Hurdles and Hammer: Observations

I just got done reading a great article and I felt compelled to blog. It has become clear to me after reading Steve McGill’s hurdle analysis that the state of the hurdles and hammer throw in America share a common hurdle, if you will. And that is technique.

While reading this post, I couldn’t help but agree with many things said, because it’s how I felt about my own hammer technique and when I finally made the conscious decision to change it. I thought, I know I have the talent, why am I not throwing farther? When I finally accepted this fact, everything changed.
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The Hammer in ESPN The Mag

Check out this article written by Brendan Koerner. I was among a couple others that contributed to Brendan’s research. This story will be appearing in the June 27 issue of ESPN the Magazine. Enjoy!
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A Good Read

I just got done reading Glenn Thompson’s interview with Anthony Washington in the May 2011 issue of Long and Strong Throwers Journal. Tony Washington was, and is a serious discus hero of mine. Back in 8th grade when I first picked up a discus, soon after I knew that name. As a young African-American athlete, to see someone looking like me while throwing well at the international level was inspiring. I grew up around track and field. And knew that I’d love to go to the Olympics one day and compete for my country. Never having my mind set on any one event, or sport for that matter. To be honest, I don’t think I ever actually saw myself doing it until around 9th grade. I hope I can inspire someone as Tony Washington did for me.

On to other business….

It’s interesting, my observation of most of the greats is that they share the same general mentality towards training. Somehow they found a way to transcend what was technically or the training status quo. They began to think outside the box and find ways that got them to throw further. So I urge you to read more interviews and ask more questions. When asked what they did to throw far, how many will say “I just got really, really strong”?
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Swag Vol. 2

Since posting my most recent blog last Thursday, I’ve gotten quite a few requests to expand on some of the points that I mentioned. So I’m going to try and address as much of that as possible with my personal experience and other information.

I personally have not always been so confident in sport. It’s definitely something that I have had to cultivate over time. I think like everything else we do in sport, it takes practice. And practice make perfect. Controlling your emotions is very important. Being both over-stimulated or under-stimulated are things you don’t want. Having your emotions more in check will give you better success. You are driven by emotion, the important point is to know when to change your expectations.
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The Importance of Swag in Athletics


Swag in full effect.

Urban Dictionary defines Swag as “the way in which you carry yourself. Swag is made up of your overall confidence, style, and demeanor.” I will reiterate. Swag is confidence. And confidence is power in the athletics world.

In my opinion, swag and faith go hand in hand. The best athletes in the world are made average by having no swag. It’s an extremely sensitive thing. This is probably why sport psychology seems to be taking off more these days. There is a business in helping athletes not only get an edge, but learning how to maintain that edge. Aside from natural talent, swag is the most powerful asset an athlete has at his or her disposal.
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IAAF Council Meeting Highlights: Standards and Hammer Challenge

Today was the first day of the IAAF Council Meeting in Monaco. Here are the Day 1 notes. I want  to mention selected highlights.
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USATF Throws Summit: Recap

vegas1-300x239The USATF Throws Summit was held at the Las Vegas Hilton last weekend and I was able to take part. At first I had a few reservations. I just began my training for the 2011 season a week before the conference and I don’t like missing training time. But Dr. B said it would be fine. Second, I have sat in on the same presentation more than once on a couple topics such as biomechanics, nutrition, and sports psychology. Knowing what I know now about the correct way to throw a hammer, most of what the biomechanists have said is either just plain wrong, or a bit misguided. Fortunately, this was a VERY good Summit, and I’m very happy I went.
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A Story of Lasting Impression…

P7250210[1]There is almost exactly one week remaining before my National meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Rather than bore you with numbers and thoughts about training and such, I have decided to share a story that left an impact on me personally and athletically.

The other night I finally got around to watching the English dubbed version of ‘The Throwing Pope’. I watched it initially when Martin posted it, but it was in Hungarian. But I was fascinated none the less (of course!). This video had me reminiscing about my one and only encounter with the late great coach, Pál Németh.
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Forces vs. Positions

My training partner, Martin, already blogged about our discussion from the group and Dr. B on this topic here. So I will paraphrase and add some personal thoughts from my own experiences.

I used to think there was some hammer secret out there. There has to be, why is everyone else so good and we kind of wallow behind? (aside from our 3 80m guys and our other pioneers of course). Since training here, it is so increasingly obvious that there is no ‘secret’, but people think ‘well, it can’t be that simple!’ Well it is. When my coach explains what he wants and gives you the why, 9/10 times it’s a ‘duh’ moment. Coaching the hammer this way has been lost over time. Indeed, not in only the States either. Dr. B is very careful when saying this. The issue is all over the world. I’ll tell you the secret: Throw the hammer and do lots of special strength! Maybe easier said than done, but here’s the why. Ultimately, there is a ceiling for how weight room strong you can be to effect the hammer for maximal distance. The special strength exercises focus on all those other muscles that are absolutely essential to throwing a hammer far (especially the 7.26k).
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