Posts

You haven’t taught until they’ve learned

In my post yesterday about Jean-Pierre Egger I wrote about the importance of having a technical philosophy and how that can look in practice. As important as that is, having a philosophy isn’t much use unless the athlete understands it. Teaching isn’t necessarily about what you say, it’s about what is heard. Or, as John Wooden used to put it, you haven’t taught until they’ve learned. Read more

Changes

With two throws left in my last training session before leaving for the Tucson Elite Throwers Classic, we changed my entry from a step back, to starting with both feet to the back of the ring for a more static approach. Crystal pointed out that I’ve had the tendency to step out much too wide when I prepared to enter off of the second wind. Needless to say, it was interesting feeling my way through this new entry on the fly and at meet speed. I did ok, but I left a couple more good throws on the table, including one that was just short of 76m again in the second meet. So you know I wasn’t pleased about that. 🙂 Read more

Three Versus Four Turns

Some of you may have glossed over the disussion of hurdling technique in my training talk with Gary Winkler. But his answers could equally be applied to the hammer throw or any event. I asked him why so many athletes were switching from eight to seven steps before the first hurdle and his response was quick:

Most of it is just groupthink … There is not always a lot of analytic thinking going on when these decisions are made.

Why do no top Americans glide in the shot put? Or why do no Germans spin? Is it just group think?

Why do no top Americans glide in the shot put? Or why do no Germans spin? Is it just groupthink?

The same could be said in the debate about why so many shot putters spin in America versus using the glide. Or about the big question in the hammer throw: three versus four turns. The majority of throwers use four turns now, but plenty of success has been achieved with three turns, including the current men’s world record by Yuri Sedykh and the current American women’s record by Amanda Bingson.
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Finding the Right Rhythm

Rhythm and the hammer throw are inseparable. A good throw needs it and bad throws lack it. As a coach I often have my throwers focus on the the rhythm of the throw as much as any other aspect. But as a thrower training alone, rhythm is something that is difficult for me to focus on in my own throw. Perhaps it is just me, but rhythm seems much easier to watch or hear than to feel. The blur of the throw prevents me from getting much feedback about the rhythm. I can feel when a throw is smooth or easy, but I can tell you little about the rhythm. Harold Connolly told me that at least one of his athletes must have felt the same way so he altered his hammer to whistle as he threw, with the pitch varying as speed increased.

Watching the acceleration patterns of Yuri Sedykh gives you a good idea of his rhythm.

Watching the acceleration patterns of Yuri Sedykh gives you a good idea of his rhythm.

Thankfully I can sometimes get others to come and watch me throw. Yesterday Terry McHugh was once again able to watch me practice and his sole focus was on rhythm. Terry has little experience with the hammer, but he is a talented javelin coach and has a good eye. As with focusing, rhythm is universal and something Terry can help me with as much as any hammer coach can. Read more