Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NCAA'S- Weight Throw

I just recently got back from the NCAA champs in Arkansas. The indoor championship meet is always fun to go to not only to compete but also to watch. There were some amazing performances at the championships including Ashton Eaton breaking the
world record in the heptathalon and Hampton's Francena McCorory breaking the american record in the 400m. It was fun to watch all of the throwing events and it was great to see such great throwers do their stuff in person. Watching the men's shot competition was hard for me because I wanted to be in it so badly. But I will compete at nationals outdoors in the shot put...trust me. Ryan Whiting is a man among boys. It was crazy to see him with the comp. by 7'. Miriam's and Walter's performances were equally impressive. As for me, I was pleased with my performance. As some people know, I am not a hammer thrower and don't really care much for the weight as well. I only practiced the weight 3 times this indoor season and those 3 times were the week leading to nationals. In fact, I was actually kind of depressed that I even had to go and compete in the weight at the nationals. I basically went into the competition with the mindset that I was going to have fun and be happy with whatever happens. I was relaxed and tried to just do my best with what I had. I was very fortunate to pr on my first throw of the competition and throw over 70' for the first time in a competition. I even tried to 3 turn for the first time ever on my last 3 throws, but that didn't work out too well :). After the competition was over I heard a lot of the guys talk about how excited they were for hammer season to start, and I was laughing in my head because I was thinking to my self how I couldn't wait for discus season to start...lol. But what I've learned from this indoor season is that I throw farther in the weight without any practice and that Mc Donald's is a great pre-meet meal. So for all of you young aspiring weight throwers, I would recommend that you don't practice the weight and eat lots of Big Mac's!! The outdoor season starts soon, and I can't wait! I posted some pictures from the meet and my pr throw.


  1. The statement that you hated the weight, took the competition as no big deal, that your advice to up and coming weight throwers was to not practice and eat Big Mac’s sort of made me go “What the Hell”.

    It was probably meant as sarcasm, but it’s hard to say not knowing you as your teammates do. What’s disappointing about this attitude on the surface is the missed opportunity for a connection of purpose.

    To throw the weight with little form or technical skill all one needs is heaps of strength and a pinch of speed. Anyone can muscle the weight. It looks horrible, and tends to cause injuries if performed poorly over long periods of time. Yet, it is where the specific strength for the weight throw could benefit someone that normally loves the discus.

    I believe that a good discus thrower should have long levers i.e. long radius away from the center of mass. This helps accelerate the discus around the longest arc possible for a given athlete. There also is a moment during the throw, just as the athlete hits the power position, when the hip axis is turning slightly ahead of the shoulder axis. Then, there is a violent application of force from the oblique, shoulder and arm muscles. The concepts of long levers and violent application of trunk and shoulder explosiveness is essential to good weight and hammer throwing.

    If I were you, I might use the weight throw as extreme weight training for the discus. Train no more than once a week and make it a power lifting type of workout. 3 sets of 3 throws as an example.

    It could be with the 20 lb or 35 lb or any of the weights in between. One arm pud throws or one arm winds and releases with the hammer of any size could work in a similar way and also have good correlation for increasing speed and explosiveness in the discus.

    I have a multi-eventer that I told how each of the throwing events he would be doing, as well as the long jump, high jump and in a small way pole vault, had a component where you have to drive the hip. So 5 of his 10 events use the idea to pop the hip, to get it ahead of the upper body, to drive it with an explosive thrust of power. This year he is having success in all the events because he is finding the hip pop, feeling it work for him. I have a javelin thrower that I told to go watch the sprinters as they accelerate out of the blocks. I said that their drive leg comes up high, to parallel with the track. How then they strike the ground with dorsal flexation of the foot, to help give a spring-like action to the next drive with the leg. I told him he should find a way to use that form in his run up. To be quick and purposeful. When the multi-eventer came over, and used that same idea, he had a better throw, for he used what he knew from all the sprint workouts he had done. The penultimate phase of the long jump, high jump, and pole vault is also essentially the same as the one for the javelin. That idea is another I try to get my athletes to figure out.

