Highland Games Basics: The One Turn

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Highland Games Basics: The One Turn

Before you can master the two turn in the weights for distance, you must be proficient in the one turn. Now, I’m not saying you can only throw the one turn for a long period of time before event attempting the two turn; I’m saying don’t abandon the usefulness of a one turn. For me, this drill serves multiple purposes at each of my practices: warm up, initiating the drive to the front of the box and dialing in my finish.

Start this drill with your feet in the position where you land after the entry of your first turn. I know that sounds confusing and, really, it is. I wish I could physically show you at your next practice. In the standard 9’ x 4’6” box, place your right foot near the back corner (the furthest away from the trig board). If you’re left handed, this will be your left foot, on the other side of the trig.

Start with a slightly wider than shoulder width base and create an upper body lean over your right leg. You’ll then swing the weight in front of you, and then behind you, where you will initiate the turn and throw. When the weight gets to about your right leg, start your push to the front. Now, remember a few things here.

  1. Your cast should be flat. Don’t let the initial cast into the turn be too high. Think of keeping that cast shoulder level.
  2. Your left foot should turn and open the hips towards the trig board.
  3. Shift your weight to your left foot as your DRIVE to the front of the trig. Your sprint is a critical part of the throw so use this time to work on syncing that up.
  4. Your finish with the weight should be a throw, not a scoop. If your hand is low and you’re scooping the weight up, then you’re doing it wrong. If this is the case, then you most likely started your one turn with a far too steep of an entry/cast. Think of the arm action resembling more of an across the body trajectory and less of a throwing it up over your head.
  5. Your left arm and side should “block” hard. A “block” is when your left side stops abruptly … actually, more like, “violently.” The left arm should go out and be brought down hard to your side. Your left leg is extremely important here, as it will stop your travel in the trig and create a kind of slingshot effect on the throw. Think of “posting” up on the left leg as you stop that left side in a violent crash.

The one turn can be a very valuable drill; one I feel you should do every time your throw the weights whether in practice or at a competition. I didn’t always feel this way, but the focused implementation of this drill into my routine was followed closely by bigger throws and consistent technique. It’s now become such a part of my throws that I won’t neglect doing them at any practice.  


  • Paul MacLachlan

    Interesting, when I first began 5 years ago I was taught to go high to low during my turns/spins. I am guilty of throwing it up hill so to speak and will try to remain level. I have also had a difficult time learning to block. My left arm will start out stretched to counter balance me but ends up limp and dragging along for the ride. I continue to work on this but it is difficult for me to do. I have also dropped my body weight by about 15-20 lbs. and balance is becoming challenging while spinning. I am working on getting my butt down to lower my center and maintain control. Thanks again for info.

  • Richard A Stewart

    Thanks for the tip?

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