April Training Update

According to Dr. Bondarhcuk, hammer throwers can be divided into three groups.  The first type of thrower has slow winds, but accelerates sharply in each turn.  An example of this type of athlete would be Lance Deal. The second type begins with fast winds, but accelerates insignificantly during the turns.  A good example of this type of athlete is Sergey Litvinov.  The third type of athlete winds at an average speed and accelerates moderately during each turn.  According to Bondarchuk, one type is not better than any other type.  As he notes:

Membership in one or another group depends first of all on this athlete’s individual peculiarities, as well as on the number of turns used.  It is very important that the observed difference in the structure of the rhythm of throwing not only does not prevent the athlete from showing a high level of athletic achievement, but also, on the contrary, in all cases facilitates this.

Rather than forcing an athlete to throw one way, a coach should find out what way is best for the athlete and build upon it.
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Forces vs. Positions

My training partner, Martin, already blogged about our discussion from the group and Dr. B on this topic here. So I will paraphrase and add some personal thoughts from my own experiences.

I used to think there was some hammer secret out there. There has to be, why is everyone else so good and we kind of wallow behind? (aside from our 3 80m guys and our other pioneers of course). Since training here, it is so increasingly obvious that there is no ‘secret’, but people think ‘well, it can’t be that simple!’ Well it is. When my coach explains what he wants and gives you the why, 9/10 times it’s a ‘duh’ moment. Coaching the hammer this way has been lost over time. Indeed, not in only the States either. Dr. B is very careful when saying this. The issue is all over the world. I’ll tell you the secret: Throw the hammer and do lots of special strength! Maybe easier said than done, but here’s the why. Ultimately, there is a ceiling for how weight room strong you can be to effect the hammer for maximal distance. The special strength exercises focus on all those other muscles that are absolutely essential to throwing a hammer far (especially the 7.26k).
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Is There a Perfect Technique?

There is an interesting discussion on The Ring this week. The topic is whether or not there is a “perfect technique” in the throwing events. In some sports, like diving, athletes are judged on whether or not they hit certain positions.  In those sports, there is a perfect technique.

In throwing, however, we aren’t judged by whether we hit positions.  We win or lose based on how far we throw.  Asking about the “perfect technique” is part of the reason Americans have struggled in the hammer (I’ve detailed some other reasons in previous posts).  Technique in the hammer throw is not about mastering positions, it is about mastering forces.  While I know some coaches in America understand this, many more don’t and even I didn’t even grasp this until recently.
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Mixing Up My Training Again (+Video)

If you’ve been following my training, you’ll know that I started off the Fall with some high volume intense special strength work. Since then, I have been working to transfer that new strength into the hammer.  My coach, Dr. B, estimated that this would take a month or two.  It’s been two months and, right on cue, he’s correct again.  Take a look at this video from this morning’s training.  Both my technique and power are progressing quite nicely. I am pushing the ball much better on every turn. That is something I struggled with earlier this year, especially in the final turn.
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Fall Training: Video Update

Since returning from Europe, I have returned to training twice a day. While I have taken an extra day off here and there, I’ve let my body rest in other ways. For instance, I’ve only been throwing light hammers (6.5 and 5.5 kilograms) and have done basically no weightlifting over the past six weeks. My strength training has been limited to simple exercises such as sit ups, vertical jumps, and overhead shot put throws. This has allowed me to rest up and correct some bad habits that emerged during the season.
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Beauty and the Hammer Throw

The basic mousetrap may be simple, but it is an engineering feat (bear with me, this post is actually about hammer throwing). With just three parts, it is able to accomplish its task for hundreds as years while more complex versions have tried and failed to be more efficient. But if one part is removed, and it no longer works. There is the beauty, not just in its simplicity, but in the relationship between its parts.
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Training Video Update

My new training program has been slowly doing its job.  The lighter hammers are finally allowing me to better transfer my new strength into the competition weight hammer.  Both my technique and rhythm with the competition hammer have been improving steadily since starting the program last Monday.
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Spring Competition Schedule

Today is the first day of spring and the snow is finally beginning to melt in Kamloops.  We are still training indoors, but plan to start training outdoors again next week.  My throws have been feeling very good this past week, so I am eager to get outside and see how far they are going.  I am also on a new training program that has me throwing heavy hammers again and doing a lot of hammer-specific weight training.  The hope is to get me in good shape before the season starts.  We will be heading down south for a few weeks in April and will start the season at Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic and the Mt. SAC Relays in Los Angeles.
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December Video Update

With previous coaches, I found that video analysis was essential to fine-tune my technique.  Since working with Dr. Bonarchuk, however, I no longer feel the need to watch as much video.  I trust that he knows what he is talking about and just do as he says.  However, it is still helpful to watch video occasionally to visualize what he is talking about.  It has been too long since I have done this.  Below is a video we took at an indoor training session this week.  I was throwing the competition 16-pound hammer.
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