Press Reports

Throwing Their Way to Success

Created on Sunday, 26 February 2012 10:51

Law & District coach Don McLeod has recently been credited by top Scottish Throws Coach, Alan Bertram, as creating the ‘model’ upon which all clubs’ throws development should be based. He said “The event will prosper fast if other coaches in Scotland follow the ‘McLeod Model’”. Don explains that his ‘model’ centres round 3 things: 1. Enthusiasm, in both coach and athlete, and a genuine love of the sport; 2. a willingness in athletes to take on board corrections; 3. a hunger to compete, to show what you can do.

After many years of throws coaching, hammer throwing is the latest discipline that Don has taken on and, in less than a year, two of his athletes, showing real potential in this technically demanding event, have soared up the Scottish rankings. Carluke’s Kristen Cowe, 13, has been a member of Law & District for more than 3 years. Having tried a number of different events, both track and field, she has now “found” her event and is currently ranked 6th in Scotland for hammer throw with her current PB standing at 30.75m. Connor Stoney, 16, has also taken a shine to the hammer event. Connor, who lives in Shotts, finished 2nd in last summer’s Scottish Schools Championships with a personal best of 47.72m which ranked him 2nd in Scotland for 2011. Both athletes credit Don in large part for their success. His relaxed approach to coaching, suggesting rather than demanding from his athletes, creates an enjoyable environment in which to train. All the athletes in the squad agree with this. A typical McLeod training session consists of a warm up, specific event drills to improve technique and then, as Don puts it, “throwing everything and anything into the cage”.

Motherwell brothers Bobby and Jamie Crossan began training with Don less than two years ago. Younger brother Bobby, 13, was ranked 1st in Scotland for Shot Putt in 2011 with his PB of 11.64m. Bobby has also been successful in Javelin where his throw of 38.30m ranked him 2nd in Scotland. Big brother Jamie, 15, was ranked 3rd for both Shot Putt and Javelin events in 2011 with PB’s of 12.76m and 39.88m respectively. Don is all too aware that the throws disciplines can be demanding on the body and preventing injury is always at the forefront of Don’s training programmes. Thomas Lafferty, the elder statesmen of Don’s squad, at just 18 years, knows all too well the challenges that athletes can face fighting injury. After months of a recurring elbow injury, Thomas has been retraining to learn how to throw the javelin with his other arm. He hopes to regain his throwing power and break 45m this year.

The latest success story for Law & District’s throws squad is Lewis Nicholson. Lewis, 17, is a pupil at Glasgow School of Sport but gets throws training with Don on a weekly basis. Lewis was selected to represent Scotland in Shot Putt at the Celtic Indoor Championships on January 29th , where he threw a personal best of 12.63m. Lewis was delighted to be selected to compete for his country, “Being given the opportunity to compete for my country has been a great privilege, the experience has shown me the competition I am facing down south and given me a target to aim for in the future.Lewis’ success isn’t just in Shot Putt. He runs a mean 200m and this diversity is something Don encourages in his athletes. “Stop running round the track like an eejit...” says Don. “I’m only kidding! Try everything, especially when you’re young. Why stick to 800m running when there are other things you could be good at? Until you try it, you won’t know.” Committed as ever, Don has organised a Come ‘n’ Try throws session to encourage Lanarkshire’s youngsters into the sport. The event takes place on Saturday 17th March between 10am and 1pm in the Ravenscraig Indoor Athletics Facility. For more information about this event, and Don’s throws squad, visit the Law & District website,