Hammer Throw | iaaf.org

About Masters Age Groups {amp}amp; Implements

Age Groups {amp}amp; Implement Weights

Masters begin at age 35 {amp}amp; complete in 5 year age groups for men {amp}amp; women.  In throws the weight of implements also changes as competitors become older.  The following table shows the age groups {amp}amp; weights of different implements thrown for both men {amp}amp; women for single events, throws triathlon {amp}amp; throws pentathlon.

Age Groups — Implement Weights — Throws Pentathlon
MEN
M35
M40
M45
M50
M55
M60
M65
M70
M75
M80
M85
M90
M95
M100
Age Range
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65-69
70-74
75-79
80-84
85-89
90-94
95-99
100-104
Hammer kg
7.26
7.26
7.26
6.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
Shot Put kg
7.26
7.26
7.26
6.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
Discus kg
2.0
2.0
2.0
1.5
1.5
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
Javelin g
800
800
800
700
700
600
600
500
500
400
400
400
400
400
Weight kg
15.88
15.88
15.88
11.34
11.34
9.08
9.08
7.26
7.26
5.45
5.45
5.45
5.45
5.45
Weight lbs.
35
35
35
25
25
20
20
16
16
12
12
12
12
12
WOMEN
W35
W40
W45
W50
W55
W60
W65
W70
W75
W80
W85
W90
W95
W100
Age Range
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65-69
70-74
75-79
80-84
85-89
90-94
95-99
100-104
Hammer kg
4.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
Shot Put kg
4.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
2.0
Discus kg
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.0
0.75
0.75
0.75
0.75
0.75
0.75
Javelin g
600
600
600
500
500
500
500
500
400
400
400
400
400
400
Weight kg
9.08
9.08
9.08
7.26
7.26
5.45
5.45
5.45
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
Weight lbs.
20
20
20
16
16
12
12
12
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.8
8.8

Berry likes the hammer throw for its history and uniqueness, and is focused on several big goals moving forward.

As a kid growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry began playing sports at a young age—”around 4 or 5 years old”—and joined team sports in middle school, playing soccer and basketball and running track.

She expanded her repertoire in high school to include softball, though her main focus remained track, specifically the jumping events. She was recruited to Southern Illinois University for her triple jump, but after one year on the team, her coach had a different idea.

So in 2008, at the age of 19, Berry picked up the hammer throw for the first time—and quickly discovered an unparalleled passion and aptitude for the sport. She won fourth in the hammer throw at the 2008 USA Junior Championships, took third in her first international debut for the U.S.

at the 2010 NACAC (North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association) Under-23 Championships in Athletics, and entered the 2012 Olympic Trials as the number two seed. (She ended up serving as an alternate for the London Games.) This year, with the American record in June, she’s throwing her best distances yet.

Throwers begin by swinging the ball in angled circles around their bodies “like a pendulum,” says Berry. Once they get a baseline level of momentum, they’ll begin spinning their bodies, too, as the hammer rotates around their center.

Throughout these spinning motions, it’s important to keep your chest up and your knees slightly bent, says Berry. “You don’t want to bend over too much and use your back,” she says. Instead, she imagines she is sitting back in a chair and spinning from that position.

While the hammer throw, with its spins and squatting motions, may look very leg-centric, the power is primarily derived from the upper body, says Berry. “You want to use your arms more than your legs.

” A good hammer throw also requires good hand-eye coordination. “You want to be connected to the ball with your hands and with your eyes,” says Berry. Balance and symmetry throughout the body is another important element. “You want your arms to be parallel to each other,” says Berry.

Because the sport is so technical and nuanced, “you have to practice those motions all the time,” says Berry. It’s not like running, biking, or other physical activities where the motions are simple and intuitive for most people.

With hammer throwing, the general consensus within the sport is that it takes “10 years to become a really good hammer thrower,” says Berry, who has been hammer throwing for essentially that exact amount of time. “The main focus is getting strong while doing that specific movement.”

Her 180-minute hammer throwing sessions include a 30-minute warm-up (think jogging and stretching), an hour of drills, which focus primarily on precision («It’s not about throwing too far or too fast, but about walking and turning with the ball to feel the connection with it,” says Berry), and 90 minutes of throw practice, where Berry uses hammers of varying weights and sizes—some smaller than the competition weight, and some larger—to practice her throws.

