On this week’s podcast I mentioned some of the stories Nicola Vizzoni told about his competitive experiences at our recent Swiss Hammer training camp. Over dinner one night our discussion moved towards hammer throw technique and Vizzoni slowly laid out the case for why the three turn throw is harder than the four turn throw. By the time I finished dessert he had opened my eyes to the complexity of the seemingly simple technique. Read more
We have mentioned Stuart McMillan’s coaches guide to strength development. It is an ongoing series on strength development that is a must read for all coaches. Along the way he has had some great contributions from Matt Jordan, who also recently joined us on the HMMR Podcast. And for the seventh part in the series he asked me to contribute to give an example of smart data collection in practice. Read more
When I was in Minnesota last month I had a chance to share a beer with former Pan American Games hammer throw champ Jim Driscoll for a great discussion on training and coaching philosophies. At one point the conversation turned to how we can improve our coaching and he mentioned that he recently invited an experienced coaching colleague come and watch him coach. His colleague sat quietly on the side throughout the sessions. After his athletes had left the sat down to discuss what his colleague had observed and where he could improve his coaching and communication. It was a simple and effective idea, but it was the first coach I have ever heard to have implemented this approach. Read more
There has been an explosion of data in sport over the past few years, but if you look at it the data centers on two areas: what happens on the field and what happens in the weight room. These are areas where data has always been readily available, and new technologies often focus on acquiring even more detailed and tangential data in these areas. What is ignored in this whole process is the huge gap between the field and the weight room. Historically not much data has been available in that gap, but if data collection is about finding data that we can use to improve training, then why are we ignoring a crucial element of training like specific strength training? Read more
Rather than talking about training methods or training plans, this roundup brings together some great articles and quotes on equally important topics that build the foundation of a coach’s approach: the importance of multidisciplinary learning and other soft skills that go into coaching. Take a read below. Read more
Any talk about implementing a specific strength training plan brings up the inevitable discussion of disrupting the athlete’s rhythm. In the throwing events we will often throw hammers that are heavier or lighter than normal in order to improve specific strength. There is no doubt this improves strength, but you also cannot deny that it changes the movement’s rhythmic structure. For this reason some coaches only throw the competition implement. No matter your conclusion, the important part is the analysis: as a coach you need look at whether the training will help your for the sport and the athlete. Where it might be a good idea to do certain types of special strength training in one sport, it could be inadvisable in another. And while one athlete can handle a certain loads of special strength work, another might break down. Throughout this all the overarching factor to consider is where the sport falls on the skill-strength continuum. Read more
At the start of the month I published an article in Athletics Weekly about specific strength. In it I give a brief introduction to exercise classification, specific strength, and some tips on implementing it to your event. Tom Crick also helped provide some great graphics to illustrate a few examples.
The article is adapted from my book The Ball and Chain where I cover this and other topics in more detail in Part IV: Training for the hammer throw. If you like it and want to learn more, pick up a copy of the full text. We also have some additional resources on this topic available for HMMR Media members, including Nick Garcia’s article on exercise classification for throwers and a post I wrote about specific strength in theory and practice. But this article isn’t just about the hammer or about throwing; it takes a look at a general idea that can be applied to any sport or event. 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
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This month I will be posting about three new books from Bondarchuk. Even though he just turned 75, he has been as busy writing as ever. The first book I will cover is Champion School: A Year to Year Model for Developing Elite Athletes. With the help of Dr. Michael Yessis, who also translated Bondarchuk’s successful Transfer of Training series, he turns his attention to the big picture of long-term development. Read more
Last weekend we held our first weekend training camp for the Swiss hammer throwers. As part of the Swiss hammer project we gathered together the top athletes and coaches for a chance to learn from each other and have a bit of fun. Even though I get to work with my throwers all the time, they benefited a lot too. Having a weekend focused only on hammer let us take a step back and analyze a few things we have overlooked. Read more