The NCAA Championships earlier this month showcased the next generation of throwers with individuals like Maggie Ewen setting an NCAA record and scoring in three events. However the veterans of the American throwing scene are not ready to hand over baton quiet yet. Names like Michelle Carter, Kara Winger, and Gia Smallwood-Lewis will be looking to keep their hold at the top of their respective events as the US Championships kick off on Thursday. For a preview of the men’s action, see the guide we posted yesterday. Read more
Tag Archive for: Javelin
The US Championships kick off on Thursday and a change in venue from Eugene to Sacramento means more sun and less rain. Temperatures are expected to reach over 100 degrees, meaning the weather may be as hot as the action. With two Americans chasing the world record in the shot put and close competitions for the World Championships team in every event, it should be an exciting weekend of throwing. Below we break down each men’s event. Check back tomorrow for a look at the women’s action. Read more
If you are looking for the best throws coach in America, your journey might take you to Fargo, North Dakota. Justin St. Claire has turned North Dakota State University from a remote team into one of the best training groups in the country. On this week’s episode we sit down with St. Clair to discuss the secrets behind his success including his approach to team culture, recruiting, training, and technique. Read more
The world championships came to a close on Sunday and the throwing events could not have ended on a higher note. Sitting in bronze medal position, women’s javelin thrower Kathrina Molitor was given the last throw in the Olympic Stadium. All of the fans were on their feet as Lu Huihui was in the lead and about to get China their second gold of the championships. Then Molitor let out a monster throw. After the measurement it turned out to be a personal best, world lead, and a gold medal performance. This was just the final highlight of the meet; the entire nine days of action was fun to watch, with historic and thrilling performances across the board. But now that the dust is settled we can sift through competition to find some lessons learned. Read more
Last week I reviewed Bondarchuk’s latest book on long-term development. By my count Bondarchuk has now published 8 books in English as well as 6 limited release booklets. He has written about topics from transfer of training to strength training to long term development. He also just released the final volume of his periodization series. But there is one topic that has been missing so far from his bibliography: throwing. Read more
When I read last week that the IAAF announced the Olympic qualifying standards, including an unbelievable qualifying standard of 83 metres in the javelin, my first thought was:
Please please can somebody stop these people from killing our sport!
Last year I looked at when hammer throwers reach their peak and last week I looked at shot putters. FiveThirtyEight even looked at this aspect of tennis. I decided to continue the project by looking at javelin throwers. I often train together with the Swiss national javelin coach Terry McHugh. McHugh sits just outside of the top 100, but when I complain about getting old he is the first to tell me otherwise. He knows from experience since he threw his personal best just days shy of his 37th birthday. On the other hand I know a few javelin throwers who careers have been ended quite young due to injuries. With this in mind I figured it would be an interesting event to look at.
The javelin throw offers a unique perspective compared to the other throwing events. Doping era marks prevail in most women’s throwing events and some of the men’s events and skew any historical analysis. The javelin, however, has had the advantage of starting over. In 1986 a new men’s javelin was introduced thereby resetting the records books. In 1999 the a women’s javelin was also introduced. As a result, some of the issues with questionable marks have been overcome and this also allows me to look at both genders for the first time. Here are three points I took away from the analysis.
Rhythm and the hammer throw are inseparable. A good throw needs it and bad throws lack it. As a coach I often have my throwers focus on the the rhythm of the throw as much as any other aspect. But as a thrower training alone, rhythm is something that is difficult for me to focus on in my own throw. Perhaps it is just me, but rhythm seems much easier to watch or hear than to feel. The blur of the throw prevents me from getting much feedback about the rhythm. I can feel when a throw is smooth or easy, but I can tell you little about the rhythm. Harold Connolly told me that at least one of his athletes must have felt the same way so he altered his hammer to whistle as he threw, with the pitch varying as speed increased.
Thankfully I can sometimes get others to come and watch me throw. Yesterday Terry McHugh was once again able to watch me practice and his sole focus was on rhythm. Terry has little experience with the hammer, but he is a talented javelin coach and has a good eye. As with focusing, rhythm is universal and something Terry can help me with as much as any hammer coach can. Read more
So far the trials have been non-stop action as far as the throwers are concerned. Over the weekend the men’s shot putters, women’s discus throwers, and javelin guys continued the momentum started in the hammer throw. Reese Hoffa threw a world leading mark to win the shot put. While the three favorites all qualified for the team, it was not without a little pressure when Joe Kovacs’ big personal best briefly overtook Christian Cantwell. Stephanie Brown-Trafton and Aretha Thurmond led the women’s discus, while Sam Humphreys threw a personal best to take the men’s javelin over a last throw breakthrough by young talent Sam Crouser. While Humpreys’ mark did not qualify him for the Olympic team (it landed just 14 centimeters short of the qualifying standard), he still seized the day. Even the meet’s biggest highlight thus far, Ashton Eaton’s world record in the decathlon, has the throwing events to thank. The record was only possible due to the progress Eaton has made in throwing over the past few seasons.
With all this excitement, it is hard to believe that the trials are only half-finished. Action starts again on Thursday and this weekend will feature three more finals in the throwing events. Take a look below to get a taste of what’s to come.