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USA Training Camp Review

I normally have a plan for each training camp I do; just one or two points upon which I focus an entire week’s energy. But the past two weeks have been different. I just returned from training in Arizona and California, but I was there without any real plan.
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Växjö Training Camp with Bondarchuk

Near the end of January I picked up a normal
hammer for the first time since September. After months of focusing on developing strength with heavy and short hammers, this was the longest I have gone without touching a normal hammer.

My results have been strong with the normal hammer, but I find myself sending my training results to Bondarchuk with footnotes saying that the results should be even better considering the state of my technique. My technique with the heavy implements was quite good, but short hammers do not transfer well to normal hammers. Just see how many good weight throwers have problems with hammer technique. I still haven’t found the right feeling and rhythm with the normal length hammers and slowly some of my old technical problems have reemerged. Plus, since the hammers are lighter, I amplify the problems by being less patient.
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Italy Training Camp: Wrap-Up

I returned from Tuscany on Saturday, but my training camp actually ended only yesterday since I still had a few extra vacation days remaining to focus on training back here in Zurich. Overall the training camp was a success. Above all I have come back to Zurich refreshed with renewed energy to start the core of the season. I have also made definite technical progress, which is more and more difficult as I approach my 30th birthday. As I explained at the start of the camp, my technical goal was to get get more radius after landing on the first turn. Rather than utilizing an early double support phase to patiently push the hammer, I try to force the hammer around and thereby reduce the radius of the implement. I focused on this point entirely for the last two weeks and it seems to have paid off. While the error is still there, my small improvements are now present in nearly every throw rather than just one or two throws each session. And I had a my best results with every implement so far in this training cycle. In the coming weeks I’ll post some more video showing the differences.
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Italy Training Camp: My Focus

Comparing the first turn of last week and this week.

Comparing the first turn of last week and this week.

I have been looking forward to an April training camp since the start of the year. After a long tax season at work and an even longer winter in Zurich, this was the focal point that kept me training hard for the past three months. Originally my plan was to join coach Bondarchuk’s group at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and compete once again at Mt. SAC to watch Kibwe and Sultana win. But getting to Chula Vista isn’t as easy when you are coming from Europe. As my trip shrunk in length it just didn’t make much sense to travel all that way for a camp.

Thankfully another opportunity showed up. I decided to travel south once again to Tuscany last Thursday and join my club’s sprint group for a 10-day training camp. I am the only thrower making the trip from Zurich, but since I often train alone in Zurich I do not mind. Plus, I occasionally have a training partner here since Olympic silver medalist Nicola Vizzoni lives nearby. Read more

Portugal Training Camp: Wrap-up

Alongside a former Olympic champion and a couple of 2012 Olympians.

As my training camp came to a close yesterday, I couldn’t have been happier with the progress I made over 10 days and 16 training sessions. My season plan may have been interrupted by setbacks in May, but now I am in the best shape of my life. In addition to the personal best with the 9-kilogram hammer on Monday I had personal training bests with the competition weight 7.26-kilogram hammer on both Friday and Saturday. First I launched 67.30 meters (video below) and then came back the next day to toss 67.70 meters. I had only thrown over 67 meters twice in training before, but this week I had nearly a dozen throws at or over that distance and am capable of more.
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Portugal Training Camp: Halftime Update

Our throwing field is the green field on the left side of the photo.

I’m about halfway through my training camp here in Portugal and things couldn’t have gone better so far. I really didn’t enjoy the lifestyle of training full-time year-round; I need some distractions and really like to work while I am in training. But training full-time in short periods is the perfect solution for me. I can do everything I want the rest of the year, and then use the training camp to make sure I don’t burn out from all the stuff I get myself into. And Sultana makes sure of that too.
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Just What The Doctor Ordered

An ocean view from the ring in Portugal.

The first half of my season is now officially complete and despite some great results this month, it did not end that way I had hoped. Just prior to the Luzern competition on Tuesday I threw a season’s best in training. But come meet day I let my focus wane. I missed my train to the competition and showed up to the meet just 45 minutes before the event started and 15 minutes before I was expected to be warmed up, weighed in, and ready to go in the call room. My adrenaline got pumping, but not in a good way. My technique in training has made some great progress this month, but when I stepped into the ring I reverted back to my old bad habits. I threw four fouls and had a best of just 62.80 meters. While my fouls were further, they were still far less than I am capable of throwing.
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Arizona Training Camp 2012

As I left work last week several coworkers asked me where I would be headed during my time off. I explained that I would first be attending a friend’s wedding and then off to a training camp in Scottsdale. The response was along the lines of: “You mean you’ll be working out the whole time? Doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me.” I get a similar response whenever I head out on a vacation, as if it is impossible to enjoy yourself in a warm location if you have to train. Rather than thinking of it as work, I couldn’t think of a much better vacation than the one I am having right now. The two people sitting next to me on the plane ride down both were headed to Arizona to play golf. So why do people think that I also wouldn’t enjoy playing my favorite sport non-stop for a week?
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Kamloops Training Camp 2011

Reunited with the master.

Over the past ten days I have taken a trip back in time. I returned to my former home and training partners. I returned to working with my coach in person. I returned to the routine of a life 100% focused on training. In other words, I returned to Kamloops.

After nearly a year away from coach Bondarchuk, I needed to touch base with him. We talk or exchange emails every week, but that isn’t the same as getting in person feedback from him. The feedback is something he also needs, since it is also difficult for him to determine my progress without observing me first hand.
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