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Moot Points: The final throw

May 16, 2017 Henry Knitter

Throwing the discus is analogous to driving a golf ball — take a big backswing, release or hit the object, and continue with a full follow through. The greater the range of motion, the greater the distance achieved.

This principle lies at the heart of one of the fondest memories I have from my years of coaching students. On a cold and windy Saturday, athletes, coaches and spectators were well bundled in bulky clothing for the Calgary City Championships. Girls from many schools were huddled up beside the discus cage like a small colony of penguins gently bobbing to and fro in the wind. When they were called to throw, they would each leave the pack, throw the discus and quickly return to the comfort of the horde.

With a single remaining throw in the event, “C” had the fourth-place distance. She came over to me and asked, “What can I do to throw it farther?” 

In that moment, my thoughts reflected on those skills we had practised all season, but to comment on her technique at this stage of the season didn’t seem appropriate. So I gave her some simple advice, which she took, and she became our school’s first and only city champion of the day!

Soon after, our school’s other coaches asked me about the inspirational words I had provided. We all laughed when I told them that I had merely asked C to take off her hoodie. ❚

Now retired, Henry Knitter taught for 34 years with the Calgary Board of Education.

Moot Points is your chance to write about a funny incident, a lesson learned or a poignant experience related to teaching. Please email articles to managing editor Cory Hare:

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