Britain’s top-ranked hammer thrower shares a few secrets to his success
1. Stretch and then stretch more
Stretch for every reason – warm-up, cool-down and injury-prevention routines are very important. Your body is put through some extreme forces while throwing and lifting and everything else that comes with it. It’s very easy to pick up an injury that can put you out for a long time. If you let things get too tight, not only do you risk wearing joints and tearing tissue, it also makes you throw “tight”, which will be detrimental to performance.
2. Listen to your body
This isn’t an excuse to be lazy and pull out of every exercise or cut training short every day. However, if something hurts or your gut instinct is telling you something is about to go “ping”, then it probably is. Missing a few throws or taking a day off lifting, missing a session when your body needs it, as frustrating as it may be is the smartest thing you may do all season. You can’t train injured, so just listen to your body and know when to back oﬀ and when to push on – you may just get a full season under your belt!
3. Plan and focus
Whether you do it alone or preferably with your coach, always have a goal – for the year, the winter, the month and for every session. Turn up, warm-up and think what you are going to improve in your throw – swings, entry, turns, delivery? Whatever it is, focus and use the drills you’ve learned to get a feeling for what you want to improve and gradually it’ll all come together. Don’t just turn up and get through 20 throws and go home.
4. ‘YouTube’ it
Are there no 80m hammer throwers to watch or get inspiration from at your local track? No, me neither! People can talk you through a million drills and tell you to twist this, bend that or push more, but until you’ve seen what you are trying to do in many different ways, it’s pretty hard as a beginner to get a picture of where you want to go with it. YouTube is one of many resources where you can find lots of videos of famous hammer throwers in competition training, hammer clinics from the world’s best and many instructional videos with drills and explanations. Every thrower is different from one another and not everything can work for everyone, so find and absorb all the information you can, make up your own mind and work with your coach and you’ll be golden!