If adaptation were this simple, we would all continuously improve.

A New Model for Stress and Adaptation

This year marks the 80th anniversary of when Hans Selye started research stress and coined the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) in a letter to the editor of Nature. GAS, often called the stress response, was taken by coaches as the basis of adaptation in training and the foundation of early periodization models. As Buddy Morris put it on our podcast last year, coaches are primarily in the business of stress management. But as science learns more about the complexities of stress, training methodology has not kept. Recently John Kiely posed the question: is training philosophy built upon an incomplete understanding of the nature of stress? Read more

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Words of Wisdom, Vol. 10

We might think of coaching as being about training methods, science, and physiology. But don’t forget that more than anything coaching is about communication. We are teachers: it does not matter how much you know if you are unable to convey it to your athletes. With that in mind, I assembled a few quotes I’ve jotted down on my notebook on the theme of language and communication. Read more

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What Makes Bondarchuk’s Periodization Different?

If you didn’t make it to Portland last week, you missed out on a great seminar. Jonathan Marcus gave a great presentation on transfer of training. Jean-Pierre Egger broke down the famous Werner Günthör training video. And Nick and I gave an in-depth overview of Bondarchuk’s approach to training. Read more

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Case Studies in Collegiate Hammer Development

While in Minneapolis last year I got a chance to catch up with University of Minnesota throws coach Lynden Reder. Coach Reder and I competed against each other as students. He beat me then, and now he is beating me as a coach by producing top hammer throwers every year. Just last week Sean Donnelly threw a big personal best of over 23 meters to place third at US nationals (and over 74.35 meters in the hammer today). But his success aside, he is always up for a good conversation on training and we are not afraid to challenge each other, a quality that is often lacking when talking shop with other coaches. I used one of our chats as a topic for an Ask Martin post on the pros and cons of the NCAA system for athlete development. And in a recent article he turns that same ability to challenge on his own training. Read more

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Specific Exercises for the Javelin Throw

Over the past few years we have put together special strength videos for the hammer throw and shot put. With the help of Terry McHugh, I am glad to present some ideas for the javelin. Read more

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Specific Tips for Specific Training

This site is not the only place I write for. Below is an article I wrote for the Australian periodical Modern Athlete and Coach. They put together what is, in my opinion, the top athletics training periodical in the world with regular contributions from some of the leading names in the sport. They are kind enough to let me repost my article in full below. Read more

Scenes from GAIN 2015.

Peer-to-Peer Coaches Education

A Swiss hammer coach recently told me of an experience he had while visiting a German throwing conference years ago. At the conference there was a debate about the proper terminology to use when teaching technique. One coach preferred one phrase, his rival another. All the while the lead coach insisted: “We all have to be on the same page!” But do we? The Swiss coach pointed out that our country functions with four official languages, and is perhaps stronger because of it. One can argue that the language and cultural diversity makes us stronger. Read more

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Words of Wisdom, Volume 9

With the holiday season here I am in a bit of a philosophical mood. So for this Words of Wisdom post I decided take a look at a few quotes that get to a key point at the heart of my own training philosophy. Read more

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Words of Wisdom, Volume 8

Our jobs would be a lot easier if we could just copy and paste training programs for our athletes. But that is rarely what works to produce results, as Nick and I discussed on the HMMR Media Podcast last month. It also is boring; a robot can copy and paste results after all. What makes coaching so fun and interesting is that it is challenging. In this Words of Wisdom I bring together some quotes I have come across recently that demonstrate the importance of finding your own unique solution as a coach, and a unique solution for your athletes. Read more

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 14:  Nicola Vizzoni of Italy competes in the Men's Hammer qualification during day three of the 22nd European Athletics Championships at Stadium Letzigrund on August 14, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Why 3 Turns are Harder Than 4

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