Using sticks and straps to build strength

October is coming to an end, and with that our theme of “back to the basics.” We are saving the best for last and this weekend we released our latest webinar. Through a new joint venture with Vern Gambetta and GAIN, we are bringing members video world-class presentations from GAIN, starting with sticks and straps from Steve Myrland. Read more

September 2017 in review: resources for throwers

HMMR Media returned to its roots over the past month and put together some great information on the throws. Over the past few years we have added more contents about athletic development and training for other sports. But we still want to be the go to place for quality information about training for the throwing events. Read more

Time for Some Med Ball

Everything old is new again. Medicine ball training has been around since Persian wrestlers trained with sand-filled bladders thousands of years ago. But over the past few decades medicine balls have received more widespread adoption as a tool to develop coordination and power. Today we release our latest HMMR Classroom video. This is the fifth in our series and it focuses on medicine balls. On the 20 minute video Nick Garcia and I discuss why we use medicine balls and then demonstrate four sample medicine ball routines. You can get a taste for what the video includes in the snippet below. Read more

Hitting the Low Point

Last weekend we held our first weekend training camp for the Swiss hammer throwers. As part of the Swiss hammer project we gathered together the top athletes and coaches for a chance to learn from each other and have a bit of fun. Even though I get to work with my throwers all the time, they benefited a lot too. Having a weekend focused only on hammer let us take a step back and analyze a few things we have overlooked. Read more

Video of Winning Throw at New Balance Nationals

Senior Adam Kelly (Barrington, RI) repeated as New Balance Indoor National champion on Sunday. His winning throw of 81’5.25″ won by more than three feet and is shown below: Read more

Thanksgiving Training Update

Thanksgiving day is a bit different in Switzerland. For starters, I have to work. Turkeys are harder to find. And no one understands what stuffing is. But this year it was nevertheless special since it was the last day of my first eight-week block of training this season. That gives me a good opportunity to look back at the first two months of training and see how things are going after all of the changes I implemented this year.

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Hammer Throw Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

watson2As I’ve said before I have two goals for the European Championships. The first is to throw far and this project starts tomorrow. The second is to help publicize the hammer. That began several weeks ago.

After my selection to the Swiss team the hammer has received a lot of media coverage, both positive and negative. I’ll have more about the media coverage after the championships, but as they say there is no such thing as bad publicity. My favorite piece was just posted today by the online startup news site They came to training two weeks ago with all kinds of toys: GoPros, a drone, and a camera I didn’t dare ask how much it cost. They put them all in the line of fire to capture the hammer throw from every imaginable angle.

The result is a great introductory video for our event showing how the event looks and capturing some fascinating facts about the hammer. Take a look and share to let others know which track and field event is the best!

→ Check out the original article on They also have one of the best European Championships live tickers (in German) with a great combination of news, Swiss athletes, and humor.

→ Related Content: Read our detailed previews of the European Championships men’s hammer and women’s hammer competitions.

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Coaching Roundtable: Julia Ratcliffe Video Analysis

Julia_Ratcliffe_IAAF_World_Youth_Ch_2009Back in February I launched a new series on this site, the Coaching Roundtable, by inviting three of the world’s best coaches to analyze the technique of top US thrower Chris Cralle. Now it’s back for the second edition with an up and coming international thrower. Once again the Coaching Roundtable series brings together top coaches from the around the world to give their different perspectives on the same topic. Subjects for the coaching roundtable are chosen exclusively among members of this site. I plan on doing a rotational shot put roundtable in the near future as well as another men’s hammer roundtable, so if you are a member looking for an analysis of yourself or your athlete , please contact me.

The Subject

Julia Ratcliffe was born and raised in New Zealand and started hammer throwing under the guidance of her father, Dave Ratcliffe. On her 19th birthday last year Ratcliffe threw a senior national record and Oceania junior record of 67.00 meters at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona. Her mark earned her fourth place and was the best mark ever to miss the podium at the meet. This September she enrolled at Princeton University in America where she has continued her success. In April she broke her national record again with a throw of 68.80 meters and was one of the top throwers in the NCAA as just a freshman this season.

The Coaches

Derek Evely served most recently as Director of the UK Athletics Loughborough National Performance Centre. In addition, he has guided several hammer throwers including Sophie Hitchon, who at age 21 set a national record to become the youngest Olympic finalist last summer. Evely is strongly influenced by Anatoliy Bondarchuk, who he recruited to and worked alongside with in Kamloops, Canada.

Don Babbitt is of the most successful throwing coaches in the world over the past decade. Coach Babbitt works as the throwing coach at the University of Georgia for sixteen years in which his athletes captured 11 NCAA titles, and 55 All-American certificates. Chris Hill (javelin) and Jenny Dahlgren (hammer) also set NCAA records under his guidance. In addition, he has worked with athletes like Adam Nelson (shot put), Reese Hoffa (shot put), Breaux Greer (javelin), Jason Dunks (discus), Brad Snyder (shot put), Andras Haklits (hammer) and many other international champions.

Sergej Litvinov Jr. is one of the top active hammer throwers in the world with a personal best of 80.98 meters. He placed fifth at 2009 World Championships and now competes for Russia. He is coached by his father, Sergey Litvinov, who was a world record holder, two-time world champion, Olympic champion, and Olympic silver medalist. He still ranks third all-time with his personal best of 86.04 meters.
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Ask Martin Vol. 21: Favorite Technique

Question: Which thrower’s technique do you like watching the most? – Gary

At the beginning of my career I watched video to learn. Now I watch video to help visualize my own throw. While throwers like Balazs Kiss, Igor Nikulin, or even Koji Murofushi have very good technique, their styles are so different than mine that they are lower down my list. Both then and now I tend to watch video that I hope to emulate and I list a few of my favorites below. You might notice that I do not mention any women below and this is for the same reason. Female throwers typically do not have, or need, the same amount of countering in their throw as men. Since I am trying to visualize myself in the throw it is easier to do that with a male thrower. Read more

February Training Update

One word to summarize my last month of training would be slow. Progress in distance has been slow. Progress in technique has been slow. And even practice itself is slow as the I’ve had to sludge through a lot of snow. Through the start of the month I was in great shape, but poor weather conditions made it hard to convert that into a good result. Thankfully I finally received a pair of over-shoe snow traction devices now that the snow has finally melted. I also have moved on to a new program and lost my chance to see how far I was really ready to throw. This new program is a transition program aimed at transferring those good results into the slightly heavy 8-kilogram hammer.
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