HMMR Podcast Episode 308: Developing the champ (with Dylan Armstrong)

When Ethan Katzberg won the world championship title in the hammer throw last month, he surprised a lot of people. But for his coach Dylan Armstrong, it was what they had been training four years for. On this week’s podcast Armstrong breaks down how they used those years to develop Katzberg from a multi-sport high school athlete into the youngest world champion in the event’s history.

Listen now

Dylan Armstrong is the coach at Kamloops Track and Field Club in Canada where he has guided throwers including Ethan Katzberg Tokyo Paralympic shot put champion Greg Stewart. Armstrong was himself an elite shot putter winning Olympic bronze, multiple world medals, and setting the Canadian record. As a junior athlete he also won World Junior silver in the hammer throw.

Related resources

Key quotes and topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 3:45 – Transitioning from athlete to coach
  • 7:15 – The real Bondarchuk system: “You can read every book that Bondarchuk’s written, but that’s 40- 50 percent of it. You have to be there day to day. You have to try it out.”
  • 12:15 – Moving beyond maximal strength: “Ethan can snatch probably 90 to 95 kilos. Maybe he’ll get up to 100 by next spring. But that’s not our focus. I want fast, loose, long muscle. And that’s what you need in hammer. You don’t, I don’t want tight and short.”
  • 20:00 – From shot put to hammer and Ethan’s journey.
  • 22:30 – In detail on the Bondarchuk method.
  • 25:30 – The art of peaking.
  • 28:30 – Mental preparation.
  • 30:30 – The path forward for Ethan
  • 33:00 – Learning as a tool to accelerate development: “A lot of these systems that people are using just old and if you make mistakes along the way and you only peak twice and twice a year you’re probably not going to grow that year. Where at least if I make a mistake, I’ve got, 16 to 20 more chances to to get back on track and get some growth. So that’s what makes it special.”
  • 35:45 – Defining talent and the role of development: “A lot of people think of talent: can you show up and throw the hammer really far on the first day? No. Talent is how many sessions, how many programs you have the capacity to keep developing.”

Complete transcript

Join Now to Keep Reading

This is just the beginning. To continue reading this article you must be a HMMR Plus member. Join now to get access to this and more content. Learn more and sign up here. If you are already a member, log in here.