Watching Sedykh Coach

At least once a year, world record holder Yuri Sedykh comes to america for a camp or clinic. In December he once again spent four days in South Carolina for the Hurricane Throwers Classic, where he worked hands on with youth, college, elite, and masters throwers.

Last week I stumbled upon a video from that clinic, shown below. Rather than video of a presentation, this was video of Sedykh coaching. Sedykh often gives the same presentations at his clinics, so it was interesting to see him give feedback instead. Feedback always changes depending on the thrower and the specific throw, so I feel that watching a coach at work gives you the best understanding of the approach and application of their technical philosophy.
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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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In Defense of Kibwe’s Technique

Kibwe's old technique.

Kibwé’s old technique. For newbies, the bent arm is a bad thing.

When you ask people who are the best technical throwers currently throwing they will likely throw out the name of Koji Murofushi or Primoz Kozmus. Few would likely name Kibwé Johnson. The reason for this is that people tend to focus on what people do wrong rather than what people do right. For years, Kibwé did a lot wrong. As an example, take a look at the picture to the right. But now many of those errors are gone, and his strengths are even better. While his technique is still very much a work in progress, and he would be the first to say that, I feel it needs a defense since many people overlook the many things he does well.
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Looking Back on 2012: Best Training Posts

The past year was a great one for the site. I saw visitors increase more than 50 percent, but more importantly I wrote about some very interesting topics and learned a lot in the process. As 2013 starts, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on some of the top posts from the last year.

As you can see, many of the most popular posts were about upcoming meets and/or current events in the hammer throwing community. But my favorite posts are the ones that discuss technique and training. These are the posts I read over and over again and keep learning from. Below are is a collection of my favorite of these types of posts from 2012. A complete list of posts can be found here. While a few are free, a cheap and easy membership is required to read many of them. Read more

Holiday Season Training Update

As of December 7th, I have been on vacation until the end of the year. It was a welcome break and after a more strenuous year at work, it will give me four weeks to focus on my training, my family, and a few of my side projects. I will write later this week about one of the projects, but for now I would like to provide an update on training.

I detailed how much I have been focusing on my winds during my last training update in November. I had made substantial progress over the last year and it was beginning to set up the throw nicely and consistently. For the first two months of training I focused on, among other things, a slower start, flatter orbit, better posture, and better rhythm in the winds. All this put me in a better position to push the hammer. Now that this is more stable I have progressed to thinking more about the turns.
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Training Talk With Juri Tamm (Part 3)

After two lengthy posts earlier this week, we have finally arrived at the final part of my training talk with two-time Olympic medalist Jüri Tamm. In the first parts, Tamm discussed his own training and thoughts on the sport. In this final part, Tamm focuses on more inspirational matters including how he thinks any male thrower can break 70 meters and how his father was able to find a way to succeed in the pole vault despite having just one hand. Also at the very end you will find a video of his 82.12-meter throw to win the 1985 World Cup in Australia.
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Training Talk With Juri Tamm (Part 2)

Earlier this week I posted the first part of my interview with two-time Olympic medalist Jüri Tamm. After talking about why hammer throw results have fallen off in the former Soviet nations and around the world, he proceeded to talk more about technique, talent identification in the Soviet Union, and his own training with his coach Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk. Come back later in the week to read the final part of our interview.
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Training Talk With Juri Tamm (Part 1)

The first two names that come to mind when you think about Soviet hammer throwing are Yuriy Sedykh, and Sergey Litvinov. Often overlooked on the podium is Jüri Tamm. Tamm, who also briefly held the world record, won the bronze medal at both the 1980 and 1988 Olympics and the silver at the 1987 World Championships. His personal best of 84.40 meters ranked third all-time during most of his career and still ranks in the top eight and is the Estonian national record nearly 30 years later. In summary, there is no reason he should be overlooked. If he threw in any other era he would have more gold medals and accolades than anyone in history.

Unlike Bondarchuk and Sedykh, who remain active as coaches, Tamm has drifted away from hammer throwing. Since retirement he has found success in business, politics, and sports administration. He served in the Estonian parliment for 12 years and also previously served as the vice president of the Estonian Olympic Committee. This year he began a new role as the chief of staff for world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka. Bubka is the president of the Ukranian Olympic Committee, a vice president of the IAAF, and a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board. Tamm travelled with Bubka to a recent IOC meeting in Lausanne, where I had the chance to meet the legend in person and get him talking about the glory days for a few hours. The first part of the edited interview is below. Visit later in the week to read the rest.
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Fall Training Update

6-.Since my season ended in September, my own training has barely warranted a mention on this site. Part of the reason is because I took a few weeks off. But the main reason is that I was trying out some new things and didn’t want to post until I had some concrete feedback about whether or not it was successful. On Monday I began my second training block of the season, so now is a good time to talk about how my training has started out for the 2013 season.

As Kibwe noted on his blog this week, Fall training is a perfect time to work on technique. If is dangerous to try to exaggerate changes, take a lot of low intensity throws, or do other drastic adjustments during the competitive season because it can throw off your rhythm enough to ruin a few competitions. But in the Fall you have plenty of time to play around and find out what works and what doesn’t. Like Kibwe, I am focusing on improving my winds and entry. The start of the throw is the most important since if there are problems there, they will be amplified as the throw progresses. But unlike Kibwe, I don’t have the most decorated coach in history watching my every move. This makes the process more difficult since even though I know what I want to fix, I have to rely on feeling and that can be deceptive at times (what feels good might just be what is comfortable, not what is better). In addition, an external pair of eyes can give you a different perspective.
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April 2012 Training Update

Sometimes I get so busy writing about various hammer topics that I forgot to update everyone on my own training. It has been two months since I last wrote about how my training has been going and that was when I was at a training camp on another continent. Since then, the only thing that has been relatively consistent is my throwing. After all, the weather certainly hasn’t been. It was nearly 80º in March and then snowed briefly on Easter Sunday. Today we saw a bit of both worlds with several hail storms interspersed with bright sunshine.
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