The ultimate goal, says Berry, is to practice these motions so much that they become second nature. «When you walk in [to the rink at a competition], your body and mind should be on autopilot so that you are focused just on execution,» she explains.

In addition to the 18 hours of specific hammer throw training, Berry also lifts weights twice a week, for two hours each time. She describes these strength-building sessions nonchalantly—”It’s mostly about making sure the correct muscles [used in the hammer throw] are moving, and that my back isn’t straining,» she says—but her weight-lifting abilities are far from average.

For example:

When she’s not training, Berry likes to cook (her go-to dishes are baked Salmon and pasta, but «I can make a mean turkey burger with homemade french fries,» she says), clean her house, watch TV, and “just chill, to give my mind a break.”

“It really goes back so far,” says Berry of the hammer throw. “They used hammer throws in wars, when they tried to conquer different villages. It was an art, and the best warriors were the best at throwing.

” She says this historical context inspires her during practice and competition. “I’ll watch movies, like 300 and Pirates of the Caribbean and see the hammer throwing techniques used.”

That said, Berry says she has a love-hate relationship with the sport. “I have a love relationship because it’s what defines me and makes me different than my peers, but I also hate it because it’s sometimes the only thing I do,” she says.

Love or hate, Berry will continue to push forward with her goals. On setting the American record last month: “It felt really good,” says Berry. “It gave me the confidence to be an Olympic medalist and even an Olympic champion.” Her next goals: medal in Tokyo, and also at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.

In the process, she hopes the sport will become a bigger part of American sports culture.

“I wish [the hammer throw] was more popular and respected in the United States,” says Berry. “It’s just as athletic—and in some ways more athletic—than the major sports like football and basketball.”

The IAAF World U20 Championships (also known as the World Junior Championships) are coming up on July 19, and hammer throw is one of the events. That’s where we’ll see the next up-and-comers in the sport. For more information and to watch the championships, see here.

IAAF: Hammer Throw

How it works

Athletes throw a metal ball (16lb/7.26kg for men, 4kg/8.8lb for women) for distance that’s attached to a grip by a steel wire no longer than 1.22m while remaining inside a seven-foot (2.135m) diameter circle.

In order for the throw to be measured, the ball must land inside a marked 35-degree sector and the athlete must not leave the circle before it has landed, and then only from the rear half of the circle.

The thrower usually makes three or four spins before releasing the ball. Athletes will commonly throw four or six times per competition. In the event of a tie, the winner will be the athlete with the next-best effort.

History

Legend traces the concept of the hammer throw to approximately 2000BC and the Tailteann Games in Tara, Ireland, where the Celtic warrior Culchulainn gripped a chariot wheel by its axle, whirled it around his head and threw it a huge distance.

The wheel was later replaced by a boulder attached to a wooden handle and the use of a sledgehammer is considered to have originated in England and Scotland during the Middle Ages. A 16th century drawing shows the English king Henry VIII throwing a blacksmith’s hammer.

The hammer was first contested by men at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris but the first global competition for women was the 1999 IAAF World Championships.

Did you know

When Germany’s Karl-Hans Riehm set a world record of 78.50m at a meeting in the German town of Rehlingen on 19 May 1975, all six of his throws were better than the previous world record of 76.66m.

Gold standard

US thrower John Flanagan is the only athlete to win three Olympic hammer titles, taking the gold medal on the first three occasions it was contested in 1900, 1904 and 1908.

The only time a world record has been set to win a women’s global crown was when Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk won at the 2009 IAAF World Championships with a throw of 77.96m.

