Tag Archive for: Featured

Training Talk with Vésteinn Hafsteinsson (Part 1)

VesteinnWhile it was great to see my coach last week, there were also some other benefits of having a training camp in Växjö. The training facilities were oustanding. And so was the company. Växjö is the training base of coach Vésteinn Hafsteinsson and his Global Throwing team.

After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1986, Hafsteinsson threw professionally for ten more years. His career as an athlete included four Olympics, qualifying for the finals in Barcelona, and a still-standing Icelandic record of 67.64 meters. Since 1996 he has been a full-time coach, guiding such athletes as 2008 Olympic discus champion Gerd Kanter and 2004 shot put silver medalist Joachim Olsen. He has also coached many other elite discus throwers and his group currently includes Märt Israel (4th at the 2011 World Championships), the Arrhenius brothers, Daniel Ståhl (4th at 2013 European Under 23 Championships), and shot putters Kim Christensen (Danish record holder) and Mesud Pezer (2013 European junior champion).

I had a chance to chat quite a bit with Hafsteinsson and I will post our talks in three parts. Part one below discusses his coaching and training methods. Part two and part three cover discus technique and the current state of throwing within track and field. Hafsteinsson is also a great presenter and if you would like to learn more from him, I recommend inviting him for a seminar or workshop.

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Patience vs. Relaxation

It is easy to confuse patience with relaxing. They have much in common, but they can produce entirely different throws.

I used to always lump them together and still do sometimes. But I vividly remember on practice with Bondarchuk where he told me to be patient, perhaps for the millionth time. I responded curtly by saying “Yes, I know, I need to relax.” But rather than agreeing he raised his voice. “Patient! No relax!” I thought it was the language barrier at first, but then he made his point loud and clear. And after a few years away from him, he reminded me again when we met last week.
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What I’m Working On

Martin just updated us about his recently completed training camp with Bondarchuk in Sweden. Conversely, when Dr. B is gone, I often have very good training. Mainly because I’m more strict with myself about getting done what I want accomplished. In my February update, I didn’t mention what I was focusing on, so I thought I’d share what my technical focus has been this winter.
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Thoughts on Professional Development

Professional development is an ongoing process of continual self improvement. Here are some thoughts and ideas that might help you in your journey of professional growth: Read more

Lone Wolf Syndrome

Look at the American throwing scene and you could point to technique or training as holding it back from its potential. The reasons could have been listed as holding back American middle distance and distance runners 10 years ago. But then, without big changes on either front, Americans began to bridge the gap between them and the world’s best. The top American 1500 meter runner in 2003 was David Krummennacker at 3:35.15. In 2013 the top 10 Americans all ran faster. And this happened in other events too, along with medals and historic barriers falling on the track from the 800 to 10,000-meters for both men and women.

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Characteristics of a Sound Training Program

I have been getting many requests to evaluate certain popular training programs. Rather than specifically evaluate any program I think it is better to describe the characteristics of a sound program and you can use this to evaluate and draw your own conclusions.  Read more

Implementing Specific Strength

Over the past few months I’ve contributed to the popular Juggernaut Training Systems webpage with a series of posts on specific strength. I’ve talked about the theory of specific strength, the debate about youth specialization, and how to create specific strength exercises for your sport. My latest post was published today and starts to talk about how to take specific strength exercises and implement them into training.
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The Epidemic

A friend recently sent me a video of a competition throw from the 2007 season. Holy crap was it horrendous. Now, I never once said I had good technique. So it is what it is. I knew what my strengths were and I used them. All the while trying to improve my existing technique in training. (And knowing that there was more to me than being an “athlete throwing hammer”). I did realize early on in my career that constant learning and striving for improvement is absolutely required.

So this video got me thinking… I don’t look like that anymore. So what’s the biggest difference? Read more

What I’ve Been Reading

I have been reading a lot lately and not just about training. But as with anything, I can always bring the topic back to training. In January, I finished two good non-fiction books: Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To by psychology professor Sian Beilock. And David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.
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Smart Body or Dumb Body

How you view and perceive the body will have a significant effect on your training outcomes. You can view the body as either dumb or smart. Here are some comparisons: Read more