You feel like you are absolutely smashing the finish. The shot is flying off the hand, you feel explosive but the shot isn’t going anywhere and you are falling all over the place on the reverse. There has to be something that needs to be fixed. There has to be some area of improvement that could take place to transfer directly to the throw? Is there a drill that will enable you to feel the front of the circle from the full throw? Let’s dissect the movement of the non-reverse spin!
Jumping All Over
For years, throwers have been taught to jump through their throws. As the spinner rotates out of the back, they are taught to jump to the middle. Sweep the right leg high and elevate through zero support! This position is then taught again on the finish. Coaches for years have taught spinners to JUMP from the pad when the left leg grounds in the power position.
Rotate and JUMP. That’s the most effective way to develop force as rapidly as possible...right? Not really.
These same coaches will use non-reverse throws to teach throwers a long finish leading to a movement confusion! The thrower then struggles to connect the two feelings. They have a grounded finish on the non-reverse with a great connection to the shot but they struggle to unite that feeling with the full throw. Their jumpy finish does not resemble their non-reverse and the feelings are opposite from one another.
This leads to a weird physical confusion that prevents long term development of a rotationally grounded movement.
What the HECK is a Non-Reverse?
Before we get into this further, what the HECK is a non-reverse? Think about a right-handed thrower at the front of the circle taking a standing throw. A REVERSE would be when the thrower switches their right foot forward as they slowly lift their left off the ground, the right foot would essentially replace the left leg as a means of stability to save the movement.
A non-reverse would be where the thrower continues to HOLD the left foot while the right side moves FORWARD through the final position. There is a lack of the feet switching and instead just a slight step forward, IDEALLY after the implement leaves the hand.
Three Points of the Non-Reverse
Keeping the application as simple as possible, there are three keys behind the non-reverse. When these keys are understood and connected, it becomes easier as an athlete to apply the movement to the full throw. All of these keys work synergistically in a cyclical manner.
We know that the entire goal behind throwing is to enhance our period of force development! When the period of force development is lengthened, we have a longer point to accelerate the implement. This is done by getting to the front as rapidly as possible and holding the front as LONG as possible. It’s important to prioritize this concept with throwers OVER AND OVER AND OVER again!
Using variation throws like the non-reverse, the thrower learns a slightly different aspect of movement. This forces an improvement in technical literacy and can aid the thrower in developing different feelings. Over a long period of time, feelings of movement will lead to greater throws!
2. Feeling of Movement
It can be very difficult and very frustrating for throwers to learn what “grounded” technique feels like and how they can apply to their development. Using the non-reverse variation throw, the feeling begins to develop. The tempo might be slower but the technical feelings are easier to recognize! When movement recognition occurs, the thrower is more likely to transfer this feeling to their full competitive movement.
It takes time and patience to develop a grounded feeling and thousands of reps to learn how to utilize energy and tension effectively from a grounded position. This feeling can be correlated to a child trying to keep a door closed while their older sibling attempts to break into the room and steal their toys! The child would not jump to apply force forward, instead, they will hold the ground and attempt to apply as much force from a grounded position to prevent the entrance of their aggressive toy stealer!
3. Grounded Application
There is a clear connection behind all three aspects of the non-reverse technique. Each point contributes to the other! There needs to be feeling to establish technique and there needs to be a grounded application to establish better feeling and technique. The finish of the non-reverse is an excellent tool to use to improve a grounded application. But why?
Some major keys behind the grounded application teach us that the body accelerates the implement differently than we otherwise believe. For starters, the right knee and ankle must remain flexed and plantar flexed. This rotational grounded position transfers into a FLAT left foot that acts as a point of control. The flat left foot is grounded over a long period while the right hip/knee and ankle rotate through the finish.
This finish is a different feeling from the extended, jumpy feeling most throwers have been taught throughout the years. It’s more of a squeeze type feeling instead of a lift and jump feeling. The ground application sparks greater feelings because the proprioception created from grounded positioning leads to greater force development!
These concepts are great but how can we apply this to an actual real-world scenario of throwing?!?! At ThrowsU, we like to use non-reverses in VARIOUS manners but two specific methods are our most consistent.
1. Slow Warm-Ups
Start with slow warm-up throws with the non-reverse. This can be viewed as a dynamic warm-up for young AND elite throwers. This style of warm-up will help with mobility and positions while also improving specific feelings for the technical movement. A simple concept is to take 6-10 throws at about 40-60%. This will force more control from the mind and a bit more awareness from the thrower in regards to their movement. It will force them to be more precise and direct with their rotation, leading to better distances!
2. High Speed Transition Throws
I can hear everyone now, “That’s great Dane, slow throws are awesome but how can we get kids to apply this to their full throw?”
This is important to comprehend because ideally, the thrower uses this style of technique at competitive speed! We use high-speed transition throws. Over a span of 4-6 throws, we slowly build the intensity of the movement while continuing to hold the non-reverse position on the finish. Over these 4-6 throws, we want the thrower to slowly implement the reverse as a by-product to save the throw. This is very foreign to most throwers and can take a very long time to develop BUT when it is seen as a last chance to save the throw, the reverse is not as forced and the finish is much more grounded!
Use non-reverse throws to develop the three points of synergistic movement. Improve feeling, enhance technique, and find the grounded application. By hammering slow warm-up throws and high-speed transition throws, the non-reverse can lead to a firm development in improved technical execution. These concepts take years to develop but through patience and focus, big throws will be the final result!
"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