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What Ben Hawkes wishes he knew as a hammer throw athlete

Hammer Throw: Things I Wish I Knew


For this blog, Neuff asked me to divulge what I wish I knew about the hammer throw growing up. It was hard to think about this, as I feel that my views are a product of things I once didn’t know but now do. Because of this, I would hold different ideas had I known those things previously. However, I thought of some broader, big-picture things I might have wanted to realise a bit sooner. Here goes:

Motivational quote for athletes


Finding the balance is so often talked about in athletics and sport in general, but I do think it’s misunderstood a lot of the time. 

Balance can look different for different people, and finding what works best for you as an individual is a hugely enriching process, which provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about yourself. Pushing your limits in any domain will stretch your emotional, attentional and material resources to a point at which something has to give, and it’s not until you reach that point that you can really understand what drives you in life and what feeds your soul. 

I think this perspective has allowed me to better allocate my time, attention and energy. I have grown into adulthood, and my sporting endeavours have become much more enjoyable. Understand what gets you out of bed, create and iterate systems that serve those purposes and go at it like there’s no tomorrow.

Motivational quote for throws athletes


Perhaps related to that last point around balance, I wish I had understood the basic training principle of progressive overload and how adaptations to training differ as people grow.

Looking back, I think I would have structured my physical prep training differently and approached the throw itself differently, looking to build feeling and connection rather than throwing as far as I could all the time. This works when you’re an early developing kid with long levers, but less so in the senior ranks. If I had my time again, I’d look for long-term progress over short-term wins.

Track and Field athletes training together


Where this is concerned, I would have probably made more of an effort to make the most of the social side of the sport and got closer with the people I’ve met along the way. I think, at times, I was quite insular and didn’t put myself in those social situations, which is definitely something I’d change. I wish I’d known how transient those times could be and made more of that side of things.

Hammer Throw athlete in cage


It’s actually quite challenging to pin down any more things I wish I knew. To be honest, I don’t think I would have learned what I have about the sport if my knowledge at the beginning was different. I think it would be interesting to experience someone else’s journey through the sport and understand their biggest learnings.

All of the above aside, however, I doubt I'd change too much!


Ben Hawkes Hammer Thrower

Ben is a hammer thrower who competes internationally for Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is also a sport massage therapist and strength and conditioning coach.

He has been writing content and producing videos for us for over a year, and his content focuses on hammer throwing tips and strength & conditioning guides for your athletic training!

Instagram: @benhawkes1

Twitter: @ben_hawkes1

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