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
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
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
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 559, 1868 and
1954 in shot, disc and hammer in 2009. For women it was 514.5, 1693,
and 1742 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 514.5, 1675 and 1892 for the same events in 2009.
For the top freshman women it was 396.5, 162 and 1447 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 wont know
you are interested until you contact them. Its 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.