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Transitioning From the Glide to Spin

With performances in the shot put increasing, we are seeing more high school athletes transitioning from the glide to spin technique. A common question we get at Throws U is, "How long does it take to go from the glide to the spin?". In today's blog, we will discuss the timeframe we see when transitioning and provide key tips to help make that transition easier!

Why Make the Transition?

As mentioned previously, throwing performances have drastically increased, especially with the rise of social media. More high-level athletes and media outlets are posting more about their training systems and concepts that have helped them reach elite levels. Having that access in the palm of one's hand has been enticing for many, increasing the interest of many young throwers, especially the spin technique.

Another reason is if the thrower has aspirations to compete at the collegiate level, utilizing the rotational technique can be beneficial because of the commonalities it shares with discus. In most cases, shot throwers can make an easy transition to the discus throw because the techniques are so similar, creating more value for a collegiate program.

Where to Start?

In my experience with helping gliders transition, I usually start with pivoting drills. With the rotational technique, pivoting out the back of the circle is a crucial part of setting up the throw. When athlete understand how to get their weight loaded over their left side (if they're a right-handed thrower) and then rotate around that point, that's going to set up the rotational system better. I'll utilize 90, 180, and 360-degree pivots, focusing on pivoting on the left foot. Three sets of seven repetitions should be enough reps to help the athlete develop that technical feeling.

When looking at the right leg, I like to implement stand and half-turn drills. When starting with stand drills, I'll have the athlete stand in a power position with their block foot jammed into the toeboard, where the foot will hold flat. From there, we will focus on the right foot, turning from 9 o'clock to 6 o'clock. I've been using the cue "Finish the spin" to help the athlete visualize that cue.

Once the athlete is proficient with "finishing the spin", we will transition into half turns. I'll have the athlete set up in the middle of the circle, with their right foot forward, pointing towards 3 o'clock. From there, push off the left foot and pivot on the ball of the right foot 18--degrees, getting back into the power position. Once the athlete is back into the power position, then all they have to do is "finish the spin". I'll have the athlete do a few reps where they pause in the power position before "finishing the spin". Once things look good and the athlete understands what we are trying to achieve, we will combine it. Similar to the stand drill, I recommend three sets of seven repetitions.

After those two areas are proficient, I will have the athlete begin to piece the full throw together. Depending on the athlete, I'll have them either use a dowel or PVC pipe to help reinforce the full technique or hold the implement!

The Ultimate Cheat Code

Do you want to know the ultimate cheat code when helping a glider transition into a spinner? Well, that cheat code utilizes chalk markers. Putting marks in and around the circle can help the athlete navigate through the circle. Dane, Trevor, and I utilized chalk markers when we were coaching 50+ kids at the Throws U Summer Camp. Having a visual makes the learning process much easier, as it gives the athlete a clear visual of where they should be moving in the circle.

How Long Does the Transition Take?

So, we finally got to the part of the blog everyone was looking forward to. The answer is that it depends on the athlete and how much time they put into the learning process. Suppose we have a dedicated athlete who is learning to learn in and outside the circle. In that case, that process can be anywhere between 6-8 weeks. If we have an athlete, who may be still figuring out whether they like throwing or someone who wants to be a part of a team, that timeframe might be a little longer, anywhere between three months to a year.


Transitioning from the glide to spin can be beneficial for the athlete looking to improve their overall performance, alongside creating more value if interested in competing at the collegiate level. Utilizing the tips in this blog can help make that transition easier.

If you are looking for a 30 day program that will guide you or your athletes from the glide to spin, then check out Learn to Spin in 30 Days!

FIREMEUP - Sam Weeks

"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, Trevor, and Sam

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This was a great post. I recall going through the process of transitioning from the glide to the spin back in 1978, when there were absolutely no resources available for doing this. I taught myself how to use the rotational technique after watching Brian Oldfield do it on TV and making that change without the benefit of the instant feedback from a coach or video was really difficult. So I have a very strong appreciation for what you guys do in general and more specifically for what you have done here for free. In

my experience, very few high school throwers have access to knowledgeable throws coaching, so you are providing a huge service to that community.

Having said the…

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