The hammer throw is part of the long tradition of objects being hurled for distance going back thousands of years.
The basic concept is similar to other modern track and field events, throw for distance within a given sector and remain within the confines of the throwing area. In the hammer throw, the circle is 7 feet.
The hammer is a ball with a swivel connected by a wire with a handle. The hammer is 7.26 kilos (16 pounds) for men and 4 kilos (8 pounds 9 ounces) for women. In the United States, the boys throw 5.44 kilos (12 pounds), the women’s hammer is 4 kilos. At the international level, many countries throw lighter hammers as young throwers develop technique.
Proper safety precautions with the hammer throw are always the first concern of any coach. A certified cage with a landing area clear on all sides with markings that restrict access is needed. The hammer doors should always be in the correct settings during training.
When teaching the hammer, the 360 degrees of the circle are used as reference points. 0/360 degrees in the back of the circle, going counter-clock wise, the front of the circle is 180.
Teaching the Hammer Throw
The thrower and hammer will work as one unit, turning together: the thrower-hammer system will always stay aligned for beginning hammer throwers.
Start on the track with the hammer thrower holding a hurdle board or golf club. The thrower will set up with both feet flat, shoulder width apart and knees bent in a quarter squat position.
The bodyweight is either 50/50 or slightly more weight on the left leg.
The left hand grips on the hammer on the last groove of the digits.
Throwers either uses a left handed glove with open fingers or tape. The right hand is placed on top of the left loosely to secure the hammer in place.
When first teaching the hammer throw, use a golf club or top of the hurdle, or some other type of implement that is about 3′-4′ long and light (under 3 pounds).
The thrower will hold the implement straight out from the center of the chest with the shoulders leve. The throwers eyes will be up, looking down the end of the hammer head.
Hammer Throw Teaching Sequence
Turn to 90
The hammer thrower initiates the movement by turning to the left 90 degrees. The bodyweight will shift from flat feet to the left heel and right toe.
Remember, the thrower-hammer system will move together, the hammer head and both feet will face 90 degrees. The hammer head and the eyes of the thrower will also be at 90 degrees.
Both legs will stay bent during the turn to 90 degrees.
The hammer thrower can turn back to the right to 0 degrees slowly and repeat the drill.
Turn to 90, turn to 180
The hammer throwers starts at 0 degrees, the turns to 90 degrees (similar to the previous drill) then pause for two seconds.
Next, the hammer turns on the left heel and right toe to 180 degrees, the hammer head and both feet should be at 180 degrees.
The left foot starts on the heel then as the thrower turns to 180 degrees the left foot moves from the heel to the side of the foot then onto the left toe. The focus should be on the heel to toe action with little emphasis on the side of the foot for beginning hammer throwers.
Perform the previous hammer throw drill without pausing. This drill should be done slowly with the thrower on balance.
Turn to 180, step to 180
After turning to 180, the hammer thrower will pick up the right foot and place it just in front of the left foot.
The right foot should be dorsi-flexed and brought up to above the ankle bone of the left leg; the right foot is toed in and kept close to the left shin.
The right foot is planted at 180 degrees, heel first just in front of the left foot.
The right foot action is the primary focus of the drill. After the hammer thrower learns how to plant the right foot properly, the drill will be advanced to stepping to 270 degrees.
Turn to 180, step to 270
After the hammer thrower turns to 180 degrees and picks up the right foot properly, the thrower will now the plant the right foot at 270 degrees.
To help get the body to 270 degrees, the left foot will turn more aggressively ( heel-side-toe). The entire thrower- hammer system will face 270 degrees.
The right foot will plant flat footed, then the hammer thrower rolls onto the ball of the right foot and turns. The heel strike during the early turns will help keep the thrower in proper position.
Turn to 180, step to 270, turn to 0
In the last sequence for new throwers, the hammer thrower will turn to 0 degrees after pausing at 270. The turn to 0 completes the movement around the circle of the hammer throw.
Lesson one is complete, next we will put the parts together and learn how to turn continuously in part two.