Posts

Predictors of Success for Collegiate Throwers

Coach Glenn McAtee recently published an article with Larry Judge and others analyzing collegiate hammer throw performances.

Since I’ve been strongly influenced by Bondarchuk, I love reading studies that look at how well certain exercises or training methods correlate to results. I recently ran across a new article co-authored by a friend and former coach of mine (Glenn McAtee) that is one of the first of its kind to analyze the result of American throwers. The article, titled “Predictors Of Personal Best Performance In The Hammer Throw For U.S. Collegiate Throwers” was published in Track Coach this year by Larry Judge, David Bellar, Glenn McAtee and Mike Judge.

To gather the data need for the article, the authors sent out a questionnaire to over 200 collegiate hammer throwers and received a response rate of 35%. The questionnaire asked athletes to list their best results in various exercises, answer questions about their technique, and also provide information on their training background. Read more

The Paradoxical Nature of the Hammer Throw

When I wrote about my training last month, things were going quite well. Distances were at an all time best, but my technique was mediocre. This month has seen the reverse. My results have declined, but my technique is progressing. This reversal often happens in my training and is one of the many paradoxes in the hammer throw. You would think that my best results would occur when I had the best technique, but it doesn’t always work that way. This time the cause of the apparent paradox is the intense special-strength oriented training program I began in November. I would complain about the crazy amount of volume, but I think Kibwé‘s new program has me beat. Nevertheless, my energy level has plummeted and my results have slowly gone with it.
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An Introduction to Biomechanics

I recently came across a biomechanical analysis of the hammer throw at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. While the report is brief, it perfectly illustrates a few points that all hammer throwers need to know.

2009 World Champion Primož Kozmus showing a solid hammer position.

Basic physics tells us that there are three main variables that impact the distance of the throw: (1) the velocity of the hammer at the time of release; (2) the angle of release; (3) and the height of release. Obviously other factors also come into play, such as the wind, the density of the air, and so on, but these factors are the same for everyone and cannot be influenced by the throw. The height of release also plays a relatively small role since it remains fairly constant despite attempts by Harold Connolly in his prime to try to throw will taller shoes.
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Fall Training Update

Sometimes I forget that this site started as a way to update everyone on my training and results. It’s often hard to write about training this time of year since, frankly, it can get a bit monotonous. At least this winter I will have some results to post since I will be throwing outside rather the indoors.

Once again, my only break this “offseason” was for a few days of travel. As soon as I arrived back in North America last month, Dr. Bondarchuk put me on an active rest program. This meant that I completely stopped weight lifting, but have been doing some simple core exercises and maintaining a decent throwing volume of 75 to 210 throws each week with the 5- and 8-kilogram hammers. The rest has been perfect. Rather than losing a few meters by taking the entire month off, I have actually gained distance by allowing my body to rest while still keeping in contact with the hammer. On Saturday I threw a new personal best of 62.20-meters with the 8-kilogram hammer. During that training session, half of my throws were over my old personal best of 61.90-meters.
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Simplifying Bondarchuk

Not working much in the offseason gave me a chance to spend more time on this site and also work on a few projects that I’ve had on the shelf for years. One of those projects was to write a primer on Bondarchuk’s training. I originally wrote an article along those lines in 2004 after doing years of research, reading, and talking with other coaches about Bondarchuk’s ideas on training. However, as I was about to publish that article, I actually met Bondarchuk and it made me realize I still had a bit more to learn. Then I began law school and my free time vanished.

I still posted the original article on Hal’s Hammerthrow.com site, but I’ve wanted to update it with some new insight and finally had the time to do so this past winter. Thanks to some great feedback by my training partner Ryan Jensen, Zach Hazen, my girlfriend, and others, I was able to get the article published in the April edition of Modern Athlete and Coach. Modern Athlete and Coach is published by the Australian Track and Field Coaches Association. Their organization has done a lot for Bondarchuk (they published his first book in English) and I think they are perhaps the best athletics coaching magazine in the world. They are also very nice to work with and have been kind enough to let me republish the article here.

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One Month Training Journal

I’ve learned many things from coach Bondarchuk about training, technique, and life. But, as I’ve said before, one of the things I respect the most about him is his openness. In my first few weeks working with him he told me that the more you share, the more you’ll learn. In a local newspaper article last summer, he repeated his mantra, saying “If you don’t share your secrets, your information, you can’t improve . . . If you don’t learn from each other, there is no progress.” That philosophy is one of the reasons I started to write so often about our training methods on this site.
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What I’ve Been Writing

The Fall rain has arrived in Kamloops, and with it a slew of mud. I’ve been spending more time up in Kamloops this Fall to focus on training, and being in Kamloops always leaves me with free time.  That time is spent at home when the weather is as it has been. Like last fall, I’ve spent a lot of that time writing. Here are a few of the projects I’ve been working on or will be working on this Fall.  As always, I will post links (when possible) to the finished version of everything.
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Earning Praise From the Doctor

I returned to Kamloops this week and Dr. Bondarchuk (my coach) thankfully does not think that I lost much in my month of training without him.  He told me I am in great shape and quite strong at the moment.  In fact, he told me that I look so powerful throwing overweight hammers in training that I am almost faster than I do throwing lightweight hammers.  The highlight of my first week back was when Dr. B described one of my throws was “double excellent.”  To put this in perspective, I need to explain how Dr. B evaluates our training throws.  Normally he can summarize his thoughts on a throw in four words or less.  Sometimes he is positive, and sometimes he is negative.  Here is the full spectrum of comments that he will give us, from worst to best:
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Field vs. Track

Congratulations to the University of Washington women’s cross country team for their recent national title. While it was an exciting season to follow, its end means that the track and field season is near. TrackShark.com, the internet’s leading track and field news site, just published a good article on their front page that discusses how the field events often take a back seat to the running events in our sport. I probably think it is good merely because it quotes me, but click here to read the article here and judge for yourself. The article does make me sound like I am complaining. To the contrary, I really don’t mind being in a sport that is out of the spotlight, but it is important to note the barriers to success that it creates. Read more

Glen Martin Bingisser, Esq.

It is official. I received my results from the bar exam last week and passed. After being sworn in January, I will officially be an attorney. While I am excited that I passed, the whole process is very anti-climatic and I am still in a bit of awe and disbelief for two reason. First, I did not dedicate myself to studying for the bar exam like I normally dedicate myself to my pursuits. Instead, I pursued a great opportunity to compete for the Swiss national team over the summer and studying was relegated to a lower position on my list of priorities. Second, this is the first time in years when other people’s expectations exceeded my own. Historically, people have underestimated me and that has fueled my success. As a Senior in high school, few would have believed that I would become an All-American athlete or attorney. I worked hard to prove them wrong and did so. This year, things were turned around and I was the one doubting the results while everyone else was assured of my success. It is great to feel the support of others, but at the same time my stubbornness is forced to concede that my prediction may have been off.
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