Time to Put the Uniform Back On

After training with Peter on Sunday he asked me what my training plan was leading up to my first competitions over the next two weeks. On Saturday my club will be hosting a small throwing meet in Zurich and next week I will be traveling to Spain for the European Cup Winter Throwing event. I told him that I had no special plan; training will continue as normal. “Why compete then?” he asked.

Coming soon to Sihlhölzli: the season.

Coming soon to Sihlhölzli: the season.

He posed a good question. But I have a better question: “Why not?” I can list a dozen reason why I likely won’t have a good result. Most importantly I plan to do normal training up until and including the day before the competition, I will be throwing alongside six of my youth throwers making it almost impossible to focus on my own throw, I have worked with a coach just a handful of days in the past months, I have not touched a competition weight hammer for more than four weeks, and since we are in the middle of the tax season I’ve been working overtime the past few weeks. But there is still no reason not to compete. My fear of having a bad result next to my name vanished after a few bad seasons throughout my career. Why not compete?
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Let the New Year Begin Already


This is the time of the year when many athletes are posting their New Year’s resolutions. You won’t find that here. I’m not a big person for New Year’s resolutions. For me, the new year starts in October when I begin training. January 1st is in the middle of the year, with months of training behind me and many more months ahead.

I’m also not a big goal person in general. I tend to think that specific goals are mostly needed when you do not know what direction to go. Sure, I want to throw over 70 meters, but writing that down on a piece of paper is not going to help the matter at all. My biggest goal is vague: I want to throw as far as I can. As long as I work my ass off towards that goal, everything else will fall into place. I know what direction I am heading, the question is only how far along that path I will proceed this year. And in many ways that is out of my hands.
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Elite Hammer Throw Comes to Switzerland

For the first time in more than a decade, a truly world-class hammer throw competition will take place in Switzerland. Switzerland has a long history of hosting elite competitions. The small country already has just as many Diamond League meets as the US, including the finale in Zurich. But the hammer throw has disappeared from these competitions. Ever since the Weltklasse am Rhein throwers meet was canceled around 2000, it has been rare for more than a few 70 meter throwers to show up at the same time. Things got even worse after Switzerland’s own two 70 meter guys retired after the Athens Olympiad.

Szymon Ziólkowski, who will headline Luzern 2012, is seen striking a pose for sponsor Polanik.

Therefore tomorrow’s Spitzenleichtathletik Luzern meet will be somewhat historic as many of the world’s best hammer throwers will be coming to Switzerland. Four throwers with season’s bests over 78 meters will headline the event, including 2000 Olympic champion Szymon Ziólkowski. While Ziólkowski just turned 36 a few weeks ago, he has shown he is still among the world’s best by winning bronze at the 2012 European Championships. The field is also very deep and includes some up-and-coming young throwers such as 2010 World Junior champion Conor McCullough and 2011 German junior champion Tristan Schwandke. Nearly all of the throwers are having the best season of their lives as shown by the fact that Oleksiy Sokyrskyy and Lukáš Melich, two throwers who have been under the radar for awhile, just placed second and third at the Madrid IAAF Hammer Challenge event. Luzern will serve as a final Olympic tune-up for many of these throwers and they will have an extra incentive to throw far in the form of a diamond for the winner and a share of a special $20,000 jackpot for anyone throwing over 79.50 meters. Read more

Meet Recap: Fourth Straight Swiss Championship

Experience is one of the most underrated traits for hammer throwers. You mostly need it when training is going poorly, and at some point that happens for every thrower. My season started off terribly in May and June with marks consistently around just 61 and 62 meters. It was frustrating to hear the officials read off marks that I could have easily achieved six or seven years ago. A few small speed bumps in training set my training down the wrong path and I had to scramble to save the season.
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Meet Recap: Season’s Best in Olten

It is amazing how fast things can change once you start to focus on them. At the start of June I was extremely disappointed with my results at the Swiss Club Championships. I had been coming off of several things that had disrupted my overall rhythm and wrote that the meet was a wake up call for me to focus again. Since then I have made sure to get plenty of rest, stay health, and most importantly make a few technical adjustments. The results yesterday was a new season’s best of 66.50 meters at the Olten Abendmeeting.
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Meet Recap: Swiss Club Championships

The LCZ team at the 2012 Swiss Club Championships.

Let me start with the good news: I’m finally feeling healthy again. My rib has slowly reached a nearly pain free state thanks to help from my massage therapist and physiotherapist. The bad news is that this small problem set me back more than I thought it would.
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Watching Fraenkisch-Crumbach From the Stands

For the fourth year in a row I ventured north for the memorable Fränksich-Crumbach Hammermeeting in small-town Germany. I’ve been explicit in stating that this is my favorite hammer meet around. Attendance looked a little higher at this year’s tenth edition of the meet, but the results were a little down and so was the excitement. I think everyone was expecting a world record and some mere international calibre results left them wanting; Betty Heidler defeated perhaps the best women’s field the meet has ever had, and Markus Esser convincingly won the men’s title. There is still just something unique about the meet. Nearly every one of the fans embraces the event in a way that makes the athletes feel like we have been adopted by a family. To take an example, I stepped into one of the local hotels to look for Sultana. I had never been there before, but as soon as I walked in the proprietor said: “You must be Mr. Bingisser.” He then explained to his wife that I had written a great article about Fränkisch-Crumbach on the internet.

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Restarting the Engine

The top six finishers at the Memorial Kops Ludivig Reuter.

If you ever drive a manual car, I’m sure you’ve stalled it at least once at a stop light. You know the feeling of just sitting there, ready and waiting for the green signal to give you permission to start off. But as soon as it flashes you let out the clutch too early and stall the car. With others impatiently waiting behind you, you panic and try to restart the car as soon as possible. I think this accurately describes my first competition of the main season last weekend.
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Meet Recap: European Cup Winter Throwing 2012

This weekend I participated in the European Cup Winter Throwing for the third straight year. The idea of the meet is to provide a winter championship for events, such as the hammer throw, that cannot compete indoors. Since we throw outside a warmer location is ideal, yet this is the first time in three years that this goal was actually accomplished.

This year’s edition of the meet was held in Bar, Montenegro, a small Adriatic port town in Montenegro. With picturesque mountains, a ring just 100 meters from the sea, and warm weather, the conditions were perfect. After a strong opening meet last weekend I was hoping to throw 65 or 66 meters this weekend especially after being motivated by Sultana‘s massive Canadian record yesterday of 75.04 meters. Alas it was not to be.
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Meet Recap: Zurich Winterwurf

The European outdoor season begins much later than the North American season, and that is especially the case here in Switzerland where most athletes do not start throwing until the end of May. But for athletes competing in the long throws, this can be a frustratingly long wait. I’ve competed at the European Cup Winter Throwing the past few years and will do so again this year. In addition, this year my club organized our own winter throwing cup here in Zürich today. Combined, these meets make up my pre-season; I get some feedback on how training is going and then have the opportunity to focus entirely on training again for two months before the real season starts.
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