In an era when coaches are searching out more and more objective data to evaluate training, master coach Dan Pfaff has been using more and more subjective data to assist him. Subjectivity has been given a bad reputation lately, but it offers many advantages to coaches: it is cheap, it is easy to implement, it saves time, and can often times be more accurate. On this episode of the podcast Pfaff joins us to discuss the role subjective feedback plays in his training. Plus, for track fans, we discuss some of the failure of the Diamond League’s new rules for field event athletes. Read more
The latest buzzword in athletics is innovation. Our sport seems to have taken on the Silicon Valley mantra “innovate or die”; if we keep the status quo we will become irrelevant. This is true to some extent, but if we look at how it is implemented our sport is often just changing for the sake of change and not necessarily making our sport better. The latest bright idea out of the establishment is a new change to the Diamond League:
In the horizontal jumps and throwing disciplines, all participants will now have three attempts, and only the top four at that stage will have a further three.
Benn Harradine is the Australian record holder in the discus as well as an Olympic and World Championship finalist. You can learn more about him and read his entertaining blog on his homepage or find him on twitter at @bennharradine. He is also well known for his creative competition kits (see below) and innovative ideas to promote the sport. Martin Bingisser is a hammer thrower, Swiss national coach and founder of HMMR Media. He blogs regularly here on HMMR Media and you can also find him on twitter at @bingisser.
Our sport has a problem: the Diamond League is banal and familiar. Every competition whether viewed live or through the truncated telecast, is predictable. Similar events with similar athletes wearing similar uniforms, just in a different venue with a slight increase or decrease in performance. That is the Diamond League as we know it. Read more
I am writing a piece for next week about how the Diamond League can improve presentation, but as I sat down to watch the last meet of the series tonight I once again got frustrated that, despite being a track and field event, the hammer throw has been excluded from the sport’s premier league. First and foremost this means we do not get a chance to showcase our extraordinary event to the world. But for that athletes it also means they lose out on a big payday. On Twitter during the meet Finnish hammer thrower Fredrik Fröberg laid it out in simple numbers: Read more
One month from today the IAAF will elect their next president. Two candidates are vying for the position: Lord Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka.
Both Coe and Bubka have stellar resumés that will surely push the sport forward. But sometimes it is a bit difficult to see the differences between them. Read more
After the first year of the Diamond League I wrote some very simple suggestions to improve the league as a whole, such as a consistent day on the sports calendar or more head-to-head matchups. Track and Field News again wrote about the need for the latter point this month. But now it is time to talk about how the field events can be improved in the series.
Patrick Magyar is the most powerful track and field figure in Switzerland and one of the most connected worldwide. As the director of the Weltklasse Zurich meet and CEO for the recent European Championships, he helps guide the sport in Switzerland. He also is working on the international level as the vice chairman of the Diamond League. He puts together a good meet, I’ll give him that, but I must say I do not feel entirely safe if the future of the sport is in his hands. Speaking to the German magazine Leichtathletik last week, Magyar didn’t hold back his thoughts on the future of athletics:
Long qualifications, competition procedures, complicated events – how do we want to have athletics in future? Must all events be held? We cannot avoid discussions about deleting some elements.
Earlier in the week we began our training talk with Vésteinn Hafsteinsson. Hafsteinsson runs the Global Throwing team and was best known the personal coach of 2008 Olympic discus champion Gerd Kanter. The first two parts of our chat centered on training and technique. For this final part we look a little at the politics of track and field and a few issues that are keeping the throwing events from growing even further.
You can also join HMMR Media now to gain access to many more great training talks with elite coaches and throwers and a wealth of additional training information.
The IAAF Hammer Challenge will come to a close on Sunday with a stop at the Rieti Meeting in Italy. The women’s competition is all but decided as a late season surge of three straight competitions over 77 meters for Anita Wlodarczyk gives her an insurmountable 6.90-meter lead heading into Rieti. The men’s competition, on the other hand, couldn’t be much closer. The top two throwers are only separated by 6-centimeters. However a unique aspect of the IAAF Hammer Challenge means that the final competition might not count at all.
Two weeks ago the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene proved once again that, despite the fears of meet directors, the hammer throw can be included in the Diamond League without any problems. The Prefontaine Classic has regularly hosted the hammer throw, and this year the event also became an official stop of the IAAF Hammer Challenge, making it the first Diamond League meet to join the IAAF Hammer Challenge circuit. Unlike other track and field events, which are included in at least half of the Diamond League meets and are eligible for the season ending jackpot, the hammer throw has been excluded from the sport’s premier circuit. While the prize money offered to hammer throwers at the Prefontaine Classic still falls behind the other events, just being included in a Diamond League meet is a sign of progress for an event that is often been denied a seat at the table.
But all this just begs the question why the Prefontaine Classic the only one of the 14 Diamond League Meets to hold the hammer throw. The same thought crossed my mind on Saturday as I threw the hammer at a competition in the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise in Lausanne. If we could throw hammer then, why can’t we throw in July when the Diamond League comes to Lausanne? The Diamond League has cited “infrastructure” as the problem and Weltklasse Zurich meet director Patrick Magyar elaborated on that last year to say that the Diamond League stadiums just cannot handle the hammer throw. The damage to the grass is supposedly too much, and the cages required are too big.
Unfortunately the Diamond League officials have jaded memories. It is not just Eugene and Lausanne that are capable of hosting the hammer; almost every Diamond League stadium has held the hammer throw in the past decade. Below I compiled a quick history of the hammer throw at each Diamond League meet and Diamond League stadium. Of the fourteen meets, twelve have a strong hammer throwing history. It is time to get past the excuses and look at the facts: the hammer throw could be successfully included in the Diamond League and such an exciting event would add a lot to each meet.