Friday, March 8, 2013

Indoor vs. Outdoor Track & Field Season

Not all NCAA affiliated schools compete in an Indoor Track & Field season. Indoor season begins at the end of December or beginning of January and finishes at the end of February. Outdoor season starts end of February and concludes in late May. For those colleges fortunate to have an Indoor season, it provides a jumpstart for the athletes and prepares them for competing in the upcoming Outdoor season.
Various track & field events are offered during the two seasons.  For athletes competing in throwing events, the Indoor season incudes the weight throw and shot put. While the Outdoor events are shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer throw.
Just as the events are different during the two seasons, there are also significant differences in the environment and implements. An indoor shot put is a metal ball wrapped in a plastic cover; it has a completely different texture than the metal ball used in outdoor competitions. Athletes also tend to use chalk for their shot put while throwing indoor which allows them to have a better grip on the shot making it less likely to slip out of the hand.  The weight throw is performed by imitating the same technique as the hammer but the implement is shorter, has a bigger ball, and weighs more. The throwing rings are also different; indoor the rings are usually a type of polished wood, while outdoor rings are made from various types of concrete. Spinning or gliding in the shot put event while on a polished wooden ring for the first time can be an experience worth watching. The wood rings are considered “faster” rings providing for a better execution of technique. The smoother the surface is in the ring, the “faster”.  These factors alone can affect a throwers outcome.
 If your school doesn't have an indoor facility to practice in then the first time an athlete is in the new ring can be interesting. The good news is that as throwers we are used to adjusting to different surfaces (rings), so it shouldn't affect the athlete too much once they get in a few glides or spins. Tarleton State University Track & Field just recently received the great news that next year they will be competing in both Indoor and Outdoor seasons for the Lone Star Conference. Wish us luck; come out and support our teams in both Indoor and Outdoor venues!
Indoor Shot Put

Indoor Weight Throw

1 comment:

  1. As a track guy, I appreciate this blog. Although indoor track can be rough at times, I like the fact that we can judge our fitness levels early in the year. I like the fact that there are different events in the indoor season to give the athletes an "off" distance or field event. Admittedly, I did not know that the throwing rings were different from the outdoor rings.

    I believe this article is great for those who aren't too knowledgeable in the sport of track and field. I also believe this article places a great importance on how big of an impact an indoor season can make on the athletes. The indoor season allows athletes for a chance to judge their fitness as well as giving them more opportunities for competing on the national stage.