Teaching The Women’s Hammer

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GENDER EQUITY

    Gender equity is a term that evolved from Title IX
and has athletic directors scrambling to improve opportunities for women across
the board. Gender equity has definitely affected the sport of track and field.
Historically, events such as the hammer, pole vault, and steeplechase have been
thought to be for men only. At the 1999 World Championships, the hammer will be
contested by both men and women. This is due to the gradual emergence of the
women’s hammer over the last ten years. In 1996, the NCAA Division I
Championships added the hammer throw for women. This was a giant step in the
emergence of the event, not only for women but also for
men.
Bringing the hammer throw into the national
championships has allowed more opportunities for women to compete. Subsequently,
most major conference championships have now included the event. This has led
more universities to build throwing facilities and invest money into the hammer.
Field event coaches have been forced to learn more about the
event.
The university system is the key to track and field
development in this country. Ultimately, more schools will have to hire or train
competent
coaches and build adequate and safe training facilities. Because of
the growth of the women’s hammer, coaches must teach the event not only to men
but to women. Some of the universities that added the event for women may now
offer the same opportunity that in the past was not available for men. This is a
win-win situation for everyone involved.

Gymboss Timers

TEACHING THE HAMMER TO WOMEN: IS THERE REALLY ANY
DIFFERENCE?


The teaching progression for the event is the
same for men and women. According to a recent study by Romanov and Vrublevsky
(1998),
women throwers follow a rhythmic throwing structure that follows in
many aspects the technique followed by men.
Teaching the
winds, practicing the turning pattern, and drilling the release are all things a
beginning thrower must do, regardless of gender. Because the women use the same
implement (4k) at all levels, it is possible to use the competition weight for
teaching purposes. When teaching a collegiate male it is advisable to start with
a 12 or 14-pound ball.
When teaching women, the emphasis
should be on drills and repetition as this will help establish the proper
technical pattern. They are typically not as concerned about distance
immediately. Because of the weight of the implement, most women throwers will be
able to rely on speed and technique to make the implement go. The first month of
training should be spent on drills. Proper execution of drills will ensure later
success.
The differences in the amount of muscle mass, the
distribution of muscle, and the testosterone level of women when compared to men
of similar age, total body mass, and training state, may result in different
workouts for male and female athletes.
Women’s mean total
body strength is 63.5% of men’s total body strength, according to Laubach
(1976). According to Wright (1980), men have ten times the testosterone levels
of women. Researchers have examined the role of body size in the strength
differences between men and women.
According to
Wilmore, (1974), when body size is accounted for, women are weaker in upper body
strength than are men. Men proved to be 63% stronger in the bench press than
women. A recent study by Hoffman, et al., using isokinetic testing found men to
be 50% stronger in absolute terms when adjusted for height and lean body mass.
Though women may be weaker than men, keep in mind the 4k hammer may not
be as
physically demanding as the 161b is for their male
counterparts.
As a result of their flexibility in the
upper body and natural tendency to be proportionally stronger in the lower body,
women may be better
suited for the event than men. The hammer thrower must
possess core strength as well as lower body strength and power. Most
hammer
throwers avoid a lot of upper body work like the bench press because
it tightens up the chest and shoulders.
In my experience,
women often pick up the basic technique of the event quicker than men probably
because they tend to be a little more technically oriented. With their upper
body flexibility, they tend not to muscle the implement; they let the movement
happen.
Men have a tendency to drag the ball because it
feels heavy and they try to overpower the hammer with the upper body. Women
often have an easier time learning the event because of their stature and the
fact that the implement weighs only 4 kilos and the weight does not
change
from high school to college.
Improving strength
in the lower body is usually not a problem for women. However, most females must
also work hard to improve their pull strength doing cleans, snatches, jerks, and
high pulls. They must also pay special attention to improving their core
strength or torso power. This is very specific to hammer throwing and most
female hammer throwers can benefit from torso exercises in the weight room in
addition to the medicine ball and kettle bell throws.

    The biggest difference between training men and
women may be found when designing the workout during the competitive season.
Because of differences in hormone levels women cannot back off as early as men
when peaking.

DESCRIPTION OF TECHNIQUE


This description of the hammer throw is based
on a three-turn throw. This style of throwing was chosen because it is a common
style used by the typical intermediate level collegiate
thrower.
It must be kept in mind, however, that
a four-turn technique has been successfully employed by advanced throwers and
ultimately may be advantageous for women because of their smaller feet. It must
also be remembered that many throwers use different types of
starts.
The throw has seven parts:

  1. The
    Grip and Starting Position

  2. The
    Winds

  3. The
    First Turn

  4. The
    Second Turn

  5. The
    Third Turn

  6. The
    Release

STARTING POSITION

THE GRIP
A right-handed thrower should
grip the handle in the left hand at the mid-part of the fingers (glove hand).
Then place the right hand over the left and cross the thumbs with the left thumb
on top; or if more comfortable, the thumbs can be side by side rather than
overlap. There is no exact focal point, but the thrower should look into the
horizon and slightly to the right and back (toward the rear of the
circle).


