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I like to make even my smallest competitions a little special. The routine of putting on my uniform and picking up my competition hammer lets my body know that it is time to step it up. Part of this is saving my nicest, best hammer for use in competitions only. It is a treaty to be able to throw it. Once it gets in my hands I feel like I can do anything with it.
This year Polanik gave me one of their Premium Szymon Ziolkowski Line hammers to throw. I wanted to make sure I had thrown it enough before giving my feedback, but after one season and a dozen competitions I feel like I can finally give a good assessment of it.
Let’s start with the look: the all black hammer is just plain sexy. The wire, the handle, and the ball are coated with a matte black paint that holds up well under the stress of throwing.
The feel of the hammer is also great, with the handle being my favorite handle I’ve ever used. One of my pet peeves are handles that are coated in paint that is so slick that it is hard to hold on to. I often use coarse sandpaper to make them grippable. The new Polanik handels have a texture on them that make them easy to hold. The angles are also gradual enough that your fingers won’t get pinched.
The ball itself feels special, which is the point. Polanik is pretty guarded about their process for making the hammer, but product manager Pawel Ciechanowski told me that the main advantage of this hammer is the production technology: “Each Ziolkowski Hammer is a unique combination of: a hammer wire, a handle and a head. Each of the elements is carefully manually selected from the production batches, so that the elements together will form a perfect hammer.” The hammer is also made with a maximum 6mm bias, meaning that the weight is as far out as allowed under IAAF rules. According to noted hammer biomechanist Jesus Dapena, the physics of this change could add one or two feet to a thrower at my level. The one thing I don’t like is that the hammer is a little larger in diameter than is allowed under the rules. But at 115mm in diameter, this makes only a negligible affect on distance and the important thing is that the hammer stil feels light and small in your hands.
If you are looking for a new competition that will stand out and be a little more special than the typical stainless steel hammer, give it a try. While pricey, the hammer is also a fraction of the cost of the Nishi or the other premium hammers out there.