World class coaches and athletes highlight European Discus and Hammer Conference

Tore Gustafsson

Renowned hammer coach Tore Gustafsson was one of the keynote speakers at the European Discus and Hammer Conference in Vaxjo, Sweden. Photo credit: DECA Text & Bild

Some 90 coaches, including 60 from abroad, travelled to the  Swedish High Performance Centre for Throwing Events in Vaxjo from 16-18 November for the European Discus and Hammer Conference 2018, part of the European Coaching Summit Series.

Among the attendees were a number of well-known names including former international medalists in global championships who are nowadays involved in the coaching set-up in their respective countries. ”We were very happy with the number of attendees,” head of the Swedish High Performance for Throwing Events Anders Axlid said.

Keynote speakers included Vésteinn Hafsteinsson in the discus and Tore Gustafsson in the hammer. They ran both practical and theoretical sessions about the technical development of throwers, and also sessions about planning of training for their respective events.   

Models for the practical sessions were local elite throwers such as world and European discus silver medallist Daniel Stahl and teammate Simon Pettersson, and Olympic hammer bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon. The practical session in the discus was held in Tipshallen in Vaxjo, an indoor facility in Vaxjo for throwing on a full-sized field.

Other speakers included retired 2000 Olympic and 2001 world hammer Szymon Ziolkowski from Poland who talked about his career and the current and future status of the hammer throw while Frenchman Jérome Simian who talked about the training and career of Olympic discus silver medallist Mélina Robert-Michon.

Former British throwing international-turned coach Shaun Pickering from Great Britain presented his thoughts about the biomechanics of the discus and hammer based on the research done at the IAAF World Championships in London in 2017. Jesper Augustsson of the Linneus University presented recent scientific findings in the area of strength training related to the throwing events.

During the evenings, all speakers were available for anybody to discuss or ask questions. ”That gave everybody a chance to ask more personal questions,” Axlid said.