Law and District AAC Throws group goes from strength to length

Friday 28th October 2022

By Katy Barden

We are trying to promote the throws not just within our club and within Lanarkshire but across Scotland,‘ says Law and District AAC coach Don McLeod.

It’s a bold statement from the man tasked with leading throws at the club but, after a less than illustrious beginning, the club’s efforts to develop young athletes and provide a supportive coaching environment are gaining traction.

‘From the outset it was hard to recruit people into throwing; they were like, ‘What’s this?!’ says McLeod.

‘But I think the club soon realised that throwing events were very important, especially at league meetings.’

McLeod’s reputation precedes him. A former parent-helper and Level 1 Assistant Coach at the now-defunct Lanark and Lesmahagow, he joined Law and District with his daughter almost 20 years ago. At the time he became the club’s only throws coach. He’s now one of six.

As the number and quality of athletes in the squad has increased, the group’s objective has evolved to focus on performance as well as grassroots participation, in addition to coach development. Respecting the discipline, which is too often underestimated, is key.

‘What they tend to do with youngsters who cannae run or are too heavy or whatever, the other coaches say, ‘You’ll make a great thrower’ . . . but the truth is in order to be a good thrower you really need to be athletic, co-ordinated, balanced,’ says McLeod.

‘We now have six throws coaches at Law and I would imagine that’s the most anywhere in Scotland.

‘It comes from the love of the sport, definitely for me. I think there’s a love of the discipline, wanting to see kids do well whatever they choose, and we’ve got a very good squad set up at Law, good squad harmony and talented athletes.’

Colin Gray joined Law as a throws coach mid-pandemic. His daughter was already at the club and he’d seen those strengths – enthusiasm from athletes and coaches, a willingness to learn and hunger to compete – first-hand.

Having developed his own coaching skills, Colin was confident he’d learn more by joining such a progressive group alongside a knowledgeable and respected lead coach.

His daughter Jade, a shot putt bronze medallist at the recent UK School Games, is the latest athlete in the group to represent Scotland.

That in itself is exciting, but Law’s coaches operate on a broad spectrum of success. Their view is that while it’s great to represent Scotland, medals at the Lanarkshire Championships are also significant.

‘Our national schools and West District medal tally – and I’m no’ blawin’ wur own trumpet here – is amazing,’ says McLeod.

‘If there are no Law athletes in the top three in most of the throwing events, we’re quite surprised. That’s because they’re keen; and the parents are keen. We’re quite lucky we have a talented bunch of kids, but we definitely need the parental support.’

Photo by Bobby Gavin

Gray adds: ‘I think we’re also very lucky with our coaches. When you look at the size of our squad, we could have 18 kids plus seniors, and the fact we can split the team up and send a coach to shot putt, to javelin, to the discus and hammer, that helps the athletes improve.

‘We’ve always got someone there encouraging the athletes at events, too.’

McLeod says: ‘There’s a continuity there which is good for everybody. It’s been a bit of a struggle throughout the years but there is momentum now.’

This is no longer a one-man-band. Law and District’s throws squad is building its own reputation and making people pay attention. Where they once found it hard to recruit, they’re now approached by athletes – and coaches – who want to be part of it.


‘This is a fantastic example of a proactive and innovative club which is starting to make a massive impact on throws in Scotland

‘It’s great to see a club like Law and District not only recognise the need for further throws provision but to drive a programme through people like Don and Colin, recruit and support the training of new throws coaches, and provide a throws coaching environment the envy of many clubs around the country.’

Alison Grey, scottishathletics National Throws Co-ordinator


Tags: Don McLeod, Law and District AAC

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