The value of using sound as a training and coaching tool


#1

Does anyone pay attention to or use sound as a technique or motivalional tool for throwing or pitching?

I am now an ancient 52 years old Olympic athlete and World Record holder that has thrown millions of times over my life time as a javelin thrower. I still throw 2000 to 3000 throws a week even now with med balls (1kg /two handed) and other weighted and non weighted throwing balls (600gram to 2oz / single handed).
The majority of my throws are done against a wall in the basketball court or the racketball court.
I noticed years ago the sound the ball would make when hitting the wall and how it related with the throw. The more relaxed the throw and better position I got the louder the thud or higher the pitch of the ball made hitting the wall. I wasn’t concerned with the distance I was throwing or even the speed of release. I just worked on rthymn, position and sound. Without distractions I could focus on the “feel” of the throw and then connect that with the sound I made. When I could get into a good rythmn and good position I could generate a great “impact sound” which was helpful and motivatinig.

On Monday I finished up my workout with 100 racketball throws. Even at 52 years old now I got into a really good rthymn and was ripping the hell out of the racketball: Take a look and “listen” to my last 10 throws:


#2

YES! Sound is extremely important for me. The ball definitely makes a different sound striking the mitt (in general) when I get in the right position and stay loose and fluid. I feel like it is such an important piece of feedback that I find it’s almost like I’m throwing “blind” when my throwing partner has an old or particularly soft mitt that doesn’t “pop” no matter how hard you throw it. If you learn to rely on sound as part of the feedback for each rep and suddenly that is taken away, it does have an effect on the benefit you get from your throws, especially if you look at each throw as a sort of “calibration” process, where you are trying to hone a specific motor pattern to achieve maximal efficiency and repeatability.

By the way, I would love to talk more about your training and the mechanics involved in a javelin throw. There are a ton of similarities as I’m sure you realize between pitching and javelin. I notice the turning in of your back foot as you counter-rotate your upper half to create maximum torque - I do this in my delivery quite intentionally and it helps create significantly more power for me. Your overall rhythm and and connectivity is also very good and similar to a high level pitcher - everything flows from the bottom up and is harnessed into rotation at the smallest segments.


#3

Lankylefty,
anytime you want to discuss the similarities and differences with training technique with regards javelin and pitching I am game…
:smiley:


#4

Can you give us an idea of how you or other elite javelin throwers train? Throwing and lifting routines? Number of throws? Weighted balls, etc?

A lot of baseball is still in the dark ages with regards to actual physical development, while javelin throwers (and track and field in general) is about constantly pushing physical limits in addition to honing the biomechanics of the event.

Give us a little insight into your training!


#5

If this is THE Arne Roald Bradstock… …then Ben I think you will be very well pleased with the information exchange.

He can throw a golf ball about as far as I can hit a #5 iron. Incredible.


#6

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Can you give us an idea of how you or other elite javelin throwers train? Throwing and lifting routines? Number of throws? Weighted balls, etc? A lot of baseball is still in the dark ages with regards to actual physical development, while javelin throwers (and track and field in general) is about constantly pushing physical limits in addition to honing the biomechanics of the event.
Give us a little insight into your training![/quote]

I train a little differently from other javelin throwers due to my lack of height, spina bifida and relatively slow legs. My focus has always been on technique, sequencing, efficiency (of movement(s)) and conditioning. I believe this is one reason I have never had any shoulder or elbow problems ever, even now at 52. As I have aged my training has changed quite a bit to adjust for my aging body and age related restrictions and limitations which a lot of athletes do not do.
In my prime - 20’s - I did 20% conditioning and 80% specific, now in my 50’s it is 80% conditioning and 20% specific.
I have always believed in throwing year round - at different intensities, but always throw, never more then 10 days max between throwing sessions. I also believe this another reason I have never got injured.

