Side-Throw and Center of Trig Measuring
Below is a depiction of the measuring of the exact same throw under center-of-trig and plant-foot. This illustrates how side-throws can generate “longer” throws under center-of-trig measuring.
A side-throw is one were the implement does not land in the center of the field but off to the side, usually on the side of the release.
In this illustration, the throw was launched with the plant foot 1 foot to the right of the Trig’s center. Under center-of-trig measuring, the distance thrown is 50 feet. However, using plant foot measuring system, the throw is measured 49.801 feet, 2.4 inches shorter!
A judge using the additional rule “Any throw made purposefully to the side to take advantage of this measuring system will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and may be scratched without warning by the Judge” can scratch the above throw if he feels the throw was intentionally made to the side.
- The problem is that this puts to much pressure on the judge. Ironically, one of the motivations in adopting this measuring system was to relieve some pressure off of the judge so they can worry about safety and fouls.
An alternatives to scratching an intentional side-throw is to warn the thrower and:
- measure the throw to the corner of the trig closest to the side in which the implement lands:
- This is punitive, cheaters should not be rewarded.
- The judge will not be watching the plant foot position, eliminating that measuring method.
- measure the throw to the 1/4 point (= half way between the center of the trig and the edge) closest to the side in which the implement lands:
- This is less punitive than the corner
- It relieves some of the pressure of making side-throw calls.
- It is in the spirit of the center of trig measuring in that it is straight forward while making adjustments for side throws.
- Some what mimics track and field’s pulling the tape through the center of the circle.
- measure using plant foot measuring.
- If the judge is prepared to make the plant foot call, then why not use it?
In the Safety Speech, the AD should warn the thrower of this rule and this warning should be factored into your decision to scratch the throw or use an alternate measurement.
How has the Throwing Community Responded
Despite the additional rules and an emphasis to act honorably, some throwers continue to throw to the side but have disguised their “cheating” efforts.
This has ratcheted up the pressure on judges who want to call the contest fairly, putting them in an awkward positions. This often leads to judges ignoring side throws all together, leading to more and more throwers gaming the measuring system to stay competitive.
Opinion: This is not a way to run a competition.
How To Spot An Intentional Side-Throw
Intentional side-throws are most often done in the Braemar and Hammer events. In the other events, adjusting the power position and release after the approachis more difficult and is perhaps less productive.
When measuring to the center of the trig, a thrower only benefits from a side-throw when launching the implement from the same side of the box in which the implement lands in the field (when compared to plant foot measuring or measuring from a person standing near the center line of the trig). This thrower gains the distance from where he releases to the center of the trig – THIS DISTANCE HE DID NOT EARN. The above illustration shows this.
As a judge, if a thrower in the Hammer or Breamar events positions himself on the release side of the trig, first give the thrower a warning about side-throws and be prepared to measure from the plant-foot (or center of stance) if or when a side throw occurs (if you choose not to scratch that throw).