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Learning the Hammer Throw: Perfecting Technique

My old training partner Ryan Jensen and I published a short article in Track Coach last winter about coaching beginners. Ryan coaches the youth throwers at the Kamloops Track and Field Club, and we worked together to lay out a method for getting a beginner to easily complete a three turn throw. This fall, we published a follow-up where we discuss what to do next. Finishing a throw is step one; perfecting it is the next step.

The second article focuses on some common errors and ways to approach fixing them. I talk about technical issues on here from time to time, but I often stay on the theoretical level and have never attempted to put the different pieces together. This was an attempt to do so in a very quick and readable way. As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback.
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Learning the Hammer Throw

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In the last issue of Track Coach, my training partner Ryan Jensen and I published a short article about learning to throw the hammer. Our approach is simple: get kids throwing as fast as possible and then start to refine their technique. The article is built on our experiences in coaching, watching Dr. Bondarchuk coach, and learning to throw ourselves.

I actually learned to throw the hammer twice and the first time I was unsuccessful. I first threw the hammer at at age 15 and began to coach myself. Even after three years of training once a month, I was still just using one or two turns in competition and had no concept of what the event is about.

When I was 18, I met Harold Connolly and began learning all over again. This time, I had a plan. For weeks I did drill after drill, but not one throw. Harold’s theory was to perfect the basics of technique before ever entering the ring. Even after I began throwing, drills took up a significant part of my training for the next four years. My footwork was great, but in hindsight that isn’t where my focus should have been. My footwork has never been a problem, but I still have issue with my balance and rhythm. Drills can’t replicate the true rhythm of a throw. Only a throw can, and that should have been my focus from the beginning. Read more