THE START
The start
includes the winds and the preliminary movements preceding the winds. The key to
consistent throwing, the start sets up the posture and the timing of the throw.
It is one of the areas that can vary among throwers. The start should best suit
the individual thrower to put her in the best position to enter the transition
phase and ultimately accelerate the hammer. There are three major start
types.

        1. The Static
Start

Before performing the wind, the
thrower must first decide where to place the hammer in the ring. For a beginner
it is recommended to place the implement about three feet be- hind the right
foot for a right-handed thrower. This is commonly referred to as the static
start. This is a no-nonsense way to start the throw because there are very few
preliminary movements and it is very easy to teach.

  • The
    athlete stands at the rear of the circle, her back facing the direction of the
    throw.

  • The
    athlete’s base should be shoulder width in order to have a comfortable and
    balanced starting position.

  • The
    athlete’s head should be up, shoulders should be level, and eyes focused
    outside the ring slightly to the right.

    (The reason for looking to the right is to catch
the hammer early in front of the thrower to create a more balanced system to
alleviate the problem of dragging the ball.)


  Important
Points

  • Look at or behind the ball when it is in front of you.

  • Lock down the hammer on the first wind eighty degrees to your
    torso.

  • Move as the system (hammer, knees, hips, hand, head) moves,
    simultaneously aligned with one another.

  • Keep an erect torso with a slight bend in the legs.

  • Extend relaxed arms to extend the radius.

        2. The Pendulum
Start

In the hammer, the
intermediate-to-advanced thrower could perform a preliminary movement with the
hammer to create momentum for the
winds. This pendulum movement can vary
according to the athlete’s preference. A suggested preliminary movement is to
set the hammer next
to the left leg and swing the hammer from the left hip to
the front as the athlete begins to wind. Another option is to start the hammer
in front of the athlete between the legs. Basically, the pendulum gets the ball
moving prior to the wind.

        3. The Dynamic or
Step-in Start

In this start, the athlete
starts with the left foot staggered approximately one foot behind the right. The
leg remains staggered during the first wind and the athlete will step into the
parallel position following the second wind. This type of start is often chosen
because it helps the thrower establish rhythm in the start.


PERFORMING THE
WINDS


There are usually two winds, or complete
revolutions of the hammer head, before the turns begin. The winds must be
performed with the same rhythm as employed in all the turns of the throw. Since
the position of the low point is so crucial, the winds playa key role in the
success of the throw. The winds could be thought of as standing
turns.
One of the important concepts to keep in mind
during the winds is opposition. As the hammer is gradually accelerated through
these two revolutions, the thrower’s center of mass is shifted in the opposite
direction from the hammer in order to maintain balance between thrower and
hammer.
The opposition of the thrower’s body weight and
the hammer is what generates force in the winds. On the winds the low point is
at the center or slightly to the right of center on the first wind. During the
second wind, the body movements are more exaggerated than during the first
because of the increase in the hammer’s velocity and, thus there is an increase
in the centripetal and centrifugal forces. The right foot must be straight,
never being allowed to open so that the hip axis remains square across the front
while the shoulder axis turns right to pick up the hammer at its
apex.
Throughout the winds the angle of the hammer’s
upward path increases slightly, with the low point of the swing slightly left of
center as
she faces the back of the circle. The second wind should be faster
than the first as it sets the rhythm for the
turn.
Because of the mass of the implement many
athletes have trouble starting the throw. The wind often causes many problems if
the athlete is off balance. The left shoulder is the axis of the winds. Although
body weight is moving opposite the hammer, keeping the winds moving around the
left shoulder is important because the shoulder needs to be kept low on the
entrance. An off-balance start will take energy away from the turns and will
lead to a weak finish. A poor start can lead to problems in the first
turn.

