Young gliders can get confused by various drills and alternative throws. Should they non-reverse? Should they shuffle throw? Should they just focus on standing throws? These are all fair questions that many gliders bring to the table and wonder.
There has to be some answer behind proper progressions to optimize the overall movement of the glide. There has to be some method behind proper development of a glider. But what are the secrets behind proper long term development? What are those specific movements to utilize?!? Let’s dig into this topic...NOW.
Basics of the Glide
The big keys behind analyzing progressions and choosing the right partial movements to educate a glider on their overall technique is to first think about the glide from a big picture perspective. When the basics of the general movement are understood, then the coach can take that step back and really develop a holistic approach that will work for nearly every single glider.
Starting with the finish, it’s important to understand that the final position of the glide should be a bit longer to enable a thrower to rapidly develop force. Rapid force development from a grounded position will lead to a big final position! Now...to get to the finish, we have to think about what happens before the final position.
In the middle of the circle, we know the dominant leg and ankle should be flexed along with the hip. The non-dominant arm should start to open just prior to the non-dominant leg grounding and the non-dominant foot should be close to the concrete just before the finish.
Out of the back of the circle, ideally the glider will have a dynamic position as they commence the throw. They should have a strong drop to get to a flat foot, the hips will drop and the non-dominant foot will hold low to the concrete. As the glider drops out of the back, they ideally will hold a flat foot on the dominant side UNTIL the non-dominant side PASSES the midway point of the circle.
This is the basic understanding of the throw from FINISH to the start. So where do we begin with the drills?!?!
It’s important to differentiate between the long-short technique vs. the long-short technique for the glide. When coaches establish their technique of choice, they can then take a step forward and understand they should be teaching standing throws that represent the short-long position. This means the glider will take a wider standing throw than traditionally utilized. They will have a wide base, the left arm will open and the right shoulder will transfer forward!
The standing throw should be utilized as a warm up, a strength exercise or even a technical movement to assist in teaching the thrower how to hold double support optimally! Ideally, most gliders will take 3-7 stands before they move onto their next drill progression. The main goal for the stand should be for the thrower to feel the proper position on the finish!
Onto that “A” Drill!
The “A” drill will be the next step after the standing throw. The main focus here will be on having a dynamic starting position because that is key for the execution of the short-long glide. It’s important to feel the hips drop and to drive LONG from a flat foot across the entire circle while the left foot stays low to the concrete.
The left arm and shoulders should stay square in level while the left goes to the front. As the athlete enters the A position, the glider MUST learn how to drive from the heel. This is a key component that young gliders struggle to learn. Driving from the heel will make the throw faster and more powerful.
The Step-Back Drill is the third progression to be used for improving the glide. This is a unique exercise that puts the right foot perfectly where it needs to be in the circle. This is a bit of a cheat movement to educate the right side on how to properly remain flexed while the left side moves to the front. The key is to get the left forward to the front where it would ground when taking a full throw AND a standing throw. That is a key point behind optimizing the transfer of specific drills.
This drill is one with the special secret sauce! The Leif Drill is named after NCAA champion Leif Arrhenius. Start off with the glider holding the “A” position, have them get comfortable in this low position with their hips. As they commence the movement, they will drive aggressively from the heel while extending the right knee. This will enable their right side to move across the circle while the left side is still holding the front position of the throw. The left arm will commence the throw from the finish and this transfers forward well because the right ankle is plantar flexed, the right knee is flexed and the weight will transfer into the transfer leg.
Finally, we get into the fifth big drill for proper progression of the glide and that takes us to the non-reverse. This is a movement that will nearly tie everything together into an optimized movement. Out of the back of the circle, the glider will drop their hips while the left shoulder stays square to the back, this helps the shoulders maintain proper balance. As the glider exits the back, their hips will have dropped, their left leg will stay low to the concrete and their right side will extend from the heel. The right foot will move rapidly to the middle where the ankle and knee will be flexed. The left arm will open and the finish of the throw will start. The goal of the non-reverse is to teach the thrower how to hold a grounded finish from a rapid starting point. This will transfer very well to the full throw!
Understanding the usage of various movements and drills is key to implementation of long term development. When throwers understand how drills and partial movements transfer to their full throw, that is when they can fully grasp the macro perspective of their technique. Start with the stand, work on the A Drill, hit some Step Backs before entering into the Leif Drill. Once the Leif Drill is executed well, hit some non-reverses and then finish the week off with some monster full throws!
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