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General Training Handles & Cages Weights Periodisation Females Young Athletes History
in Training, Young Athletes
- added 18 Mar, 2014
by MaFt - no comments
Toe turn or Heel turn when introducing the hammer event to an athlete? One coach’s view.


It is an understatement to suggest that the hammer throw has it’s share of anecdotally based “best practice” training approaches among the world wide coaching community and the choice of teaching hammer throwers the heel turn rather than the toe turn is certainly not an exception. However, when one considers the data driven research comparing the heel vs. toe turn, it is in fact the toe turn that becomes the clear best practice choice for coaches to use in training their hammer throwers. Even when one considers mankind’s evolution, humans step forward on the ball of the foot, not backward on the heel. Arguably, current world record holder Yuriy Sedykh may have been able to throw 90M if he used a toe turn.

Accordingly, hammer coach, bio mechanist trainer-consultant, and author of numerous hammer throw manuscripts, Mike Morley, will describe in detail why teaching toe turn to hammer throwers is the preferred best practice. He includes an in depth overview of the toe turns preferred biomechanical and psychomotor adaptations of modern physics and explains why the historical preoccupation of using drills associated with heel turns compromise the throwers technique and their results potential.

In this episode, Morley goes on to explain the evolution of the original thinking and application of heel turns, and imparts his concerns for the illogic in perpetuating its use in modern times despite the prevalence of best practices which argue for the use of the toe turn instead. He chronicles some of the earliest references to hammer throwers who pioneered the toe turn while noting their great success as early as 1950. He then goes on to explain in both detail and illustration, the mechanical advantages that the toe turn imparts to hammer radius, hammer head speed, the single and double support phases and the overall benefits to the throwers left axis of rotation. In particular he dedicates an entire chapter to challenge advocates in favor of using the heel turn by reminding the reader that the application and use of the multitude of heel turn ‘drills’ have absolutely no performance benefit or transfer of training to the required end result of the throw. Morley goes further to explain that in order to achieve the preferred hammer positions and subsequent movements, the toe turn better provides the necessary positive effects imparted to the athlete’s motor, rotary, and balance during each turn. Morley concludes this edition with summary accounts of technical research from both his own work and experience and that of leading contemporary coaches and throwers of the modern era who have unequivocally demonstrated the substantial benefits of applying the toe turn in the hammer technique.


Download: Toe turn or Heel turn when introducing the hammer event to an athlete? One coach’s view