Earlier this month, Sergej Litvinov Jr. posted some insightful comments about hammer technique on Facebook. Litvinov Jr. is one of the top up and coming throwers in the world. He has a personal best of 78.98m and placed 5th at the 2009 World Championship at a young age of just 23. He’s also had the benefit of learning the event from his father, the former Olympic champion and world record holder of the same name.
Litvinov Jr. posted a link to this hammer throw instructional video. The video takes a subjective approach to hammer throw technique and says that the position of the low point during the winds should be individual for the athlete. Litvinov Jr. quickly replied that this is wrong; the low point should never be on the left side for a right handed thrower.
I had the chance to spend some time training with Litvinov Jr. and his father back in 2004. Rather than focusing on footwork or positions like most of the coaches I had met before, Litvinov focused on the orbit of the hammer. If the hammer travels the right path (e.g. a long and balanced one), then the throw will be good. And to get the hammer to go in the right path starts with the proper low point. Once the low point gets off, the orbit will never recover.
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