TEACHING THE WINDS

    Preliminary swings are performed to get the
implement moving as the athlete enters the first turn. In teaching the winds it
is best to use a
3k medicine ball on a rope. A way to cue the teaching of the
winds is «Sweep, Curl, Form the Window, Comb the Hair, and Twist.» The thrower
sweeps the ball to the front of the body, curls her left arm when the ball
passes her body, lets the handle pass over the midline of the head, and then
twists the shoulders to catch the ball behind her. The shoulders rotate to bring
the ball forward and then turn back to meet the hammer as it moves to the
thrower’s right.
At that point, the hands should be kept
above the shoulders. When the athlete curls the left arm after the sweep she
actually forms a window
in front of her prior to the twist of the
shoulders.
The thrower should not let the hands pass
beyond the midline of the body and should not try to reach back over the head
past the middle of the head.
The winds must be symmetrical
with almost equal forces occurring to the left and the right. For this to happen
the thrower must think of «pushing» with the right arm and not pulling with the
left as the implement moves to the thrower’s right. The athlete should be able
to perform the winds empty-handed, emphasizing the sweep, curl, form the window,
comb the hair, and twist, and lifting the heels at the proper
time.
Have the athlete perform multiple winds with a
medicine ball on a rope in order to feel the smooth sweeping motion. After the
athlete has mastered the medicine ball on a rope, try the hammer. Sets of 5 to
10 consecutive winds really helps in teaching rhythm.

  • The
    feet are parallel and slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and the toes
    are one inch in from the edge of the circle.

  • The
    knees are bent at an angle of approximately 150 degrees.

  • The
    feet are parallel to help create a blocking action on the wind.

  • Block the right leg at the back of the circle in a good solid squat
    position with the torso erect.

  • Keep your eyes on your focal point, which is slightly to the right
    to catch the ball in front of you. It is crucial to keep the head in a fixed
    position because a common fault is to lead with the head and brake the system
    on the first turn by leading left with the head or left knee.

  • The
    athlete straightens his back and draws the left arm forward and upward with a
    smooth lifting movement. Cue: Sweep.

  • At
    the same time, the upper body is twisted to the left, beginning the
    wind.

  • The
    arms sweep the hammer in a wide flat path. A flat path is important for
    control in the first turn.

When
the ball is left-front, the thrower should:

  • Bend the elbows. Cue: Curl and Form the Window.

  • Lower the left shoulder.

  • Move the hips to the right .

  • Pass the hands over the midline of the head. Cue: Comb the hair.
    Turn the right shoulder and do not let the hands drop below the shoulders.
    Cue: Twist.

THE TRANSITION PHASE


The transition into the initial turn, wherein
the body becomes a rotating axis for the hammer, begins as the hammer descends
after the second wind. The transition to the first turn is one of the most
difficult elements of  the hammer throw. The incorrect execution of this
phase reduces the effectiveness of the turns and throws off the whole throwing
rhythm.
During the last wind when the hammer has passed
through the high point the hands stay above the shoulder and the thrower lowers
her center
of gravity. As soon as the hammer reaches its low point at the
completion of the second wind, the right-handed thrower should let the hammer
get past the left leg before starting the turn. This is commonly referred to as
letting the ball run or «using the ball.»
At this point,
most of the weight should be on the right leg as the thrower starts to turn by
pivoting on the heel of her left foot and pushing on the ball of her right
foot.
During the transition to the turns the
body mass is kept in a central position so that the right leg does not move in
an «unloaded way.» During
the turns, the hammer and thrower rotate around an
axis, which passes through their common center of
mass.
Posture and core control are very
important in the transition phase. A common problem in the transition phase is
breaking at the waist following the wind. As the body mass moves forward, so
does the system center of gravity, moving ground contact center of pressure
toward the front foot. This makes it difficult to lift the ball of the foot and
begin the turn.
For this position to be
effective, the forward trunk lean must be countered by a backward motion of the
hips. This position should be avoided by everyone except extremely advanced
throwers as it often causes the athlete to stand up into the first
turn.
Important points following the winds:
There is a definite increase in tempo as you start the first turn, and the tempo
increases with each subsequent turn. At the end of the second wind the weight
should be on the left foot until the ball reaches approximately 90 degrees. As
the thrower moves the hammer head forcefully to the left the weight shifts to
the heel of the left foot as the right leg is lifted.