Javelin throwers as a very general rule throw 2 / 3 times a week 30 to 50+ throws, med balls ( 3 to 5kg + 100 to 200+) and bound several times per week plus running, sprints etc. And of course weights several times a week with a focus on Olympic lifts - jerks, snatch ( narrow and wide grip) cleans and pullovers and lat pulls. Basically the entire focus is on getting the body to be explosive and reactive.
Interesting, while todays throwers are amazing athletes and far stronger then throwers of the past the distances have come down. Jan Zelezny, the World Record Holder, was the most amazing technician and is the only person to have combined both rotation with linear speed, hence no one has come within 5 meters of his record which has stood for 18 years now. Javelin throwing technique is in dark ages now. The goal now of throwers is to run as fast as possible, land upright and just try to “hit” the javelin as hard as possible. The result: lower distances and more injuries!!!

My training way back when and even now focuses on volume, pulling and flexibility especially in my shoulder(s) which is the gateway to transferring power and therefore ultimately release velocity. If the shoulder is not conditioned to be able to transfer the energy effectively and efficiently then energy will be lost, resulting in a shorter throw. In addition, extra stress will result in other parts of the body especially the elbow!

In the mid-1980, in my prime when I threw 299ft 10” I weighed 198lbs, bench pressed 400lbs and could hold my hands together – put right thumb in left hand and from the front of my body go all the way to my butt and back again to the front without letting go. I also threw 75m ( 246ft) with a javelin from a stand with a 800g javelin.
The preparation to be able to do this came from several years of throwing 10,000 med balls (6lbs) 3 times a week and lifting 5 days per week and stretching every day.
The med balls I did were against a wall sitting / laying on a bench. I changed the angle – one hole/pin every 1000 throws – so I went from supine to sitting upright.
The weights I focused on: Leg press – high reps / half squat, 50 to 100 reps with up to 600lbs. Bench press, narrow grip, incline, lat pulls and pullovers.
For conditioning I biked and swam almost every day.
As far as throwing: I threw a couple times per week but the majority of the throws where standing throws, as they were far less stressful on my body and I did a lot of golf ball throwing and also threw women’s javelins (600g).

In 2012 I came second in 8th Olympic Trials with a World Record for Masters (over 50). The preparation for this came from three years of progressively increasing my volume of throwing and pulling.
Gym throwing routine – leaning back on exercise ball: 1kg med ball 3000 throws 2 hands then / 800g/600g/400g/200g x 1500 single hand throws. Afterwards I would do a 100 racquetball hits.
Pool routine ( 3 to 4 hours ) alternating freestyle and breast stroke ( approximately 18,000 to 20,000 total pulls)
Stretching 30minute + every day
Weights: Incline bench and incline dumbbells, pullovers, lat pulls, jumps squats, leg press, step-ups, abs 500 to a 1000 reps.
Track workout: Running drills, throwing drills, 1 kg med balls throws (100 before plus 400/500 kneeling after) javelin throwing – standing throws to full runs 40 to 50 total, 50 to 75 standing golf ball throws, single and double leg bounding on tartan or grass depending on active or reactive day.
Cardio/ active recovery: 2 hours stationary bike

Hopefully this gives you some better insight into my world…
:shock: :smiley: :lol:


#7

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Can you give us an idea of how you or other elite javelin throwers train? Throwing and lifting routines? Number of throws? Weighted balls, etc? A lot of baseball is still in the dark ages with regards to actual physical development, while javelin throwers (and track and field in general) is about constantly pushing physical limits in addition to honing the biomechanics of the event.
Give us a little insight into your training![/quote]

I train a little differently from other javelin throwers due to my lack of height, spina bifida and relatively slow legs. My focus has always been on technique, sequencing, efficiency (of movement(s)) and conditioning. I believe this is one reason I have never had any shoulder or elbow problems ever, even now at 52. As I have aged my training has changed quite a bit to adjust for my aging body and age related restrictions and limitations which a lot of athletes do not do.
In my prime - 20’s - I did 20% conditioning and 80% specific, now in my 50’s it is 80% conditioning and 20% specific.
I have always believed in throwing year round - at different intensities, but always throw, never more then 10 days max between throwing sessions. I also believe this another reason I have never got injured.

