Focus clearly only on what needs to be done to get training results that translate in competition performance. This demands focus on the training tasks that are meaningful. Eliminate the nice to do activities that make you tired but don’t make you better. It is so trite to say but less is more. Read more
Tag Archive for: Transfer of Training
I reached the end of my latest training program on Friday and was feeling in great shape heading into this weekend’s annual club championships, the Schweizer Vereinsmeisterschaften (SVM). The SVM is normally not the ideal setting to throw far with just four throws, one flight of 25 or more throwers, an early morning start, and no one near my level. But some great weather and a chance to throw in the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, home of the Lausanne Diamond League meeting, was motivating to me and I was able to put together another solid meet with a throw of 64.38 meters. In addition to winning the hammer, I contributed some more points with a fifth-place finish in the discus. However it was not enough as our injury-plagued men’s team took second place by just three points.
With the meet behind me, it is time to start my next training phase and also a good time to reflect on the last training program. I had been training under the old program since the European Cup Winter Throwing at the end of March and it had obviously worked well since I improved more than four meters over the last two months and am way ahead of where I was last year at this time. However not everything went as planned since my best competition results came a month before the end of the program and I never really felt like I put everything together with the competition weight hammer.
Question: Is it better to train the implements that the athlete throws best or to train the implements that the athlete struggles with? Try to improve where the athlete already throws well and improve that or attack the weak points (or balls that the athlete does not perform best with)? -Frederick Hannie
This is quite a complex question, so I will try to break it down into the two core points I see: (1) whether a thrower that focuses their training on weights they can throw the best; and (2) the broader question of whether it is best to design a training plan that leverages the strengths of an athlete or focuses on eliminating weaknesses. Since the questions go in two different directions, I will address only the first one below and get to the second question in another post later this week.
Martin Bingisser is a Swiss hammer thrower and coach. His blog http://www.hmmrmedia.com/ is on my must read list. I think Martin is one of the bright young minds in track & field. I find his ideas informative, stimulating and challenging. Here he is talking about his coach Anatoly Bondarchuk, a true coaching legend: Read more
One of Bondarchuk’s biggest contributions to training methodology has been to highlight and measure “transfer of training.” He has written two books in English on the topic in the past few years that explain the topic thoroughly. In researching this topic he has compiled correlations between different training exercises by observing and surveying thousands of throwers over the past few decades. He took his findings and, among other things, calculated the correlations between light and heavy hammer to the competition implement for various levels of throwers. This has been extremely helpful in identifying the transfer of training between different practice implements.
One of this site’s readers, masters thrower Terry Noyes, made a keen observation after parsing these numbers. The highest correlating implement for an athlete is almost always the hammer that flies closest to 60 meters. Take a look at the chart below, where the implement with the highest correlation to the competition hammer is highlighted in yellow.
The worlds of Olympic weightlifting and the throwing events have much in common. I’m not just talking about the fact that we all use cleans and snatches as an important part of our training plan. I mean that at their core, the worlds are built with similar principles and similar people. Both sports require excruciating attention to detail. Both sports require thousands of repetitions to master the rhythm and balance of each attempt. And Olympic weightlifter Matt Foreman could have just as easily been describing the hammer throw in his new book Bones of Iron: Collected Articles on the Life of the Strength Athlete when he said “Our sport offers almost no money and promises pain, so only fanatics will survive for the long haul.” For these reasons, and the fact that Foreman runs a throwing club with more than 60 athletes, I picked up his recent book of musings on weightlifting and all things related.