Rotation or Glide "The Great Debate"

  • Just watched the video of the NCAA Shot Put. I believe I just saw the final 9 guys throw. However, I did not see one glider. Obviously I am a huge fan of the rotational shot but for some reason it bothers me that there was not a single glider in the finals. Is it because the rotational shot put is superior to the glide??? This is hard to say due to the recent success of Storl and Majewski at Major Championships. Or is it because the art of coaching the glide is going by the wayside? Who was the last elite glider for the U.S.? The last one I remember up around 21 meters was Tonyo Sylvester for the WCAP program.

  • @Rutger Smith

    I would say the spin here in the US is more 'culture'. Bit harder to pick up, but once a thrower does the chance of success is bigger.


    Although i would look at somebody's stands to decide what to do. It's all about the stand throw of a glider. Increase it, constantly. Ralf Bartels and Manuel Martinez were both around 6' 0" by the way. Compare to Storl and Majewski both had a totally different body. But once again, they have huge stand throws.

  • Yeah I also agree with Rutger. Nick remember when [Chris] Figures was throwing? His stands were at most 53' - 54' even on days where he was throwing 65' - 66'. To have up to a 12' jump on a full rotational throw I think is why in the US more coaches go with the high risk high reward. Chris isn't that tall either definitely under 6 feet.

  • @Rutger Smith

    I've seen Martinez throwing 20.75m - 21m (68' - 69') stand. But all gliders, Bartels too. Gliders just add up a couple of feet with their glide. Storl and Majewski add up a bit more compare to them. But improve the stand throw and the glide automatically improves too. There is a lot of knowledges about the spin in Europe, there are some great technicians. Not particular one coach who knows best.

  • I agree with Rutger. The spin is the culture here in America. Because of that, most college coaches tend to favor the spin, and try to make there athletes into spinners. My college coach favors the spin and tries to convert athletes to that technique. I do, however, think that because the spin offers more (possible) distance, American coaches teach the spin over the glide. This topic would be good for your next "In the Spin" article, coach.

  • On both High School and College level you have only 4 years as a coach to 'make' a thrower. That's tough. For a HS coach tougher because when the throwers go to College they already have 4 years of experience. As a High School coach you start at '0'… 99% of the freshmen never had a shot in his/her hands before the first shot put training in HS.


    In Europe you go to clubs. They don't have a sport-school system like here. I started doing track & field when i was 6 years old. Doing most of the events for that age, which includes shot put (1kg - 2.2lbs). I think (exceptions there) that most of the elite throwers from Europe started also at that age or at last around their 10th birthday. The other day somebody asked me when i started doing the rotational technique. I answer with, "Late, I was already 17 when I switched to the spin technique" He came back to me with the question, "How do you mean, Late?..."

  • It is a "time" thing. Our development system needs quick results to keep a thrower in it. Any glider that could "stay" on track in our system will most likely be drawn over into basketball or football. [Kevin] Brookout is an example of this. Ryan Crouser would be a 20.30 glider right now instead of a 21.23m spinner. Please see my article "where have all the gliders gone" in Long and Strong Throwers Journal for a full explanation.

  • Sylvester was indeed the last American glider to throw over 20m....67' 5½" to be exact at the 2002 Nationals. He backed it up in 2003 with 66' and change. The glide requires a superior physiology while the spin requires superior athleticism. Many a glider has been made in the weight room and strength takes time to build.

  • @Rutger Smith

    Both the spin and the glide requires superior physiology and athleticism; and I bet most US spinners are stronger than the European gliders (also because the gliders are a bit taller). Because coaches don't have much time to work with their athletes here in the US making them strong fast is an solution. Which works in shot. You can throw that ball far with a bunch of adrenaline and power. When you have a decent technique. Only thats why discus stays 'behind' the last years here. Too much power throwers. But thats another topic

  • Rotational movement should produce a longer throw. However too much rotation at
    delivery will detract distance. The Glide movement allows more chances to use the leg and body power and strength and apply more direct power to the throw. The secret is being able to have the right ratio of turn and forward power. I have simplified my thoughts. The whole movement is more complex.

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