Javelin throwers as a very general rule throw 2 / 3 times a week 30 to 50+ throws, med balls ( 3 to 5kg + 100 to 200+) and bound several times per week plus running, sprints etc. And of course weights several times a week with a focus on Olympic lifts - jerks, snatch ( narrow and wide grip) cleans and pullovers and lat pulls. Basically the entire focus is on getting the body to be explosive and reactive.
Interesting, while todays throwers are amazing athletes and far stronger then throwers of the past the distances have come down. Jan Zelezny, the World Record Holder, was the most amazing technician and is the only person to have combined both rotation with linear speed, hence no one has come within 5 meters of his record which has stood for 18 years now. Javelin throwing technique is in dark ages now. The goal now of throwers is to run as fast as possible, land upright and just try to “hit” the javelin as hard as possible. The result: lower distances and more injuries!!!

My training way back when and even now focuses on volume, pulling and flexibility especially in my shoulder(s) which is the gateway to transferring power and therefore ultimately release velocity. If the shoulder is not conditioned to be able to transfer the energy effectively and efficiently then energy will be lost, resulting in a shorter throw. In addition, extra stress will result in other parts of the body especially the elbow!

In the mid-1980, in my prime when I threw 299ft 10” I weighed 198lbs, bench pressed 400lbs and could hold my hands together – put right thumb in left hand and from the front of my body go all the way to my butt and back again to the front without letting go. I also threw 75m ( 246ft) with a javelin from a stand with a 800g javelin.
The preparation to be able to do this came from several years of throwing 10,000 med balls (6lbs) 3 times a week and lifting 5 days per week and stretching every day.
The med balls I did were against a wall sitting / laying on a bench. I changed the angle – one hole/pin every 1000 throws – so I went from supine to sitting upright.
The weights I focused on: Leg press – high reps / half squat, 50 to 100 reps with up to 600lbs. Bench press, narrow grip, incline, lat pulls and pullovers.
For conditioning I biked and swam almost every day.
As far as throwing: I threw a couple times per week but the majority of the throws where standing throws, as they were far less stressful on my body and I did a lot of golf ball throwing and also threw women’s javelins (600g).

In 2012 I came second in 8th Olympic Trials with a World Record for Masters (over 50). The preparation for this came from three years of progressively increasing my volume of throwing and pulling.
Gym throwing routine – leaning back on exercise ball: 1kg med ball 3000 throws 2 hands then / 800g/600g/400g/200g x 1500 single hand throws. Afterwards I would do a 100 racquetball hits.
Pool routine ( 3 to 4 hours ) alternating freestyle and breast stroke ( approximately 18,000 to 20,000 total pulls)
Stretching 30minute + every day
Weights: Incline bench and incline dumbbells, pullovers, lat pulls, jumps squats, leg press, step-ups, abs 500 to a 1000 reps.
Track workout: Running drills, throwing drills, 1 kg med balls throws (100 before plus 400/500 kneeling after) javelin throwing – standing throws to full runs 40 to 50 total, 50 to 75 standing golf ball throws, single and double leg bounding on tartan or grass depending on active or reactive day.
Cardio/ active recovery: 2 hours stationary bike

Hopefully this gives you some better insight into my world…
:shock: :smiley: :lol:


#8

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Can you give us an idea of how you or other elite javelin throwers train? Throwing and lifting routines? Number of throws? Weighted balls, etc? A lot of baseball is still in the dark ages with regards to actual physical development, while javelin throwers (and track and field in general) is about constantly pushing physical limits in addition to honing the biomechanics of the event.
Give us a little insight into your training![/quote]

I train a little differently from other javelin throwers due to my lack of height, spina bifida and relatively slow legs. My focus has always been on technique, sequencing, efficiency (of movement(s)) and conditioning. I believe this is one reason I have never had any shoulder or elbow problems ever, even now at 52. As I have aged my training has changed quite a bit to adjust for my aging body and age related restrictions and limitations which a lot of athletes do not do.
In my prime - 20’s - I did 20% conditioning and 80% specific, now in my 50’s it is 80% conditioning and 20% specific.
I have always believed in throwing year round - at different intensities, but always throw, never more then 10 days max between throwing sessions. I also believe this another reason I have never got injured.

