Posts

Fixing problems on the ground will eliminate problems in the air. The same is true in the throwing events.

Training Talk with Gary Winckler (Part 3)

winckler_uiI had the chance to pick the brain of sprint and hurdle coach Gary Winckler last month and the post below is the latest installment of our training talk. We began by talking about reactivity training and then moved on to discuss periodization. This part of the talk focuses on posture and coaching technique.

Before I let you start reading I do have to mention that this was one of the most interesting training talks I have done. Obviously it was fascinating to learn from a master coach and go into much more detail about a non-throwing event than any other training talk I have done. But I found it the most interesting that as we dove deeper into the intricacies of hurdling, the conversation became inexplicably more relvant to hammer throwing. The events have more in common that I realized and likely have just as much in common with other events too. Read through Part 3 and let me know your thoughts below.
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My most popular training talk was with Dan Pfaff, but I also sat down with many other great coaches.

Looking Back at 2013: Best Training Posts

A lot has changed on this site over the past year. Just before the year started I launched memberships to the site. At the start of 2013 I completely redesigned the site. In November I relaunched the site as HMMR Media and brought on board great content from Kibwé Johnson, Nick Garcia, and HSHammer.com. And to end the year we launched a store which includes custom hammer wires, premium memberships, books, and coaching. All the while our readership has grown, which makes all the work worthwhile. I started this site to help myself and others learn more. With more people joining in the conversation we all benefit.

Looking back at the year, I wrote about a lot of interesting topics. In years past my most popular posts tended to be about current events. But this year training was the popular topic:

But many more were my favorites. Below is a compilation of my favorite training posts from 2013. A HMMR Media membership is required to read many of the articles, so if you haven’t joined yet it is a perfect way to start the new year.
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Youth Athletics and Specialization

tiger_woodsOver the last decade, youth sports have undergone a drastic transformation: general athletic development is being replaced with specialized preparation at earlier ages. This transformation began a long time ago, but has been accelerated as people saw the success of Tiger Woods (shown to the right) and the Williams sisters. Now I see more kids choosing to focus on one sport year-round than the three-sport letterman of years past. This is the topic of my most recent article for Juggernaut Training Systems.

This trend is bad, but the common reaction against it is to focus again on only generalized training. As I argue in the article, there doesn’t need to be a choice between specialized and generalized. A combination can work even better and I bring in some examples from the throwing world.
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Practice Maker – Refinement

Refinement is fine tuning the practice after the basic technical model has been mastered. When that is robust then and only then should you think about attending to the finer points in a skill. Often we are in a hurry and try to do this too early in the process and the whole technical model erodes. Read more

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Practice Maker – Repetition

Repetition is the mother of learning. We are what we repeatedly do. I doubt anyone would argue with those points. The task then becomes to carefully choose what we repeat. It is necessary to have a clear idea of the technical model you wish to achieve and a plan to achieve the desired technique. We know that practice makes permanent so repeating incorrect or flawed movements will ingrain the faults. Read more

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How and When Elite Coaches Use Light and Heavy Shots

My first post for HMMR Media laid out how top American shot put coaches choose what weight implements to throw in training. The data came from my master’s thesis on the resistance training methods of elite shot putters, where I asked nine of the top shot put coaches in the USA a wide range of questions. These coaches were chosen based off of the results they had in International Championships, USA National Championships, and NCAA National Championships.

After I asked them what weighted implement they used, the next logical question was to ask how and why they used each one in training. Just as each coach had a different formula for what implements to use, they also had their own approaches to when they would use them. Read more

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Ask Martin Vol. 26: Throwing In The Other Direction

Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now to get this and many other benefits.

In other throwing events it is common to throw in each direction. How many throws should you take in the opposite direction and how good does technique need to be in that direction? My concern is that training just to one side might provoke scoliosis or other spinal injuries. -Thomas

Throwing in the opposite direction is indeed less common in the hammer throw than in other throwing events. Tony Dziepak has compiled a list of ambidextrous throwing records which include impressive performances like Hank Kraychir putting the shot 20.55-meters with his right hand and also going over 18-meters with his left hand. With the amount of technique involved, it is natural that hammer throwers generally do not throw as much in the other direction. But in looking at the necessity of it, the same rules apply to all throwing events.
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If I could hit this position with the competition hammer I'd be well on my way to 70 meters.

October Training Update

Last year I wrote about my training only sparsely since there was not that much new or exciting going on. But this year I am barely two weeks into training and I am already eager to give a training update. As I discussed in my season review a few days ago, there were several problems that kept me from reaching my goals last season. I hope to learn from those mistakes and make some improvements to my training. This year I have kept one of my goals from last year: technique. I need to improve the start of my throw by staying a little lower and getting more “range” on the first turn. Then I need to stay relaxed throughout the final turns. In addition, I have a new second goal, which is to keep my focus on these points even as the competition season begins. Last year this went well in the off-season, but as soon as a little extra stress was added to the formula (be it an injury, more work, house guests, travel for competitions, etc.), the wheels came off. I have also developed a plan for both of these points and am already implementing it. Read more