Glide vs. Spin: Standing Throw

A big standing throw is always something fun to have in your back pocket as a thrower. Not only can a big standing throw make you feel good as a competitor, but it can also impact your competition. The “awe” factor may come into play and your opposition may be blown away by your prowess at the finish.


This is great but oftentimes, coaches teach the glide standing throw in a very similar manner as they do the spin. This can lead to a lack of transfer at the front of the circle and poor performance relative to the standing throw capability. By properly learning how to take a standing throw as a glider or spinner, you can earn yourself a HUGE mark that transfers well during competition.


How do we develop force?

When analyzing a standing throw, there are a few detailed key factors that come into play. The standing throw for both the glide and the spin MUST focus on the rate of force development. The rate of force development needs to fall in line with the best way to finish the throw for the glide technique or the spin technique. Many throwers will take standing throws that resemble the front position of a spin while they are actually gliders! This doesn’t transfer well and leads to poor performance. Keep these ideas at the forefront of your mind when training the standing throw.

  1. Does the standing throw position reflect the same foot position and upper body position needed to hit from a full technical movement?

  2. Are you staying grounded? (Ideally, the thrower should be using a non-reverse standing throw)

  3. Does the athlete notice a similar feeling during their standing throw that they feel when doing a competitive throw?


Glide Standing Throw: Understanding Power Positions

Gliders need to have a solid standing throw to truly lead to a big throw from the glide. If nothing else, the standing throw needs to mimic the exact position they will hit at the front of the circle! This means establishing a proper torso position while also having a full grasp around proper foot positioning. Too often, gliders will take a very narrow standing throw and jump all over the circle, only to hit a short/long glide where their power position is much wider!


Step #1: Establish the Foot Width

At ThrowsU, we coach our gliders to have a short/long glide. What does this mean? We want the thrower to have a shorter drive position out of the back to ensure a much wider power position at the front. This will enable the thrower to hold double support longer and accelerate the implement over a much longer path.


Most men will have their right foot (right-handed thrower) just past the mid-way point in the circle when grounding in this position. Women will have their right foot grounded just PAST the mid-way point by a few centimeters or inches. This ensures a wide position of the feet.


Step #2: Establishing the Torso Position

The next step is to put the torso in a very similar position that it would be in when hitting the power position from a full glide. At ThrowsU, we like our gliders to have more hip flexion in the right hip, leading to their torso being relatively deep over their right side in the middle. This sparks a more linear movement forward that mimics the same path of the actual glide pattern! The left arm should be back over the right side with nearly 80% of their load holding over the right.


Step #3: Initiation of the finish


How the finish starts during the glide is KEY to proper transfer to the full throw. The right ankle needs to be plantar flexed, the right knee must be flexed as well when holding the standing position. The start of the standing throw should come from the left arm. The left arm will open and help the weight transfer forward. As the weight transfers forward, the right knee and hip and ankle will rotate forward.


Step #4: The release

The finish of the standing throw should be GROUNDED! By understanding physics and recognizing that a grounded finish leads to a longer period to accelerate the implement, the thrower will then be able to optimize their performance. This feeling needs to transfer to the standing throw position as well. The glider should take a non-reverse throw where they feel their energy transfer forward over a long finish. This will help the thrower learn to generate energy FORWARD during the finish while remaining grounded.


Great...But what if I am a spinner?

Spinners have a unique relationship with the standing throw. There are two camps to the standing throw for a spinner.


While training under Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk, I personally would only take standing throws for about 2-3 throws a training session. This held true across all abilities. Dylan Armstrong, my training partner who threw 22.22 meters/72’9, would RARELY take standing throws in training. The idea was based around the concept that the spinner should not cut their movement into parts but instead try to feel all positions while establishing a consistent rhythm across the circle.


The opposing perspective of this can be rooted in that of American throws coach, Art Venegas. Art is known as one of the greatest throws coaches ever from the United States and he has historically been a big proponent of a massive standing throw. By hitting a huge standing throw, spinners are able to improve their baseline throughout the competition, even when they are deep in a hard training cycle.

Personally, I disagreed with this concept until I decided to test this theory with world-class shot putter, Rachel Fatherly. I decided to push Rachel’s standing throw to creep up close to 17 meters or just over 55 feet. As Rachel’s standing throw improved, her full throws started to blow up. By the end of the experiment, her personal best went from 18.05 to 18.48, ranking her top twenty in the world! From that point, I changed my opinion of the standing throw to engage more with the type of athlete I am coaching.


Step #1: Establish Foot Position (spin)


The key behind a proper standing throw for a spinner is understanding where the feet need to be. The thrower MUST put their feet in the position they WANT their feet to ground at the front of the circle. This will help the athlete feel and engage with this foot position. They will learn how to apply force over time and ultimately their full throw will ground in this position at the front of the circle.

Spinners should have a more narrow base, a little wider than shoulder-width apart with the left big toe in line with the right heel (right-handed throw). This should be almost identical to where they ground in a full throw and the feeling should be imprinted over a long period of time! The right foot must be flexed as should the right knee.


Step #2: Establish the Torso Position

The torso should emulate the position they NEED to hit at the front of the circle. There is no need for a massive lean back over the right as this is typically not where a spinner will ground with their upper body. Hip flexion will occur on the right side and a simple cue is to hold about 70% of the load over the right foot. The torso should come over the right knee and the shot should be squeezed with solid tension into the neck. This tension can help the thrower feel this position a bit more!


Step #3: Initiation of Finish

The start of the finish will be similar to the start of the finish for a glider. However, the finish will happen on a bit of a flatter plane. The left arm will open a little flatter with a longer left arm, the right knee will be bent and the right ankle will be flexed. The left arm will open FORWARD and the right shoulder will follow as the weight transfers into the flat left foot.


Step #4: The Release

The right shoulder will start to shift forward as the left side PULLS the implement forward as well. The ground will be “held” by the feet. What does this mean? We don’t want to jump on the finish! We want to learn how to fully utilize rotational forces. Keep the right side rotating forward through a non-reverse position. This will lead to better execution and a standing throw that will transfer to the full throw.


What are the differences?

There are a few key differences between the two types of techniques. The glider will have a much WIDER base when establishing their foot positioning. The glider will also have a significantly deeper torso position than the spinner. The spinner will be a bit more upright during the standing throw. The initiation will come from the left side with both throws but the left arm travels differently in each movement. The thrower should remain grounded throughout the standing throw in both styles of technique but the patterning is slightly different! The keys...make sure the positions and feeling emulate the full throw!


Recap


The standing throw is a simple movement that can truly help a thrower develop over time. By teaching the differences between the techniques, the thrower can transition properly if they are switching to the spin from the glide technique. This will lead to a smoother transition and a greater feel for the finish. As throwers get more reps, their confidence will grow and they will achieve bigger throws!


"Our aim is to provide concise and concrete education and training on the throws, helping coaches and athletes learn what they need to do to succeed and become champions."

- Dane and Trevor



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