Javelin throwers as a very general rule throw 2 / 3 times a week 30 to 50+ throws, med balls ( 3 to 5kg + 100 to 200+) and bound several times per week plus running, sprints etc. And of course weights several times a week with a focus on Olympic lifts - jerks, snatch ( narrow and wide grip) cleans and pullovers and lat pulls. Basically the entire focus is on getting the body to be explosive and reactive.
Interesting, while todays throwers are amazing athletes and far stronger then throwers of the past the distances have come down. Jan Zelezny, the World Record Holder, was the most amazing technician and is the only person to have combined both rotation with linear speed, hence no one has come within 5 meters of his record which has stood for 18 years now. Javelin throwing technique is in dark ages now. The goal now of throwers is to run as fast as possible, land upright and just try to “hit” the javelin as hard as possible. The result: lower distances and more injuries!!!

My training way back when and even now focuses on volume, pulling and flexibility especially in my shoulder(s) which is the gateway to transferring power and therefore ultimately release velocity. If the shoulder is not conditioned to be able to transfer the energy effectively and efficiently then energy will be lost, resulting in a shorter throw. In addition, extra stress will result in other parts of the body especially the elbow!

In the mid-1980, in my prime when I threw 299ft 10” I weighed 198lbs, bench pressed 400lbs and could hold my hands together – put right thumb in left hand and from the front of my body go all the way to my butt and back again to the front without letting go. I also threw 75m ( 246ft) with a javelin from a stand with a 800g javelin.
The preparation to be able to do this came from several years of throwing 10,000 med balls (6lbs) 3 times a week and lifting 5 days per week and stretching every day.
The med balls I did were against a wall sitting / laying on a bench. I changed the angle – one hole/pin every 1000 throws – so I went from supine to sitting upright.
The weights I focused on: Leg press – high reps / half squat, 50 to 100 reps with up to 600lbs. Bench press, narrow grip, incline, lat pulls and pullovers.
For conditioning I biked and swam almost every day.
As far as throwing: I threw a couple times per week but the majority of the throws where standing throws, as they were far less stressful on my body and I did a lot of golf ball throwing and also threw women’s javelins (600g).

In 2012 I came second in 8th Olympic Trials with a World Record for Masters (over 50). The preparation for this came from three years of progressively increasing my volume of throwing and pulling.
Gym throwing routine – leaning back on exercise ball: 1kg med ball 3000 throws 2 hands then / 800g/600g/400g/200g x 1500 single hand throws. Afterwards I would do a 100 racquetball hits.
Pool routine ( 3 to 4 hours ) alternating freestyle and breast stroke ( approximately 18,000 to 20,000 total pulls)
Stretching 30minute + every day
Weights: Incline bench and incline dumbbells, pullovers, lat pulls, jumps squats, leg press, step-ups, abs 500 to a 1000 reps.
Track workout: Running drills, throwing drills, 1 kg med balls throws (100 before plus 400/500 kneeling after) javelin throwing – standing throws to full runs 40 to 50 total, 50 to 75 standing golf ball throws, single and double leg bounding on tartan or grass depending on active or reactive day.
Cardio/ active recovery: 2 hours stationary bike

Hopefully this gives you some better insight into my world…
:shock: :smiley: :lol:


#9

Roald, when you say medicine ball throws, are you talking two or one handed throws? I’m imagining a two-handed overhead throw done reactively against a wall for very high rep to condition the lats.

Are you doing these at max effort or just as a conditioning tool for the shoulders and lats?

I’ve seen video of Zelezny. It mirrors pitching somewhat where we see that movement efficiency is paramount, with strength being only so helpful up to a point of diminishing returns.