    Too often in sports, and track in particular, it seems people want to separate everything into specific groups. There are throwers and sprinters, jumpers, and distance runners. If we spent a little more time finding what connects the different events everyone would find a bit more success.

    I guess I started this comment because some of what you said ticked me off and seemed like a bad attitude. I was just hoping to show how even when you don’t like something, there are ways to turn it into a Champion Attitude. To find the positive in whatever situation you find yourself in. To make as many things work for you as you can. To be creative and think outside the box and comfort zone.

    Or you could tell me to bite you…

  2. haha no practice and mcdonalds....good stuff, leif. congrats on the big throw and good luck in the outdoor season

  3. Well here is the thing....I honestly throw better when I don't practice the weight and I throw better when I eat mc donalds. I love mcdonalds and I try to eat it as much as I can every meet....that is honestly true...so I dont know how that makes me a bad person. I hate the weight throw...yes...that is a fact...and yes I think it should be done away with. You talk to 90% of throws coaches in the country I think they would agree. So if me not liking the weight and not practicing hurts your feelings then that is your fault. I went to nationals because I had qualified and my coach made me in a way. If I had my choice I wouldn't have gone because I would have rather stayed home and practiced and got ready for the outdoors. I was at that meet from wed-sun and didn't get to lift that much, or throw that much because they wanted me to throw far in the meet. Now, If i'm at a competition and have to throw...I'll do my best just cause I am a competitor and I'll make the most of my experience. I understand that I don't have the best weight throw technique but that is one reason why I don't practice it...so I don't get injured. I have thrown the weight enough to be comfortable with the tech. I have, and not get injured doing it. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad...it's just that I didn't practice at all this indoor season. And this has been my most productive season throwing the weight. I think alot of weight throwers practice it too much, get hurt, ruin their hammer technique, or just waste time. To me...indoors isn't as important as outdoors, and the weight shouldn't take over any of the other throwing events. How many great european throwers have thrown the weight? I even asked some of the european throwers in the weight comp. if they had thrown the weight in europe or if they liked it and they all said no. To me the weight is pointless to care and worry about. And throwing the weight has never once helped me in the discus. And I think it's ridiculous to think that it would. I have never had to throw the weight or polevault to get some hip pop in my throw. I am never going to train like a sprinter, distance runner, or jumper, or a hammer thrower to be good at the discus like I want to...or even the shot put. So sorry if I hurt your feelings or anyone else's feelings by what I said. If you think I have a bad attitude then you might be right...I don't like throwing the weight, and if it makes me look bad that I had that attitude..then whatever. And I did go into that competition just wanting to have fun with it and whatever happened, happened. I think that's why I did so well and beat so many of the guys is because they were probably all psyched up, focused, and stressed to do well. Alot of the guys are hammer/weight throwers and this is the only throw they have to do well...and that's not me. I think my attitude allowed me to succeed. I know if I actually practiced the hammer and weight all year round that I would throw it farther and maybe I would be up there with walter in the weight....but it's not important to me. And I think Mc Donald's is good for people...and if you don't like that...thats your fault...so why don't you go BITE into a big juicy mcdonalds quarter pounder with cheese. Sorry if you take this the wrong way

  4. I'm going to have to agree with you buddy. The weight is the devil and should be done away with. The ONLY reason that I compete in it is to help my team. If my team was crap then I would try everything in my power to get out of throwing it so I can throw the hammer year round. You sure as hell wont catch me throwing it after college. And secondly, were throwers.. we don't need a fancy diet... calories are our friend, not lettuce and smirnoff ices. WE get explosive by doing supplementary things (weight lifting, jump rope, medball, standing jumps...etc.) not distance running or cardio. And thus my question... How can throwing the weight help discus? I hate getting that question in interviews (In what way does the shot put supplement your hammer throw training? IT DOESNT! There is no correlation. Outdoors is finally here and that is the only thing that matters now! Good Luck outdoors Leif.