        Key
Points

  • At
    the high point of the second wind, the athlete starts to bend the knees in
    preparation to enter the first turn.

  • As
    the hammer comes off the second wind, the shoulders are level and the
    trapezius and latissimus muscles are locked down.

  • The
    lower back is straight, and the shoulders are relaxed and arms are
    extended.

  • The
    athlete starts turning on the left leg when the ball is past zero or
    left-front to the athlete.

  • Simultaneously (to maintain the system), the right leg starts, and
    the thrower turns on the left heel and the ball of the right foot.

  • When the hammer is at zero to 90 degrees, the body weight is over
    the right foot, and the left leg is working against the centrifugal force of
    the hammer.

  • Enter the first turn with a moderately flat orbit keeping
    everything in line maintaining a 90-degree angle between the arms and
    torso.

  • The
    athlete turns the left foot to approximately 160 degrees in the first phase of
    the turn, continues on the outer side of the foot, and completes the rest of
    the full 360- degree turn on the ball of the foot.

  • The
    thrower should then pump the right knee up over the left leg by lifting it at
    80 degrees.

THE TURNS


The number of turns must be fixed for each
thrower according to the degree of her ability and her individual level of speed
and strength. This is usually two turns for the beginner and three or four turns
for the intermediate or advanced thrower. A female hammer thrower can easily
perform four heel turns in most cases. This makes the four-turn technique more
attractive for the female thrower. Many female throwers could conceivably
perform a toe turn followed by four heel turns and easily stay in the
ring.
The turns consist of single-sup- port and
double-support phases. During the single-support phase the athlete tries to keep
the hammer system in line. The double-support phase is when the thrower actively
acts upon the implement.
During the first turn the trunk
is erect and the left leg is locked. The thrower tries to utilize inertial
forces of the hammer in the single-support
phase by riding the ball and being
passive with the ascending hammer while also avoiding activity with the pelvis
and legs.
After running through the high point of the
hammer, the completion of the turn on the ball of the left foot should be done
actively to drive back to double support as soon as possible. Both of the feet
should be parallel, with the right leg slightly behind the left at between 225
and 270 degrees at the completion of the turns. This is a key technical point as
most throwers do not actively finish the turn with the left leg. This makes the
acceleration phase difficult and causes the athlete to fall off the
axis.
The key to the «first turn» is to keep it in line
with the whole «Hammer System.» The feet, knees, hips, torso, arms, and head all
must move
together in sync. The «first turn» of the hammer throw allows the
thrower to accelerate the hammer in a more gradual and fluent
motion.
Common faults to identify in many
throwers are dragging the ball, breaking the system, and catching the hammer
with the wide base when the right leg sweeps around the left. If the first turn
is properly executed, the thrower should catch the ball at approximately 225
degrees. The ball should be lined up with an erect torso and head with legs bent
on the ball of the right foot. The hips will be slightly in front of the hammer
system. The hips will be facing 270 degrees while the shoulder axis will be at
approximately 225 degrees.


TEACHING THE TURNS


The turns are the most important component in
teaching hammer technique. The turn is taught in two steps to make it as easy as
possible for the athlete to understand.
Step number
one:
Have the athlete start with the feet shoulder width apart, the knees
slightly flexed and the head up. The arms will be straight and will be held
together in front of the athlete. Have the athlete put her body weight on the
ball of the right foot and the left heel. Have the athlete turn until she
reaches 180 degrees. Have the athlete repeat these l80-degree rotations. When
the athlete can get to this position have the athlete turn and walk in the
opposite direction. This helps teach the idea of lifting the right foot to
complete the turn.
 Step number two: Instead of
having the athlete turn and walk, they must now learn how to complete the turn.
Have the athlete put her body weight on the ball of the right foot and the left
heel. Have the athlete turn until she reaches approximately 90 degrees. At this
point, the athlete
picks up the right foot and continues to rotate on the
side of the left foot to the ball of the foot. The right leg is kept close to
the left as the athlete completes the turn on the left leg and prepares to place
the right foot at 270 degrees.
It is important that
on completion of the turn the right leg make contact through the ball of the
foot. The athlete must practice performing a single turn over and over until it
feels comfortable.
At this point the athlete can add
a second consecutive turn and then a third. It is important for an athlete to be
able to perform three dry-run turns before having the athlete turn with an
object.
After the thrower has mastered the elementary
turning action, it is time to turn with a medicine ball on a rope and then
eventually with a hammer.