Do you have any standing technique drills that might be applicable to pitchers? I like the drill you were performing with the racquetball.

Does your arm ever get sore? Have you ever thrown more than 3 days per week, as pitchers are required to do.

What types of weights were you putting up on lat pulls and pullovers?

What types of rep ranges are we talking for all of these exercises? How did you manage recovery with all this volume you were handling?

Ben


#10

Dino…

Roald is the man.


#11

[quote=“LankyLefty”]Roald, when you say medicine ball throws, are you talking two or one handed throws? I’m imagining a two-handed overhead throw done reactively against a wall for very high rep to condition the lats.

Are you doing these at max effort or just as a conditioning tool for the shoulders and lats?

I’ve seen video of Zelezny. It mirrors pitching somewhat where we see that movement efficiency is paramount, with strength being only so helpful up to a point of diminishing returns.

Do you have any standing technique drills that might be applicable to pitchers? I like the drill you were performing with the racquetball.

Does your arm ever get sore? Have you ever thrown more than 3 days per week, as pitchers are required to do.

What types of weights were you putting up on lat pulls and pullovers?

What types of rep ranges are we talking for all of these exercises? How did you manage recovery with all this volume you were handling?

Ben[/quote]

Med balls are done with two hands.
When I do them at the gym against a wall the intensity level is 70 to 80% max with the focus on volume.
Med balls at the track are max (100%) before throwing javelin and then 75% after - an active cool down.
I do have some stretching, med balls and weighted and under weighted throwing exercises that I believe would be great for pitchers. Sometime soon I will put them all together and post a video(s) on YouTube - just too busy right now.
Believe it or not my arm never gets sore from throwing! My achilles, lower back, left intercostals and right adductor get sore, but my arm - shoulder / elbow - nothing. The only exception is when I am throwing really well and getting what I call a stretch within a stretch like a “double stretch” as I throw my armpit will be a little tender to the touch the following day.
When I was a teenager I threw almost every day, then from 1979 when I was 17 through to mid 80’s I threw on average 4 days per week and often competed 3 days in a row or 3 or even 4 time per week.
With regard the weights I was doing on lats pulls and pullovers:
Age 19 weighing 180lbs I did 250lbs bent arm pullover for a single rep -I was ranked #2 in the World under 20 with a throw of 83.20 ( 273ft+)
Age 23 weighing 198lbs I did 400lbs bench press, 180 staight arm pullover for a single rep and 220(100kg) for 10 reps pullovers and was doing sets of 25 reps lat pull ups with a 25lbs weight jacket - I threw 91.40m (299ft10") that year.
In 2012 aged 50 weighing 194lbs I did 440lbs (200kg) lat pull downs for 15 reps and was doing 150lbs x 10 reps for bent/straight arm pullovers. I broke a 24 year old World Age Record age record by 25 feet and came second in my 8th Olympic Trials!
I used to do single rep maxs when I was younger but now never go below 5/6 reps - just to much risk of injury trying to do singles.
As far as recovery? I am conditioned to throw, throw a lot, throw hard and throw often.
I have found the best active recovery and way to speed up recovery is to swim. It really helps flush out the system.


#12

This is what good umpires will do—rely on their ears as much as anything else. On a play at any base they will listen for the sound of the ball hitting the glove. It’s no accident that they will often be called “blind Toms” but never "deaf Joes."
I remember when I was a little snip and then later on well into my playing days. I would get a catcher and we would set up, often on an unused playing field with that catcher behind the plate with a mitt and a mask and me on the mound, and we would play a game we called “ball and strike”, the objective being to sharpen my control. I would work with all my pitches, and the whole idea was to get the ball smack-dab into the pocket of said catcher’s mitt. What we both listened for was the unmistakeable solid “thwack” of the ball hitting the pocket of that mitt—what a nice satisfying sound that is! The catcher would position his mitt high, low, inside, outside, every which way but standing on his head :lol: , and I would go for that sound. This is one of the best ways to get that control under control!!! 8) :baseballpitcher: