Beginning the Hammer Throw: A Practical Guide
By Ben Hawkes, Hammer Throw Athlete
Bringing a novice into the hammer throw can be a daunting process for an inexperienced coach. However, getting an athlete (or yourself) to perform a three-turn throw within one or two sessions should be relatively easy.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to get your athletes set up:
HAMMER TECHNIQUE AND TRAINING
PICKING UP THE HAMMER
If you're right handed, you will want to pick up the hammer with your left hand. Your right hand will then go on top of the hammer, and if you have a glove, you will want this on your left hand (the bottom hand) If you're left handed, you'll do exactly the same, but with opposite hands instead!
WINDING YOUR HAMMER
Ensure you have straight arms when the ball is in front of you. When the ball reaches your back, you'll then need to bend your arms.
Relax your arms, especially when the ball is in front of you. Let the hammer take the ball behind and have a strong torso, so that there's very little movement from your hips to your shoulders.
PERFORMING A STANDING THROW
Push the ball when it's on the right hand side of your body (for right handed throwers, do the opposite if left handed). As it comes in front of you, turn your feet and let go. Don't accelerate it once it's gone past the middle of your body!
When it's time to progress and add turns to the mix, perform a standing throw as you normally would and pivot on the left heel, as opposed to just coming up on your toes and standing up.
Try and have as much weight as much possible on your left hand side, over the left heel.
PRACTISING YOUR FOOTWORK
Turn on the heel of the left foot towards the sector. Once you're facing the sector, move on to the toe and let the right hand side of your body come around, and land facing away from the sector.
For coaches, a good way of teaching athletes this is by getting them to pause on each quarter of the turn (watch my video for a better idea!).
Then link it together and do three turns without the ball or any implement. Once you're comfortable with this, move on and do it with the implement instead. Don't throw the ball far, as it's not about distance at this stage!
You can look at Neuff’s selection of hammers and hammer accessories here!