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hammer; hammer
Topic Started: Mar 22 2012, 10:12 AM (278 Views)
richard holt


Rob Earl provides an overview of the technique for throwing the hammer.

For safety purposes the event takes place in a cage with moveable doors to accommodate left and right handed throwers. The throwing circle measure 2.135m in diameter and is either single use or concentric within a discus circle. The hammer is a steel ball attached to a wire via a spindle inserted into the ball and the wire is attached to a steel handle. A specialist fingerless leather glove is used to give protection whilst the athlete holds the hammer handle and specialist shoes are used to assist in reducing friction and gaining maximum speed whilst turning with the hammer.

The components of the throw

The following explanations is for a right handed thrower.

The grip

The athlete's left hand, wearing the glove, grips the handle and the right hand is then placed inside the handle on top of the left hand.

The swings

The athlete stands at the rear of the circle [12 o'clock] feet parallel, with back towards the throwing sector [6 o'clock]. The preliminary swings are used to commence momentum of the throw.

The athlete in general uses two swings, but more or less can be used. The swing starts from behind the right side of the body, taking the hammer forward away from the body and over the head. This will achieve a low point of the hammer ball in front of the body [12 o'clock] and a high point behind [6 o'clock].

The entry

At the end of the swings the athlete is about to enter the turning phase. With the hammer directly in front of the thrower, the low point, the turns commence. The shoulders are relaxed, head passive, trunk engaged, knees and hips flexed, feet remaining in contact with the circle. The hammer is pushed to the left and the turns are started.

The turns

The number of turns performed is a personal choice, but in general 3 or 4 are used. These are a series of movements performed to increase the speed of the hammer using balance through the feet, and power from the legs and hips. The feet are working together throughout the throw.

The right foot is turned through the toes and the left foot through the heel. At 6 o'clock once the right foot has completed its movement, it is lifted off the circle, with a driving action from the right knee. The right hip rotates up, back and around with the right foot touching down onto the circle at approximately 3 o'clock. The hammer is then accelerated by force transferred from the continually rotating right foot through the knees and hips to the downward path of the hammer back to the low point [12 o'clock]. Please note, force can only be applied to the hammer ball when both feet are in contact with the circle and hammer ball on its downward path. The left foot continues to turn throughout and maintains contact with the circle. The upper body remains in a passive position, shoulders relaxed with straight arms. At the low point [12 o'clock] the next turn is started.

The following diagram provides a side on view of the path of the hammer ball and movement across the circle through each turn to release.

The delivery

After the turns performed by the thrower have accelerated the hammer head to its maximal velocity, the thrower now stays with both feet in contact with the circle but still rotating and, at the same time, extending through ankles, knees and hips to drive the hammer upward and out to a position opposite the low point, known as the high point, at which point the hammer is released. In the drive upward the feet are pointing at "9 o'clock" and the left side of the body is blocked.

Heel-Toe Turn Footwork

After the preliminary swings start the turn on the heel of the left foot and the ball of the right foot. As the hammer ball passes "9 o'clock" lift the right foot off the ground and rotate on the outside of the left foot. As the hammer ball approaches "6 o'clock" shift the left foot onto the ball of the foot. The right foot is put down on the ground as the hammer ball reaches "3 o'clock". For the remaining part of the turn, from "3 o'clock" to "12 o'clock", be on the balls of both feet. When the hammer ball reaches "12 o'clock" the left foot shifts onto the heel and the next turn commences.


Although the description given of the components of the throw are separately headed it is important to remember that the throw should be viewed as a series of continual movement processes to create maximal velocity and distance.


The weight specification for the hammer depends on your gender and age.








3 kg

4 kg

5 kg

6 kg

7.26 kg


3 kg

3 kg

4 kg

4 kg

4 kg
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