Gliders often go through their entire career without REALLY breaking down their movement, their positions, their footwork, and without even understanding the secret sauce behind the glide.
What is that secret sauce?!?! It happens to be based around a specific foot movement and foot placement. It can determine how explosive someone is in their power position, it can determine how long they can apply force to the ground, it can determine how LONG the throw will actually go!
The secret? Well, we won’t give it away just yet...but it’s a simple acknowledgment that there are indeed TWO VERSIONS of the glide. Each version has some upsides and some downsides. The key is figuring out where you fall as a glider and embracing that specific movement type! Now let’s dig deep into the specifics.
But What IS IT?!?!?!
Diving in first specifically to the long-short glide, it’s important to cover the basics behind this TYPE of glide, what it involves and what it means for the thrower.
The long-short glider will have a more narrow power position or standing throw position. This means to hit that more narrow position, the glider will need to drive a bit longer across the circle to hit a more narrow position. Because the glider has to drive LONGER across the circle, the non-dominant leg or the left leg will get slightly higher. This higher left leg will enable the right foot to have more time to cross the circle BUT it can also lead to a delayed double support position.
The left foot will be above the left knee, which is not something we would see with the short-long position. This means that the long-short glider will be a bit more explosive and a bit “jumpier.” Typically, long-short gliders like Manuel Martinez will be extremely strong, extremely explosive and extremely violent on the finish. Long-short gliders are the classic gliders that are ABSURDLY strong, very explosive and very aggressive.
You Said There Was TWO!!
The second specific type of glide is going to be known as the short-long glide. This is where we see the dominant foot staying a BIT wider in the power position or standing throw position. Short-long gliders will also have a lower left foot to the front of the circle because the right foot will move incredibly fast from the back of the circle to the grounding position.
Short-long gliders will have a bit more of a dynamic start in the back of the circle. Think about Valerie Adams or Ulf Timmerman dropping their hips out of the back of the circle, they start tall and drop aggressively to a flat foot as they drive across the circle. The left foot on short-long gliders will almost hover just above the concrete and the right foot will not come off the ground until the absolute last possible second! This happens because the right foot will not travel as far in comparison to the long-short gliders.
Which One is Better?
This isn’t as much a discussion about which technical version is better as it is a discussion about which technique is better for what type of athlete. In most cases, the short-long movement is going to be more advantageous for gliders. It forces the glider to be very patient and this leads to a ton of speed through the middle of the circle. The short-long glider has a longer period to develop force in the double support position.
The long-short glider is the type of athlete that is ABSURDLY strong and powerful. These are the athletes cleaning well over 200k, bench pressing close to 270k! They are very successful with a SHORTER period of force development that is extremely violent and aggressive. Their ankle and knee will be very flexed and tight as they open their non-dominant arm forward for a monster finish. It’s also important to bring into context the level of training for the athlete. Some throwers might be playing multiple sports in high school and don’t have enough time to handle the technical intricacies of the short-long glide.
Both the short-long and long-short movements have their benefits. One favors a patient, technical thrower while the other favors the explosive freak that is ready to rip monster bombs on every single throw. It’s very important to understand the benefits of both movements and then diagnose the issues of specific athlete.
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