A big question high school throwers have is how far do I have to throw to be recognized by colleges or how far do I have to throw to get a collegiate scholarship?  Unlike most sports where you are judged by size, athletic abilities and how well your team is, it is a simple standard for the throws....throw far....enough.  Most NCAA Division I track programs do not have recruiting budgets the revenue sports have. So it is important for the athlete to take the steps required to contact the coaches of the colleges they may be interested in attending.

It is very helpful for the coaches to see progression and video through out your career. Many top college throw coaches also look at a throwers potential. Take for example, Loree Smith from Colorado State University. Her high school distances were good. Fortunately her college coach watched some grainy video of her potential as a hammer thrower. Needless to say she was a collegiate record holder in the hammer. Setting up a simple website and uploading video throughout the season would be a great way for coaches to see and contact the athlete.

What kind of distance need to be thrown in order to get a particular coaches attention? It all depends on what division and what conference you are considering.

There are 271 Division I schools for men that are allowed 12.69 scholarships each and 290 Division I schools for women that allow 18 scholarships. Division II allows 12.6 scholarships for both men and women with 148 and 108 schools respectively. The top Division I programs try to recruit throwers that have a good potential of reaching the Regional Qualifying standard by their sophomore year. The following were the 2009 regional qualifying standards:

MEN:  Shot Put 55'.1" / Discus 169'.58" / Hammer 186'.3"
WOMEN:  Shot Put 46'.9" / Discus 155'.14" / Hammer 177'.61"

Since there is no weight difference for the women from high school to college, what you throw in high school is what you should throw at your incoming freshman year. So if the sophomore rule of thumb is used, the thrower can expect a great chance of a scholarship if they can throw 44’ in shot put (2009 top 50 US), 142’ in discus (2009 top 50 US) and 160’ in hammer (2009 top 10 US). Based on these marks, an incoming freshman would have a chance to hit the regional qualifying standards by sophomore year.

It gets a little more complicated for the men. There are different distant adjustments due to the weight increase but to simplify, the same top 50 distances will be applied. The men will have a greater chance of scholarship if they can throw 60’ in shot put (2009 top 50 US), 180’ in discus (2009 top 50 US) and 190’ in hammer (2009 top 15 US). Based on the physical attribute of the thrower, they should have the potential of hitting regional qualifying standard by their sophomore year with the heavier implements.

These are by no means concrete numbers but they will greatly increase a throwers potential for scholarship to the top tier Division I schools. Since there are more womens scholarships there is a much greater chance at scholarship with lower marks than the ones previously mentioned. There are 1806 more scholarships for women than there are for men which certainly allows for a woman thrower in the top 100-125 US a good potential of receiving a scholarship.

It does depend on the conference the school you are considering. Take for example the Pac 10 conference. The top freshman men threw 55’9”, 186’8” and 195’4” in shot, disc and hammer in 2009. For women it was 51’4.5”, 169’3”, and 174’2” in shot, disc and hammer in 2009. This does not discount the athlete may have been redshirted. For the Big Sky conference, the top freshman men threw 51’4.5”, 167’5” and 189’2” for the same events in 2009. For the top freshman women it was 39’6.5”, 162’ and 144’7” in 2009.

Unlike the Pac 10 top 10 freshman, there was a significant drop in distances from the top 10 freshman throwers in the Big Sky conference. So it is important to research the conference the school of interest is in as it will make a difference on scholarship potential and amount. Division II schools were not even mentioned which as you can guess adds to the scholarship potential if included in the hunt.

It is imperative to be proactive with recruiting and to make the first call to coaches. Unfortunately the budgets are small for them to travel and spend a lot of time calling potential throwers. Most of the time they won’t know you are interested until you contact them. It’s an experience that both parents and thrower can enjoy and should enjoy as it will only come around once. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions and if interested in trying to obtain those marks that seem unattainable.