Is it possible to drop monster throws with the glide technique? We have heard the argument that shorter and weaker throwers should never glide. They can’t be successful, nor can they become elite. The movement is more physically demanding, the athlete needs to be very explosive and height needs to be on their side!
Over the last decade, we have seen gliders virtually disappear. This has occurred even after Tomasz Majewski won two Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012 with the glide technique, David Storl won multiple championships with the glide technique and Michelle Carter won the 2016 Olympic title with the glide technique!
Perhaps the dissolving of this technique is more based around the fact that coaches are struggling to coach the movement effectively and truly don’t know the benefits of this classic technique. Let’s figure out what it takes to glide like a pro!
What’s the Point??!?!
It’s extremely important to remember the ENTIRE GOAL behind any full throw technique. The goal is to get to the power position or the standing position with a solid amount of momentum that enables the thrower to transfer energy effectively into the implement. Oftentimes, gliders will take huge standing throws but then they can barely add distance when they take a full throw. This is very likely due to the fact that they hit a poor power position when taking their full throw and they don’t transfer the energy effectively!
One of the biggest plus sides behind the spin is based around distance added to standing throws. Many spinners have been known to add 3+ meters to their standing throw on a given day. This seems to be unheard of in the world of gliding. HOWEVER, Lucas Warning is a glider that trains at ThrowsU and regularly will add 3.5 meters to his standing throw! This is because he transfers energy into the shot rapidly and hits proper positioning to do so. This is the ultimate key behind the glide.
The glide technique can be comparable to the 0 to 60 test in sports cars. Gliders MUST get to top-end speed as quickly as possible. Why is this? The shot travels a shorter distance in the glide than it does in the rotational technique. By getting to top-end speed as rapidly as possible, gliders need to hit an optimal starting position.
What does an optimal start position entail? The body contains numerous reflexes and patterns that throwers can use to their advantage. In the start position, the stretch-shortening cycle is one reflex that gliders can utilize to their advantage. By starting in a higher position and then dropping deeper onto a flat dominant foot, the body will utilize energy in a very advantageous manner that will lead to a faster start position and a higher rate of force development.
As we exit the start position, the quad will rapidly go from a very flexed position to a fully extended position. This is when the stretch-shortening cycle really impacts rapid movement and develops a large amount of the speed. The quad should not extend entirely until the left knee is past the center circle.
The middle of the glide will commence when the right foot dorsiflexes with the toes moving UP from an extended knee position. The left leg will be moving in a linear motion, keeping the left foot below the left knee. The low left foot position will lead to a more rapid right foot into the middle. This rapid right side will initiate a large amount of energy moving forward. The right will ground in the middle with a PLANTAR FLEXED right foot.
The upper body will maintain a slightly flexed position toward the back where the shoulders will remain square to the back of the circle. When the right foot grounds in the middle, the left arm will begin to open rapidly as the shoulders commence their opening position. As the left shoulder opens, the right knee will hold flexion as well and the left foot will ALMOST ground.
The finish position of the glide commences when the left arm is triggered and weight transfers into the left leg. The goal for the lower body is to get the right knee to maintain flexion and to rotate toward the right sector line, this happens simultaneously while the left shoulder opens. After the shoulder opens, the right shoulder will transfer forward and the body will hold stability into the left leg. As the glider transfers forward, they will gradually pick up the right foot and have their right side slide forward into the toeboard, where the right side of the heel will hit the toeboard and hold for a big finish!
Focus on the big picture goals, get to the front of the circle where the standing position is executed! Focus on rapid force development when exiting the back of the circle by utilizing a stretch-shortening cycle or dynamic start. As the glider moves out of the back, the dominant foot needs to be flexed and the non-dominant arm will open just prior to the non-dominant leg grounding. Transfer weight forward on the finish and reverse with the heel into the toeboard for a long, strong finish.
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- Dane and Trevor