Ask Martin Vol. 22: Travel Tips

Question: Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of jet lag? -Greg

Suitcase-with-travel-stic-002

It’s the traveling time of the year again. Collegiate athletes in America are starting to make trips across the country for the various rounds of the NCAA Championships. The best throwers will then start their international season, demanding trips to Europe. While travel is fun, it can only hurt your performances. In the best case scenario, the travel takes nothing out of you. In the worst case, it can ruin a competition. And jet lag is just one of the things that can affect you. After more than a decade of international competitions I have a few tips that I can share that should reduce its impact.
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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

Ask Martin Vol. 20: Coaching While Training

Question: I have recently begun coaching a few local throwers that have come out to my training sessions. Do you have any tips on how to balance coaching and training together? – Rich

As I am still in the process of figuring this one out, I am hardly the one to ask for advice. But I know it is possible. Nearly every coach goes through this phase and many already achieve success before retiring as a thrower. Coach Bondarchuk, after all, guided Sedykh to a gold medal in 1976 while he was still training. I think that was his wake up call to focus all of his energy on coaching since he finished two steps down the podium with a bronze around his neck. While he has yet to give me advice on this, I can offer three recommendations from a few years of experience in this area.
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Ask Martin Vol. 19: Recruiting Decisions

Question: One of the athletes I am coaching now is in the process of deciding what university to attend next year. Her parents would like her to attend a local school, but I would prefer she goes a bit further to a school with a good throwing coach. Parents that are not involved in track and field do not seem to realize that not all throwing programs are on the same level. Do you have any arguments to help convince them of this? -Coach K

I agree that that choosing a school is a decision that needs to be left up to the athlete. The athlete needs to find that school that is the best fit for them. Unfortunately the best fit for the athlete is also not always the best fit for the parents. But, and it might surprise you for me to say this, the best fit for the athlete isn’t always the best coach either. Finding a good fit means looking at more than the school’s proximity or athletics program, but also its academics, the future teammates, the city it is located in, and a variety of other factors to see what environment will allow the athlete to succeed both in sports and in life. While many people online have been quick to criticize the recent decision of American high school champion and world junior championship finalist Rudy Winkler to attend Cornell University next year, I think it is a perfect example of making a holistic choice. This young man had his choice of schools, and rather than choosing a school with a storied tradition or all-star coach, he chose a local school renowned for academics with a young coach. I applaud his decision.
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Ask Martin Vol. 18: Throwing Volume

Question: What are people’s thoughts on the number of throws per year? I have heard that Dr. Bondarchuk’s throwers do 25 throws in the morning and 25 in the afternoon, 5 days a week. That’s 12,000 throws a year. Just wondering what people think? – Anon3764 from the Macthrowvideo chatroom

I have to summon the inner lawyer in me and answer this question unequivocally by saying “it depends.” Like every other element of training, the number of throws you take should be individualized to the needs of each thrower. What works for one athlete is not necessarily the best for another athlete. Athletes have different levels of fitness, maturity, time, and strength. Other variables like the weather even come into play. All of these factors affect how much throwing a person should do. But, that being said, there are still a few principles I would recommend to every thrower.
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Ask Martin Vol. 17: In Defense of Bondarchuk

Question: I know you’ve written in the past about some of Dr. Bondarchuk’s concepts. Let me share two arguments that could be made:

  • For: Bondarchuk understand the science of throwing after decades of coaching and research. The periodization cycles that you discuss of being up, down, etc. are all based experience and data and have been proven through results.
  • Against: The general hammer community gets trickles of Bondarchuk’s wisdom, but it all seems vague and hard to grasp. Fuzzy science. It’s a community of people who have drank the cool aid. His record can’t be argued with, but he doesn’t walk on water as some may say. If I had access to some of the best athletes in the world, I’d look pretty smart too. At the end of the day, sound training theory, good technique, strength training, and special strength, etc. will determine performance. It doesn’t have to be as mysterious as it has been presented.

Discuss. -Coach Lynden
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Ask Martin Vol. 16: Grip Strength

I wanted your thoughts on grip strength in throwing the hammer. I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter. But I have seen several hammers “rip” out of hands of throwers this year. -Gary
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Ask Martin Vol. 15: Finding The Right Cue

What are cues are you using for your technique in training now? -Brian
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Ask Martin Vol. 14: The Orbit

Question: When you talk about focusing on the orbit, what do you mean? -James

Yuriy Sedykh’s orbit during the 1976 Olympics.

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Ask Martin Vol. 13: Rocky IV and the Hammer Throw

Question: As a very stereotypical American hammer guy myself (I did not throw until college, focused on getting strong, threw the weight, etc.) I can tell you that I really wanted to outwork people when I was training. I wanted to grind it out and bleed to be good in a very Rocky IV kind of way. If we can agree that Americans are too obsessed with maximum strength and this is holding our hammer back… is this simply an individual track coach problem, or is it culturally influenced? Is our cultural heritage holding us back in in the hammer, while helping us in the shot put? Are the fine skills of hammer too nuanced for our firepower and bootstrap pulling things we tend to glorify? –Coach Lynden
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