April, 2001


Letter From The Editor
Random Thoughts 
Throwers Heat Up Indoors
 His Way
Sequence analysis with Adam Nelson   
Gold Plated
Duncan Atwood analyzes Jan Zelezny
Old School
Sequence analysis with Masters champ Carol Finsrud
  Is Four More
IAAF floats a four throw experiment this season
The Season-Long Warmup
Jim Aikens covers an overlooked necessity
Ultra Weight Throw
Pay Carstensen takes a historical look at the big weights
The Ageless Warrior
Dr. Bob Ward defies time and gravity
Roaming The Prairie
Nebraska Wesleyan is doing big things at a small school
Looks Are Deceiving
Washington state makes a push for the prep hammer
Four Key Elements of Hammer Throwing
Lance Deal clinic notes along with free video info
Figuratively Speaking
The Literalist weighs in

Four Key Elements of Basic Hammer ThrowingI Editors Note: LSTJ was recently contacted by Jeri Daniels-Elder, who is seeking to promote a freeWhtvideo.jpg (23719 bytes) instructional hammer video.  The  video, produced in cooperation with USATF, is aimed at novice throwers to encourage them to try the event.  Daniels-Elder is distributing free copies to all interested parties.  She can be reached at: Jeri Daniels-Elder, 637 Wayland Place, State College, PA 16803, 814-234-3687, JDEHammer@aol.com

 The following are clinic notes included with the video.  The notes are taken from a talk given by Lance Deal in 1997 at the Millrose Games by Bonnie Edmondson.  Edmondson was a two time USATF hammer champion in 1990 and 1991 and is co USATF development coordinator with Daniels-Elder for the women’s hammer.  She received a President’s Award at the 2000 USATF Convention in Albuquerque.

 For ease of discussion a right-handed throw will be described.  Reference points on the circle are as follows: back midpoint is zero degrees and front midpoint is 180 degrees.

 1) Posture     The athlete must keep a solid athletic position (feet shoulder width apart, knees flexed).  Weight should be evenly balanced between both feet.  Keep an erect torso-never bend at the waist.  The body and ball work together as a system.  There should not be segmentation between the upper and lower body.  With the arms extended in front of the chest, the athlete establishes a triangle with the shoulders, chest and arms.  The head should stay within the triangle.  The hips, knees and feet stay pointed toward the ball.  The upper and lower body work as one unit.  Athletes should be aware of their posture and walk around confidently with the head up and shoulders back.  Be confident and powerful.  This confidence will carry over to athletic performance.

 2) Rhythm     The athlete must “feel’ the ball and visualize the throw so the system works as one unit.  To establish a rhythm and orbit of the ball during the winds, the athlete should start working the ball early on the right side at approximately 270 degrees.  This can be accomplished by the slight turn of the torso to the right and extending the arms out to 270 degrees while pushing the ball out and around.  Each wind should be progressively faster with the last wind being the speed of the first turn.  Winds should be controlled and establish a rhythm.  Sweep the ball out and around into entry.  Set up-the system and accelerate the ball through each turn.  Left heel turn, right toe pivot, step under is the footwork sequence.  To accomplish successive turns simply push the ball past you while pivoting feet to 180 degrees and then step under with the right foot.  The ball should turn the athlete.

  3) Balance     It is essential to keep a central axis of rotation while maintaining good counter against the ball.  If the athlete sits back too much or gives into the ball (breaks at the waist) or bends left or right, balance and counter will be thrown off.  Balance and counter directly affect the orbit of the ball.  A strong core position is essential.  An athlete must have sufficient core strength in order to maintain core position.  Core strength is characterized by strength from the knees to the chest.

  4) Ball Speed       Ball speed at the moment of release is the major determining factor in the distance of the throw.  The athlete must keep their torso erect.  If they deviate from the core position, the ball will decelerate.   The system (ball and athlete) turns as one.   Both feet must constantly be turning with an emphasis on an active right foot.  Strike the ball out and around to 180 degrees on each turn while maintaining a strong counter against the ball.  As the ball accelerates through each turn the athlete must continue to counter the ball through the release.  Think of the release as just another turn.  BE PATIENT.  A common error is to “rip” at the hammer and rush through the release.  As a result, the ball will be pulled out of its orbit and decelerate.   The ball should create enough force to turn the athlete.  This is a very dynamic feeling.  If the athlete tries to turn the ball, this will result in a slower drag position with the body ahead of the ball, thus diminishing ball speed.  If the athlete is out of control, they may be starting off too quickly.  Remember that the ball needs to be at maximum speed upon release. *LSTJ*