We all want to reach Nirvana, that place in Hindu mysticism where all individual existence ceases to exist and you are one with the universe. We previously discussed the intitation of the throw — “Out the back” — and the drive phase. We are now at Nirvana phase.
This is also the next phase in the rotational throw and I named it Nirvana because the thrower should shed individual concerns at this point and become the throw, a blur of energy, acceleration and movement. This seldom mentioned and often misunderstood position is the most significant in the outcome of the throw and the recovery after the throw. It focuses all energy into the pivot, creating power and directing the momentum up through the release. These energies are described as planes of power and they line up the muscular-skeletal performance as the impulse step ignites. This phase consists of two turns, the first of which is 180 degrees and centrifugal; the second turn is centripetal and is 360 degrees for a total rotation of 540 degrees.
Each turn is rotational in nature, directing force to the axis of the turn, keeping the arms and legs in close to the body to speed up the turn. This allows the body to come out of the turn faster than it enters, like a figure skater in a spin.
Horizontal force takes place after the first turn and consists of a lunging sprint step or skating step into the second pivot and the sliding of the left foot toward the bucket. The bucket is at the left side of the toe board. Acceleration should be added to each step taken without any lateral variations. In other words, no wiggles that detract from the energy put into the throw.
The J-plane follows the horizontal plane, but is a descending motion for the body. It is the process of working your way down to the front of the circle to set up a plyometric base with double leg support at the bottom of the second pivot. All this is done below the hips.
Nirvana is the matrix where the first three power planes are combined together with a torqued upper body. You keep the shoulder from drifting ahead of the hip. The body weight is under the ball and in front of the shot as you start to spiral up through the vertical movement. The power position unwinds as you move up through the throw.
The feet, the knees and then the hip come into action. You have to start uncoiling with the feet. This position is referred to as a backward “C.” Come out of each pivot faster than you entered it because you need to be able to throw off the top of the vertical phase.
The next phase is the vertical jump phase. Positioning, balance and alignment are key factors that add distance to the throw in this phase. Proper utilization of these factors will create a more efficient throw. Acceleration and the depth of the position add time and power to the velocity, angle and height of the release. You have to get as low as you can go. The horizontal phase combined with an efficient pivot at the power position must be equal to the vertical jump phase speed for maximum distance. Problems such as being off balance, having over- or under-rotated, moving too slow or too fast, or having too short or too long of a step can be corrected if the center of gravity is low enough through Nirvana. The lower you go the more efficient you will be at the top.
The hips should act as a gyroscope and sort out the flaws before the vertical acceleration begins. The body weight is distributed between the pivoting right quadricep as the right knee moves forward; the left leg is responsible for pulling the body weight forward and adding vertical development. As the center of gravity ascends, the left arm comes down and locks the left side of the body accelerating or catapulting the right shoulder from its torqued position; it comes into play as the final acceleration movement. It is a helix movement from bottom to top. Think of a screw being driven down and then suddenly rotating in reverse and popping up.
The torque separation of the upper body is utilized by delivering the throw up and over the top of the left side, and over the lock position. If the pathway of the shot circumvents the right hip and does not come over the top of the left leg a flat throw with unchecked inertia can result in a foul or a short throw.
There is a test for this phase as well. Imagine an imaginary strap from the shot behind your ear connecting to the right heel. Your body forms a backward C. Think of it as a drawn bow and the shot is the arrow.
Reverse and re-entry phase is the fifth phase. This phase is understood as the result of the jump phase. What goes up must come down. When the jump is vertical and without variation it will return along the same path as jumped. Let the reverse happen naturally. The results of the vertical acceleration and the horizontal acceleration when matched equally should create a 45 degree release.
If you have any questions, comments or observations, please email me at this website.
By Brian Oldfield with George Houde
(this blog was originally posted on 5/16/2012)