Essay by Wendy Janse van Vuuren, VSAAV Level III

I am going to concentrate on two hammer throwers, Youri Sedykh and Chris Harmse.

 Youri Sedykh                                                    

    Youri Sedykh                                                                          Chris Harmse                    

               Youri Sedykh is a Russian Hammer Thrower who achieved the world record of 86.74 meters in 1986. His record has held for 30 years to date.

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Youri Sedykh done 3 turns in his throwing and starts with his hammer on his right side behind him. Youri pushes the hammer out to his left and uses his power turn on his second turn. Youri also tell about how you must only start at your 0 degree which he is very good at doing. Youri has very good balance and is very stable in his technique. His heel and toe work very well together all the time. Youri also says he never would think of the finish, you just think about the turn. Youri broke most of his records on his first throw. Which I think tells you how stable he was in his technique. Youri has a saying on describing hammer throw he says, “For hammer you need rhythm, very much like waltz. Your partner hammer not human being.”

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Chris Harmse is our very own South African legend. Chris has broken the African record seven times and holds the record for both the African Championships and All African Games. Chris personal best is 80.63 meters which he threw in 2005, he held it for nine years it was broken in 2014.

 Chris Harmse does 4 turns in his throwing, starting on his toe in the first turn, and starts by lifting his hammer over his head. Chris has a very fast start which also makes him have a lot of speed in the circle. Chris has what he calls an active shoulder (drops the shoulder into the turn). This in turn causes you to pull / drag the hammer. His head is also not always in line with the hammer. Chris threw his personal best of 80.63 meters on his second throw. He varied a lot with all his good throws so I might say Chris is not as stable in his technique.

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Hammer Throw is quite a technical item and coaches need to remember that every athlete will develop their own technique in the basics. It’s a lot like every one’s handwriting the same letters but different style of writing.

Hammer Throw takes years and years to learn and become stable in your technique, with a lot of dedication. So if I can point out one difference in Youri Sedykh and Chris Harmse. Youri started hammer throw when he was still a little boy and Chris started a lot later in his 20’s.

My goal as a hammer throw coach is to start with younger hammer throwers at a younger age so they can develop their technique and be more stable when they get to competing age. I would like to start with children at the ages of between 10 and 12 year old, because of starting that young, I will explain to them about understand that they are not at a competing age as yet and will work a lot on technique and will put in mock competitions. I will start training with them with a broom stick, and then once they started grasping the technique of turning I will move them to a plastic hammer. When the athlete is ready then the athlete can move over to a light hammer. Each athlete will differ and progress differently. Take note that their backs are still developing at this age so no gymming. They will do running and lots of co-ordination work, i.e.: jumps, steps, kicking balls between beacons. Work out a lot of different exercises to keep them interested with games. To teach them to learn how to cope with stress, I will do mock competitions as they are still too young to compete. I will also do visualization to teach them how to relax. The most important thing is to do a lot of co-ordination work as that is the biggest problem in our children of today.


DVD Youri Sedykh Hammer Throwing 13 Simple Answers to 13 Hard Problems

Telecom Chris Harmse

Hammer Throw: From the past to the future and BEYOND!