  5. Additinally, Mr. Willmott, I commend your level of respect by attaching your name and I would like to thank you for being confident enough to sign your name on your opinion unlike most of the people who hide behind computer screens.

  6. Well, I will say this. When I first read Walter and your’s replies, I was taken a back a bit. But I will say what came to mind about eating a Big Mac before a competition. If I eat anything from that menu, the first thing I will get is gas. Ever put pressure into your lower body on the entry to the first turn and just rip one? I simply don’t have the skill to complete that throw well. So maybe I am just pissed that you can get away with it and have fun. Darn you to hell!!!

  7. I will simply disagree with you in regards to finding things that each event, each sport has in common. My meaning wasn’t that training to be a distance runner would help the hammer. It has more to do with my personal experience that some things done for one event, may, help another. I have two rather long stories about this kind of thing.

    I was going to be a physics and chemistry high school teacher at one time. So, I took lots of science in school. My main gripe with the way science is taught is that it is broken up. Chemistry is taught separate from Physics and Biology. Almost as if there is no correlation between the three. And in my mind, as I was learning these theories and Laws, I cataloged and memorized and kept the three fields of study apart. Physics was easiest. I could see many of the principles in action. I could “see” friction, and force, and feel acceleration. Could see constructive and destructive waves, could feel static charges, see a laser bounce from mirror to mirror. But Chemistry was different. The interactions of atoms, electron shells, all seemed so different. Avogadro’s’ number seemed like too many zeros in smallness. But I had one class that gave me a Eureka moment, or A-Ha as I tell my athletes. It was called Physical Chemistry. It was the first time that I was told the connections that Physics and Chemistry actually had with one another. And that A-ha, made me think of the connections between Organic Chemistry and Biology. The point being, though the connections always existed, because the way it was taught to me as I went through high school and college, I did not for myself, put 2 + 2 together until one class in my junior year.

    My last story is about my adventure in the learning of something completely different from throwing. For about 3 years I studied Chen Taijiquan, or Tai Chi for me when I first started. Now, I learned something interesting after spending a few months doing these arm movements, and shifting weight, and sinking into my root, and lots of other things.

    My teacher spoke to us one night about the proper stance to use that was balanced and could handle a range of activities. Blocking, attacking, countering, dodging completely. And this is what he told the class. If you stand erect, feet shoulder width apart and toes and heels aligned and sink into your butt a little and someone was to push you at the shoulder, from either side, you would be able to hold your ground. Unmoving. But if you hold the same position, and were pushed at the chest. You would be easy to knock over or at least forced to take a step back. If you were to stand erect, with one foot in front of the other, again with approximately shoulder width, sink into your butt a bit, and I reversed the above pushing. At the chest you would be able to withstand, at the shoulder you would tip. So, what did the Chen masters, and many other Arts from all over the world decide was a better way to stand, for a general stance. To allow blocking and striking, to give a sense of balance? It looks exactly like the power position for shot, which is similar to the one for the discus, which is again close to the one batters use in baseball.

    I am not trying to convince you of anything. Merely trying to clarify my own words. I appreciate both you and Walter as fellow throwers, who are passionate about what you do, and look forward to reading your blogs. In a world full of basketball, football and lacrosse players, having a way to connect to the other men and women that wield medieval weapons in this age of ipods is truly refreshing. Now lets go throw something far already. All this talking make Hulk MAD!!!!

  8. Thanks for commenting and taking the time to look at our blog. Sorry if my comments seemed a little rude. I had just woken up early and was tired, sore and hungry and probably came off not the way I wanted to. I spent two years in Taiwan and saw my fair share of people practicing tai ji, and other energy exercising...it's interesting stuff. Take Care...