discuses...not so much. There are different rim weights and meter ratings. The rims are made of different materials. The side plates are made of different materials. Some discuses have a metal washer in the middle and some don't. There are lots of different name brands out there too. Is one better than the other?
Out of all these options, the most important is rim weight. Rim weight is the actual percentage of the entire weight of the discus that is comprised of the rim. So if you have a 1 kilogram discus that is 75% rim weight, that means the rim weighs .75 kilos and everything else that makes up the discus weighs .25 kilos. They total 1 kilogram but the rim is 75% of the total weight of the discus.
Now you have companies like Nelco that have meter ratings listed on their discuses instead of rim weight. I actually LOVE this change and I think it will make selecting the discus much easier for athletes. But what does this all mean?
Typically, discuses are sold in categories. Center weighted, low spin, high spin, and very high spin. Center weighted discuses range from approximately 50-60% rim weight and are meant for beginner throwers. Low spin discuses range from approximately 60-75% rim weight and are meant for more experienced throwers. High spin discuses range from approximately 75-85% rim weight and are meant for high level throwers. Very high spin discuses range from approximately 85% rim weight and above and are meant to be used by the best throwers out there.
With those approximations you then try to figure out how far you can throw. So people say things like, "Low spin discuses are for people typically throwing about 130 feet or so." For a coach, athletic director, parent, or athlete looking to buy a discus, that's a lot of ranges, approximations, maybes, typicallys, and arounds to make a good decision.
Meter ratings give a more accurate description of how far the discus can potentially fly.
The Nelco challenger discus, for example, is a great beginner discus. It is rated at 47 meters (155 feet). What this means is that this discus, thrown with great form and technique, has the potential to fly 155 feet. Great for a beginner who is just learning to throw a discus and wants a discus that they can use for a few years as their technique improves. It does NOT mean you need to be throwing 155 feet to use the discus. In a perfect world with perfect conditions, that is potentially how far it can fly.
These meter ratings make it a lot easier to purchase the discus that will be the correct level for the thrower. Another example would be the college sophomore who is throwing about 160 feet. He would need a 2 kilogram discus but which one should he buy? Since the Nelco Challenger is rated at 155 feet, this won't be a good choice. He already throws farther than that. The Nelco Lo-Spin is rated at 65 meters (213 feet). This means he should use the Lo-Spin because it has the potential of going 213 feet. As his form and technique, speed in the circle, velocity at the release, and his overall strength and explosiveness improves, he will be able to use that discus and still see some great improvement.
Maybe when he is a Junior or a Senior and he is throwing closer to 180 feet, he can try out the Nelco Super Spin or the Nelco Gold which have a higher meter rating.
Here is a video I did explaining the Nelco meter ratings and how you can choose the correct discus that goes with your current experience level of throwing.
To recap, whether you buy a discus based on the meter rating or the rim weight, you need to make sure you get the right discus for your current level of throwing...not where you hope to be in a few years.
Center weighted discuses: Beginner high school throwers, average middle school throwers, beginner collegiate multi event athletes.
Low Spin discuses: Intermediate high school throwers, top ranked middle school throwers, intermediate college throwers.
High spin: Top level high school and college throwers.
Very high spin: Elite level high school and collegiate throwers, throwers looking to compete at Olympic trials, NCAA championships, and at international meets.
If you follow those rules, you'll be all set!
If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section or just go to the contuse form on the homepage and send me an email. I might answer your question in an upcoming video or blog post.
Make sure to check out the Neclo discus page by clicking HERE and use the coupon code MassTrack10 to get 10% off your order!
Thanks and THROW FAR!
Coach Matt Ellis