    THE WORK PHASE

    When the right foot is grounded at the completion
of each turn, the thrower is in position to greatly accelerate the hammer. The
work phase can be thought of in two parts 270 to 0 degrees and 0 degrees to 90
degrees.
The feet are slightly ahead of the hammer while
it is on its downward path, creating an ideal situation for increasing the
hammer’s velocity. Ideally the thrower should try to drop the left knee and set
the right foot in at 270 degrees.
The quick right foot
contact using the rotating right foot, initiates the hips and torso to serve as
the mechanism to push the bailout and around the front of the body to zero. When
the two feet are on the ground the right foot is rotating as the upper body is
countering back in the direction of throw. The thrower should be attempting to
lengthen the distance between the back of his head and the bottom of the
implement.
The acceleration phase can only be done when
the thrower has both feet on the ground. Therefore, it is advantageous to ground
the right foot quickly. Double support in the work phase needs to be as long as
possible giving the thrower more time to accelerate the hammer. This is
accomplished with a passive upper body.

    The second part of the work phase continues to
about 90 degrees. The athlete should let the ball run past the left leg by
pushing with the right until the leg is lifted entering single support. There
will be a whipping type of action with the ball. Continuing to work the ball
from zero to 90 degrees keeps the ball from slowing down.

            Key
Points

  • The
    beginning to intermediate thrower should keep the first work phase under
    control and not try to create too much orbit.

  • Do
    not raise the shoulders or arms to create orbit.

  • Concentrate on working the hammer around and away from the body
    during the double-support phase. Working the up strokes, during the
    single-support phase, will cause the athlete to stand up.

  • Elite throwers have been observed to work the hammer from 270
    to 90 degrees.

  • When the athlete catches the hammer, the violent counter action
    occurs and the thrower accelerates the ball to zero by countering against the
    hard heel.

  • The
    lower body (hips and legs) must move faster and faster by pushing away from
    the hammer with a hard left heel grinding the right foot against the
    ground.

THE RELEASE


If the three or four turns have been executed
correctly, the speed and orbit of the implement has in- creased on a smooth path
of acceleration from turn to turn. The athlete should think of entering another
turn and block the legs at 90 degrees. The final acceleration comes from the
extension of the knees, hips, back and shoulders. The release should be thought
of as going around the body and the athlete should push with the right
leg.
Therefore, in the beginning of the last turn, the
thrower must concentrate on this last effort:

  • Just as the right foot hits the ground, she starts a final
    explosive counter and pull.

  • She
    extends the whole body and throws the head backward.

  • The
    hammer is propelled upward and over the left shoulder with the arms
    straight.

    The close grip snatch is the best lift for
specific release power development. The ultimate angle release is 42 degrees. At
that angle an 80-meter throw has ball speed of 60 miles per hour.


COACHING THE WOMEN’S HAMMER: ESTABLISH THE
MODEL

    The difference between training men and women in
the hammer throw may not be significant. But, as a coach, it is important to
recognize
the subtle variations. The male athlete must possess a large amount
of strength to counter the high forces required to be successful in the hammer.
These higher forces require lower depth and exaggerated
positions.
The women’s implement is much lighter than the
men’s and accordingly this may be more of a speed event for women. The low depth
in the catch that is modeled by many of the male throwers may not be necessary
in the women’s event. A model that is specific to the female thrower
needs to
be established.
The coach must establish the position of
strength for the athlete in the hammer. This may differ greatly or only slightly
from athlete to athlete. This will depend on the physical characteristics of the
athlete as well as how quickly the athlete catches on to the technique, as in
the hammer throw. Since the beginning female thrower may not be as familiar with
the weight room as a male athlete, you may have to put her in the position of a
1/2 squat to demonstrate the amount of knee bend necessary to
throw.
But the solution does not rest in copying the
technique of a current champion hammer thrower. The technique used by a champion
may be far
from the technique needed for a beginning or intermediate female
hammer thrower. If a beginner tries to copy the technique of an elite hammer
thrower, she will become frustrated and lose interest in the event. The
positions achieved by an 80-meter hammer thrower are not necessary for a
beginner to intermediate thrower. The whole idea behind throwing the hammer
during the competitive season is to get results. Establish a realistic model and
an approach to training that will bring results. At first this may be a one or
two-turn throw.


