Highland Games Basics: Step Away from the Bar

Highland Games Basics: Step Away from the Bar

“Step away from the bar.” These are the words I say to myself when I walk by a Snickers, but for the time being we’ll reference it for the 56 lb. Weight Over Bar.

When I was in middle school I had the opportunity to compete in the long jump … well … let’s be honest; so did everyone. It was seventh grade and I was part of the pentathlon that the whole track team was doing. Now, as a thrower, I knew my days as a long jumper would never come to fruition, but I have to admit, those twitchy athletes have some good ideas from time to time. Have you ever noticed how they mark their steps for the jump approach? The same goes high jumpers and pole vaulters. So, why can’t I, as a Highland Gamer, apply this to the Weight Over Bar? I mean, come on, I’m twitchy … kind of?

How many of you are tired of hearing the words, “Ah, man! You had the height!” Your friend usually follows that up with a, “Now, just take a step out.” Or, “Take a step closer to the bar.” In my opinion, these aren’t things you should be worrying about come Games Day. You should be pulling the weight just like you always do – like you have a thousand times before (trust me, if you’re just starting, you’ll eclipse that number soon).

Most throwers will stand under the bar, look up in the sky and waddle out away from the bar. And, sadly, their placing in front of the bar varies with each throw. If you’re throwing into a knock-off bar, those variations can make a huge difference. Here’s how I like to approach it:

First off, I drag a line in the grass with my cleat that is the same path and placement as the bar.  I use this as my basis for how far I am away from the bar. This also makes it  an easy throw to replicate in practice, which is HUGE; the more things from competition day that you can replicate in practice, the better. This line becomes my back line for measuring my feet. I always place my heel on the back of the line I’ve dragged with my foot. From there, it’s simply three feet (you guessed it, I walk them out heel toe, heel toe) marked out to where I’ll take my throw from.

Now, back to the “replication,” part; mostly because I’m proud of myself for using such a big and important word. By having that line as your orientation, you’ve taken one variable out of your throw. You no longer worry and overthink your placement in front of the bar – you can concentrate on throwing.

Now, I have a long and deep pull that I like to drive back on, which I can explain at another time, but the three feet distance is what works for me.  Your distance may be four feet or two feet or one! Remember those one thousand throws I talked about? Now’s the time to take about 75 of those to figure out what distance works best for you.

1 comment

  • Bill Stillwell

    Dan
    Having been a high jumpers in high school and a couple of years after. I understand the measuring your steps comment. Its interesting since I have never really thought of my approach on the WOB. I do have a certain way of lining myself up with the bar though. I guess this would be the same as my steps on an approach to the HJ. You use three feet and I use one large step that I would equate to that. But I do this all the time when I throw WOB. My biggest issue is finishing my pull. This is most common when the weight goes straight up and comes straight down. It happens. I like reading your stuff, thank you for posting. Bill

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