Lots to love about Sophia Rivera’s glide

It has been nice reading the recent glide/spin debate on the Macthrowvideo Chat site, one because it has been civil, and two because it is an issue that all high school coaches have to grapple with.

My two cents? A high school coach has to know how to teach both. A college coach can say “the glide sucks, I’m only going to recruit rotational throwers,” but high school coaches cannot control who enrolls in their school and the fact is that some kids are better suited to the glide, so you have to be ready to teach it.

It just so happens that a month ago at the World Youth Trials at Benedictine University I got to see a young thrower with a technically excellent glide–Sophia Rivera, who ended up finishing second at the World Youth Championships in Colombia.

For my contribution to the glide/spin debate, I’d like to point out some aspects of Sophia’s technique that make her glide so effective.

First, Sophia accelerates the shot through a long, straight path. Think of the barrel of one of those Brown Bess muskets that the British shot my Irish ancestors with back in the day. They were made long and straight to put maximum acceleration on the ball.

See how the shot stays on a straight path from here…



…through here…




…to here:




Even as she drives the shot through the finish…




…there is very little deviation from it’s original…









That there is sound physics, folks.


Second, from the power position she drives right-to-left into the throw, javelin style.

There is a persistent myth out there that gliders should land both feet simultaneously in the power position. Think about the way we throw things, though. If you had a rock in your hand and a chance to throw it at an in-law without getting caught, you wouldn’t plant both feet first. Not if you wanted to do some real damage. You would drive from your right foot to your left, the way Sophia does here…









It’s only natural.


Finally, Sophia gets maximum value from the ground. 

Driving hard against it with the right foot here…




…and here…





…and here…





…still driving, even after the shot has left her hand.


And by the way, look how solid her block is!  Every ounce of energy she created across the ring has gone into accelerating that shot.

I tip my hat to Sophia’s coach, Ron Eichaker. He has done a superb job of teaching Sophia a biomechanically sound glide.

Let me close by throwing out a question to our glide v. spin debaters. Sophia is about to enter her senior year in high school. As previously mentioned, she finished second at the World Youth Championships, so she is pretty…good. But, if the spin is truly the superior technique, Sophia should  switch to it when she gets to college, right?

But, if she switches, isn’t there a risk that she might not be able to transfer these sound mechanics to the rotational technique?

You’re her college coach. What are you going to do?




One thought on “Lots to love about Sophia Rivera’s glide”

  1. She’s a javelin thrower who’s also good at shot & discus. She shows (and trains) that block use in all 3 throws is quite similar: what you’re throwing and how you get to the block are the variables. Stick a firm block side, snap right hip against block, drag & whip throwing shoulder/arm against the blocked side.

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