We all know that hammer throwers are a bit different, but the event itself also stands out among track and field disciplines in several manners that you might not realize. First off it requires a unique combination of physical characteristics such as speed, strength, power, coordination, and agility. However more importantly the way the sport is set up makes it different. These differences can also have an large impact on how you approach training and technique. Below are three ways the hammer throw really stands out and some initial thoughts on how that could affect training. Read more
Don Babbitt has developed a name as one of the top throws coaches in the world after guiding athletes like Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson, Breaux Greer, Jason Tunks, and Andras Haklits. Recently he’s been involved with a number of projects in the throwing world like leading a rotational shot put project in Japan, analyzing throwing development in the US, and work with Koji Murofushi to research specific strength exercises like “hammerobics.” On this week’s podcast Babbitt joins us to brainstorm about what’s on his mind recently. Read more
When you read Frans Bosch’s critique of traditional strength training, two main elements stand out: traditional lifting lacks transfer as it is based on different coordination, and traditional lifting lacks the variation inherent in sport. In his book Bosch outlines a different approach to strength training and while we can argue about his approach it is hard to deny the issues he is working to solve. As a hammer thrower, I am constantly thinking about how our event can address these issues, a topic Bondarchuk has spent his life working on. In this month’s Strength and Conditioning Journal, Olympic champion Koji Murofushi, University of Georgia coach Don Babbitt, and Ken Ohta describe their framework for addressing the problem. They call it hammerobics. Read more
In talking about whether to use three or four turns last week I concluded that the decision has to be individual based based on what rhythm fits each specific athlete’s qualities. For many athletes the question should not just be three or four turns, but also toe turn or heel turn. Using four heel turns is a technique that is almost always forgotten as an option.
As usual, the hammer throw will be starting off the action at this year’s world championships. The men’s qualifying round will take place on Saturday afternoon, where 29 athletes will battle to make it on to Monday’s 12 person final. Coming off of a dominant Olympic title, Krisztián Pars is the name to watch. On the one hand it might appear like he will have things easier this year since, as is expected after an Olympic year, the level of hammer throwing has receded slightly. This year saw just 11 throwers over 79 meters and 36 over 76 meters, compared with 16 and 47 throwers respectively in 2012. But on the other hand Pars is barely ahead of the competition. All of the top ten entrants have a season’s best within two meters of Pars. In other words, the competition should be close and the pressure will still be on Pars.
If you are interested in an overview of the other throwing events, check out the House Of Run Podcast where I previewed all of the throwing events a few weeks ago. Jesse Squire of the Daily Relay has also put togehter a short overview of the men’s throwing events.
Are you ready for the hammer season? Ready or not, elite throwers around the world are getting ready to enter the ring if they haven’t done so already. On Saturday, the first major US meet of the season will take place at the Mt. SAC Relays with throwers like Kibwé Johnson, Libor Charfreitag, Drew Loftin, Mark Dry, Sultana Frizell, Jessica Cosby, Sophie Hitchon, Sarah Holt, Britney Henry, and several other elites. The IAAF Hammer Challenge kicks off in a few weeks in Tokyo. I’ve had six months to speculate, talk about, and analyze the upcoming season. So without further ado here are the 10 reasons why I think everyone should watch the hammer this year. And feel free to comment below with what you are looking forward to in 2013.
1 – 80 meters still has to be right around the corner. It was first on my list last year and remains first on my list this year. I want to see the women’s world record broken with the first throw over 80 meters. A half dozen women are within striking distance and just one of them needs to get there. Betty Heidler has to be the favorite to reach the mark first. Not only is she the current world record holder at 79.42 meters, but her recent inconsistency plays to her advantage in this regard. Throwers like Lysenko have been so consistent that I would be more surprised by a big personal best. But with Heidler anything is possible and a big throw of 80 meters is definitely one of them. Read more
There are a few genuine treasure troves of coaching information available free online. The first is Hammer Notes, which I devoured when I was first learning the hammer. For better or worse, it remains a great way to survey the current theories of hammer training 30 years after its initial publication. The other is the free online archive of New Studies in Athletics, the IAAF’s official technical publication. In browsing it the other day I came across a 2001 analysis of the current IAAF hammer throw cage by a team of Japanese researchers including Olympic and world champion Koji Murofushi.
The international season starts up this weekend with the first leg of the IAAF Hammer Challenge in Kawasaki, Japan. Until the hammer throw is added to the Diamond League, the hammer challenge will remain the top circuit of throwing meets. And with so few competitive opportunities many of the best are jumping right in. The field in Kawasaki will feature five 80-meter throwers (see the full start list here).
By the end of the year, my wish list from last season was mostly fulfilled. On the eve of the 2012 season I’ve thought of the top 10 things I’m looking forward to this year. Feel free to share yours in the comments section below.
1 – A woman over 80 meters. This was high on my list last year and Betty Heidler came within two feet of the barrier in the earlier season. There were rumors that she threw over it in training during the summer, but it never materialized at a meet. A few women may be capable of hitting the mark (even my old training buddy Sultana Frizell threw her name in the mix with a 75 meter bomb in March), but Heidler has to be the frontrunner now. Not only has she thrown the furthest, but she is also motivated to improve even more after she only claimed silver at last year’s world championships.
Many people often forget that the current men’s hammer throw world champion is also one of the foremost contributors to advancing the science of hammer throwing. Koji Murofushi, or maybe I should say Dr. Koji, received his doctorate in physical education from Chyukyo University. His dissertation and research focused on the biomechanics of hammer throwing and is one of the few contributors to a field that has been relatively dormant over the past two decades.
I’ve ranked the top ten men. I’ve ranked the top ten women. But there are many moments that can’t be captured in athlete’s rankings. Throughout 2011 there were some great events in hammer throwing that were one-off occurrences or even something a non-thrower accomplishes. Below is a list of my favorite moments in hammer throwing from the past year.