HMMR Podcast Episode 309: Feeling the throw (with Matthew Denny)

Diamond League discus champion Matthew Denny is one of the best all-around throwers in the world, having won Commonwealth medals in both the discus and the hammer throw. He’s also on of the best big time performers, having thrown personal bests at the Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, and Diamond League finals in recent years. He credits both his all-around success and peaking ability to his ability to feel the throw, a skill he developed over countless reps of trial and error. On this week’s episode he talks about how to develop feeling, what he feels in his throw, his current technical focus, and some surprising parallels between the discus and the hammer.

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Matthew Denny is an Australian thrower. Most recently he was the 2023 Diamond League champion and 2022 Commonwealth Games champion in the discus. He also holds the Australian record in the discus with a throw of 68.43 meters. In his younger years he also excelled in the hammer throw, where we won Commonwealth Games bronze at age 21 with a personal best of 74.88 meters.

Related resources

  • This episode is brought to you by HMMR Plus. Become a member for full access to our videos, articles, and podcast archives.
  • You can follow Denny on Instagram @MattyDenny.
  • Denny has been working with coach Dale Stevenson this season. Stevenson was previously a guest on Episode 66 and Episode 121. We also have had former Australia discus record holder Benn Harradine as a guest on Episode 26.
  • More content about the discus: check out our interviews with coach Vésteinn Hafsteinsson and former Olympic champion Mac Wilkins.

Key quotes and topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 2:45 – Follow up on Episode 308.
  • 6:15 – Choosing the discus over the hammer throw: “I’m still not done with with the hammer because I still want to break 80.”
  • 10:15 – Training hammer and discus together.
  • 14:00 – Denny’s craziest training session ever.
  • 16:30 – Bidirectional lessons between the discus and hammer: I think with both disc and hammer it’s very easy to be able to dominate the throw through your shoulders and not actually teach separation, feel, delay, rhythm and fluency and stuff like that.
  • 19:45 – Hammer throw technique.
  • 22:00 – Finding consistency.
  • 27:30 – Discus throw technique and breaking down Denny’s throw: “probably the easiest way to understand the feeling of what I’ve been working on this season is holding an atlas stone, picking up an atlas stone, is getting around that ball, it’s the same feel. To be around that creates extra length, extra posture through a spine and you actually can rotate a lot easier.”
  • 35:00 – More about recent technical changes.
  • 37:45 – Finding more length in the throw.
  • 40:15 – Working long distance with a coach.
  • 43:45 – The role of strength in Denny’s training.
  • 47:45 – Challenges for southern hemisphere athletes.
  • 53:00 – Final thoughts: “My advice for young guys in learning how to throw are to take burn ‘em throws. Like this throw could go terribly wrong, but you need to try and learn. So yeah, just burn throws.”

Complete transcript

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