Kibwe's old technique.

In Defense of Kibwe’s Technique

Kibwe's old technique.When you ask people who are the best technical throwers currently throwing they will likely throw out the name of Koji Murofushi or Primoz Kozmus. Few would likely name Kibwe Johnson. The reason for this is that people tend to focus on what people do wrong rather than what people do right. For years, Kibwe did a lot wrong. As an example, take a look at the picture to the right. But now many of those errors are gone, and his strengths are even better. While his technique is still very much a work in progress, and he would be the first to say that, I feel it needs a defense for the many things he does well.


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6 replies
  1. tom
    tom says:

    Martin,
    I understand your point that you make about where the hammer is when kibwe comes back to double support, however his phase of that part of the throwing motion is a lot less efficient than that of the elite throwers. He might land his foot early but he is a good amount of balance at that point having to much weight on his left leg. Since he does not have even weight distribution he is not able to push and accelerate the hammer as much as the best throwers. If you compare the pictures between kibwe and koji you can notice that koji has way better balance between weight distribution and is able to accelerate or “push” the hammer more even if his right foot might get down a little later. But I agree with you that Kibwe has made good improvements it is just a shame that he started out with very bad fundamentals as I think he is greatly talented. I started at a very young age with an elite European coach and feel lucky to have gotten such good coaching, while seeing many US athletes learn poor technique at first and then try to overcome those problems later when it is harder to do so.

    Reply
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I completely agree. Double support is just the first step. It is what you do with it that really matters in the end. What is interesting is that most people who are off balance are not able to catch that early in the first place. The fact that he begins double support so early despite being not quite as well balanced is a testament to his athletic abilities. Much of those problems are also related to his entry which was better last year, and way improved when I trained with him last month. With a better orbit, he will have the balance to really utilize the early double support and convert it into ball speed.

      Another thing to note is that he does not have to do as much as others to accelerate the hammer. He threw almost 80 meters with bent arms several years ago. That is partially because his wingspan is almost 6-foot 9-inch long. With arms like that, you can get away with shortening the radius since his bent arms are still going to be much longer than mine even if I am fully extended. But again, if he continues to correct these problems he can really benefit from these strengths and it will easily add a few meters to his throw.

      Reply
  2. tb
    tb says:

    On the other hand, if he has a consistent year around 80m, we’re all gonna try bending our right arms and throwing ‘over the top’ like he does.

    Reply
  3. Paul Barrett
    Paul Barrett says:

    Martin,

    It is great to see someone finally mention the importance of catching the hammer back! This is rarely ever mentioned…. A lot of people still catch the hammer very late in front…specially in the USA… All you have to do is look back at the throwers from the 80′s (Mostly Russian) and see where the ball is… Pretty simple stuff that most people do not catch on to for some reason… Course this all comes from the Winds/Entry as to where the catch happens and a lot of the entries are wrong… Thanks for bringing this up and best of luck to 70m!

    Reply
  4. Lynden Reder
    Lynden Reder says:

    Good points Martin. You can see he catches the ball back at the highpoint really nice in the photo. The thought of him then pushing the ball LONG through the orbit with that 6’9″ wingspan is exactly what you say… scary! If he can get his foot in, run it long around, and have the CNS engine that he does… the sky is the limit. Would the Dr. B camp ever think of throwing a hammer with a long wire (2-3 inchces?) to force and even longer run/push of the hammer following the early catch you describe?

    Reply
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      We haven’t thrown with long hammers. But I think it might be a good idea if used in moderation (you don’t want it feeling too different). I think the same reasoning is among the many reasons why we do not throw the weight. The weight is too short to feel. As Kibwe told me yesterday “Can’t feel a long hammer throwing that thing 5 or so months a year.”

      Reply

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