The mechanics/dynamics of a hammer throwThe hammer throw has a sequence of steps/turns that a thrower has to transition through seamlessly to achieve their optimum velocity and ground power development. Core strength, balance, and proper timing are essential elements to help in the support of a proper projection of the hammer. Hammer is the only throwing event that doesn’t rely on separation of the lower body and hip girdle. Before you begin, remember safety first. Always throw the hammer from the hammer cage, which is a semi-enclosed netted cage similar to a discus cage, but much taller with moveable doors. These doors secure the landing area for wild, unexpected release angles and early or late releases of the throw. There are special throwing shoes available or find a shoe with a flat sole that allows you to spin easily and quickly. These shoes are referred to as rotational throwing shoes. If you throw shot put or discus, you can use the same shoe. It also requires a hammer glove for the non-dominant hand. For example, if you are right-handed, you will need a left-handed glove.
Hammer throwing jargon
- The Grip: Use your non-dominant hand to grip the handle for support and strength. Your dominant hand is placed over the gloved hand to provide control and to “push” or accelerate the implementation throughout the throw.
- The Wind: The purpose of the wind is to help generate momentum and create the high/low point of the throw. The norm is usually two winds, but there is no restriction. Find what works for you. The goal is to create momentum that you can control and accelerate throughout the throw.
- The Entry: This is known as the “push” phase. This phase allows you to begin the initial technical movements of the throw.
Body positions considerations:
- Shoulders should be relaxed, this maximizes the length of the hammer
- Movement of the head should stay in line with the spine
- Keep hips and knees together as a unit
- Feet should remain in contact with the circle until moving into the “catch” or work phase
- The Turns: The turns are used to increase the speed of the hammer. Generally, an athlete will do 3 to 4 turns, (a beginner may do 2 to 3 turns prior to release). You want to make sure the body is balanced with both feet strongly gripping the ground. We recommend being able to complete 10 turns correctly and consecutively before trying to complete the throw with a full release. A turn is a heel/toe combination on the non-dominant/block side foot, while a toe turn is performed on the dominant/power foot side. The movement goes from 0 degrees to 180 degrees from heel to toe, once the heel turn gets to 180 degrees the dominant side foot will “catch” by moving across the middle of the non-dominant foot (across the shoelaces) and attack the ground with the ball of the dominant foot. Both feet will then perform and toe turn returning to 0 degrees. Zero degrees is at the back of the circle or the starting point of the base.
- The Finish: When the hammer is released out of the hands over the non-dominant side shoulder. Essentially it is released just prior to the “High Point” of the orbit created throughout the throw.
Your distance of the hammer depends on:
- The angle at which the hammer is being released
- The height at which is released
- The speed at which it has been thrown (most important)
The Hammer Parts:Understanding the hammer parts helps you choose the right hammer. The make-up of a hammer is divided into three parts. The hammer contains a ball, a wire, and a handle. Each part is replaceable allowing the athlete to maintain their throw equipment easily.
The Hammer HeadThe hammer ball is a solid round made of stainless steel or turned iron and are lead filled. The ball is similar in size to a shot put. It contains a strong and easy turning swivel mechanism. This allows the Hammer Wire to attach to the head of the hammer. The smallest diameter ball is the most beneficial due to aerodynamics.
The Hammer WireThe hammer wire is made of steel or aluminum that the athlete will twist together to provide a loop at one end to the designated length. It is made of steel because it will hold its length and will not stretch out. It comes in a variety of lengths from 37 ½ inches up to 40 ¾ inches. The diameter of the ball will determine the length of wire required for proper weigh-in measurements. The hammer wire is the middle part that attaches to the ball and the handle.
The Hammer HandleThe hammer handle can come in a straight or curved design. Either design works well. It just depends on the athlete’s hand size and what they feel comfortable with. Although all hammers come with a handle and a wire, sometimes throwers need a replacement handle, or simply prefer the feel of another handle. Remember to be “legal” at meets the athlete’s needs to measure the length from the bottom of the ball to the inside grip of the handle. Once you have this all figured out, you will want to set performance goals. Training by professional coaches is the best way to help you achieve your goals. ThrowsLab’s coaching and its throwing camps are great ways to discover the science behind the throw, learn proper drill mechanics and improve your throwing technique, and get better results by fixing some common mistakes. Our camps are designed to accelerate your throwing progress. The hammer throw is one of the four throwing events in regular track and field competitions, along with the discus throw, shot put, and javelin at the collegiate level. Adding the hammer event to a throws athlete’s repertoire provides you with a cutting edge if you plan to compete at the collegiate level. The hammer event is not normally offered at the high school level.
What Makes ThrowsLab’s Hammer Throwing Camp Different?Our hammer throwing camp features a coach-to-athlete ratio of 7:11, guaranteeing plenty of one-on-one attention for each athlete. The large number of coaches at throws camps enables them to work with every skill level equally. Our coaches are the best in the game, with the record to prove it: you’ll find ThrowsLab athletes in podium spots from USATF, Junior Olympics, and State, Section and League Championships. Our coaches have tremendous qualifications, but their results are what make our camps exceptional.
ThowsLab’s hammer throwing coaching and small group trainingThrowsLab offers private coaching for the athlete who benefits from a more individualized training approach. Our one-on-one coaching sessions include many training benefits:
- An in-depth analysis and breakdown of your overall technique.
- Video Analysis to get a better understanding of how you can improve.
- Adjustments during the session that can help your technique immediately.
- Drills and Exercises to work on at home to improve your performance
Frequently asked questions about ThrowsLab Hammer Camps
A ThrowsLab camp offers a balance of drills and throwing. The order is usually drills, lunch, then throwing. We make adjustments as-needed, depending on the format and time of year.
Yes. Not having throwing shoes isn’t ideal but still manageable to learn the technique, drills, and movements. We provide other equipment in limited quantities for ThrowsLab camps. You can also buy equipment from ThrowsLab at the camp or our online store.
Bring a hammer, throwing shoes, water bottle, and a towel to dry off implements just in case it’s necessary.
No. There are usually local places to eat lunch or you can bring food. There is an an hour for lunch each day at ThrowsLab camps.
We are very committed to keeping our coach-to-athlete ratio as small as possible. Our goal is no more than a 7:1 ratio. This means every athlete gets a ton of one-on-one instruction, but we’re also able to attend to a broad range of skill levels.