I attended a clinic on Feb 3th given by Harry Marra, Ashton Eaton, and Brianna Theisen. We were allowed to shadow their regular training day and ask questions at the end of each event. I plan to post a few article based on the clinic, the first being this one.
The first event was Shot Put, and if you don’t already know, Ashton and Brianna follow the very unconventional technique usually called “The Shuffle”. Purest scoff at this technique, but I’m not convinced it doesn’t have its place, especially with multi-eventers. There are at least two professional women now using this technique, both with PRs over 20m (for reference, 20.00m would have gotten you 4th at the 2012 Olympics).
Anna Avdeeva placing 3rd at EU Championship. See 0:55 second at the following video.
Petra Lammert throwing 19.22m can be seen here.
Finally, here is the video from the clinic. It’s long, uneventful, and hard to hear…but if you’re like me, then you’re still interested. Brianna does hit 45′ on her first full throw, a PR for her.
The first thing that I noticed is that Avdeeva and Lammert drive off their left foot from the back of the ring…similar to a standard glide, just with the opposite foot. What’s interesting is that means they are driving with their strong leg (assuming this is true, since most right handed people have stronger left legs). However, Eaton and Theisen do not. They do almost a small two step.
Since I had a pentathlon on Feb 9th, I thought I’d give all three a head-to-head try. I dubbed the Avdeeva/Lammert style the Reverse Glide to distinguish it from the Easton/Theisen Shuffle.
For me, the Shuffle was not very natural. I couldn’t get into a good power position…I was out of balance, perhaps leaning back to far. However, I immediately took to the Reverse Glide. I had no problem snapping my feet/hips around and landing in a good, balanced power position (with the right amount of forward momentum). The only odd part was that I consistently threw towards the right sector line. So, I moved my setup a foot left and now drive towards the left sector line…viola, my throws were landing in the center of the sector. The Reverse Glide did not give me more distance than the regular glide; my longer throws were almost exactly the same. But I did notice that with the Reverse Glide, I was much more consistent at hitting those long throws. With the regular glide I occasionally landed a bit out of balance and often lost the shot (rolling too far onto my fingertips). As a decathlete, who only gets 3 throws and really strives to make sure that first one is solid, the Reverse Glide gives me an edge.
Okay granted, I’m a 43 year old Master’s Decathlete, who isn’t nearly as strong or powerful as I used to be (my bench and clean are both barely over 200lb now-a-days). My results are just that…”my” results. The only thing I can say with certainty is that it’s worth giving a try.
BTW, at my pentathlon, I opted to try both regular and reverse glides. Reverse Glide won.