Start ‘Em Young

Last November I wrote about our struggle with the USATF to get the hammer throw added as an official event for young American throwers aged 13 and 14. It was a battle we began a little too late, which meant we were underdogs throughout the process. Despite this, we had quite a bit of success. While the hammer throw was not added as an official event for the younger age groups, it was given exhibition status. This allows some meets and clubs across the country to host youth hammer throwers and remain covered by the USATF insurance policy. In addition, the full initiative will be up for a vote again next December which should give us more time to lobby the support we need.

In the meantime, I was browsing some of my old hammer throw videos yesterday and ran across a video I took of Alexia Sedykh throwing the hammer at age nine. Alexia was the winner of the inaugural Youth Olympics Games last summer and threw a personal best of 62.17 meters at age 16. As you can see in the video below, it helps to start young. While Alexia has some big advantage in both coaching and genetics (her father is world hammer thrower record holder Yuri Sedykh and her mother is world shot put record holder Natalya Lisovskaya), it still helps to start young. This is the reason we are fighting to hard to create opportunities for young American throwers.


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3 replies
  1. Gary Cooper
    Gary Cooper says:


    As you know from our correspondence, I am trying to build on the young throwers we have training with us. Our training facilities are located 60′ from my front door on the small 3 acre farm we have. Where an avid fan club of 4 mules, watch with curiosity from across the road. We have 9 throwers, our youngest is a 6th grade girl and we hope she will encourage more of her friends to come to try throwing the hammer.
    I look forward to more articles where you will address the need for young throwers to be given opportunities to try this event.
    Thanks for your efforts.
    Gary Cooper

  2. joe skrycki
    joe skrycki says:


    I started throwing the hammer when I was 22 after my collegiate elgibility was up for the discus, we had no one to show us what to do, unfortunately I got decent with the weight(68 ft) and average with the hammer 62m I wish I had started earlier. I have been coaching hammer now for almost 20 years and try to start kids as soon as I can with hammer. Just 2 days ago my 8 yr old son recieved his first 2k hammer, we just have to wait for the snow to go down a little before he gets started with it and he can hardly wait, he loves watching me throw and loves to go “coach” with me. We’re out there trying and happy to have a site like yours to help peer into the mind of the master that you work with. You have helped convert the technical in Dr. B’s text into a practical that helps me understand even better.
    keep up the good work, you are helping out greatly to understand the “non-american” way of throwing the the hammer with your posts.


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  1. […] Now we just need more of them. In the hammer throw, that means expanding the sport to more kids and starting them younger. I can’t say it enough: the more athletes we have, the greater our chance of having success […]

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