KEEP IT SIMPLE


To achieve success in the hammer throw you
must maximize the capabilities of the athletes you are coaching. This means you
must create a
model that will bring results. Teach the grip and the wind.
Start your athlete with a wind and release first. After the athlete masters the
wind and release, introduce the one turn and release. Then advance to the
two-turn throw. For many beginners this may bring more distance than the
three-turn throw. If this is the case have the athlete use the two turns in
competitive situations until she has mastered three turns in practice. As an
athlete masters two turns she may be tempted to try three.

It is okay to experiment with the three-turn and perform
multi-turn workouts in practice. However, most athletes will not have the
strength or
technical efficiency to get increased distance from an extra turn
in competition. Athletes will tend to decrease speed on the last turn and will
actually lose distance on their throw. If this is the case, become proficient
with two turns and stick with it.


CONCLUSION


A coach must set the model for each athlete.
All athletes have a model that will work for them. This model must be specific
to the physical attributes of each athlete. The coach must choose which
technique best fits the athlete with whom he is working.
In teaching technique to beginners, special attention should be paid to the
development of the «right reflexes,» as technique can only be mastered if muscle
contractions can be coordinated and synchronized to produce maximum total effort
relative to hammer throwing. It is required that athletes concentrate on the
correct movements.
During the initial stage, the athlete
should not be «distance conscious» and should be conditioned to concentrate on
the development of the proper movements in order to establish the necessary
reflexes.
The women’s hammer is a wide open event. The
opportunities are endless for a talented young
thrower.

TABLE I

Sample workout #1—Beginner/Collegiate Women

ORDER OF DRILLS WT. # REPS
Walking winds-2X each way—
1 wind 1 turn drill 5
Turns—sets of 5 4k 6
Wind and release 4k 3
1 turn and release 4k 5
2 turn and release 4k 5
2 turn and release 3k 8

Sample workout #1—Intermediate/Advanced
thrower-Collegiate Women

ORDER OF DRILLS WT. # REPS
Walking winds-2X each way—    
Left arm drill 10lb 5
Right arm drill 10lb 5
Turns-sets of 5 10lb 6
4 turn accelerations 10lb 8
3 turn and release 10lb 8
3 turn and release 4k 15

TABLE II

Sample workout #1—Intermediate/Advanced
thrower-Collegiate Women
ORDER OF DRILLS WT. # REPS
Walking winds-2X each way—    
1 wind 1 turn drill 5
Turns—sets of 5 4k 6
Wind and release 4k 3
1 turn and release 4k 5
2 turn and release 4k 5
2 turn and release 3k 8
Sample workout #1—Intermediate/Advanced
thrower-(Building power)—Women
ORDER OF DRILLS WT. # REPS
Turns—sets of 5

10 lb hammer

5
4 turn accelerations

10 lb hammer

8
3 turn and release 16 lb wt. 8
3 turn and release 20 lb wt. 15

REFERENCES


Bartonietz, K., et al. The View of the DvFL of the GDR on Talent
Selection, Technique, and Training of Throwers from Beginner to Top Level
Athlete. New Studies in Athletics (1988) 1:39-56.


Bondarchuk, A.P., Hints for Beginning Hammer Throwers. Excerpts
reported in Modern Athlete and Coach from The Hammer Throw by
A.P. Bondarchuk.


Cairns, M., Basic Points of Modern Hammer Technique. Track and
Field Journal: April 1980.


Dunn, G., and K. McGill. The Throws Manual. Tafnews Press.
Mountain View, CA.


Kollody, D., The Training of Juniors in the Hammer Throw. Track
and Field, Ottawa, Ontario (1975): 12:14-15.


Petrov, V., Hammer Throw Technique and Drill. Translated excerpts
from Legkaja Atletika, Moscow (1980): #8


FROM: TRACK COACH-148

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