A summary of throws innovations 5-10:
The number 4 throwing innovation is the placement of the hammer head in relation to the athlete’s body. In terms of breaking the 80 m barrier in the hammer throw (which Boris Zaitchouk achieved in 1978), this was most likely the technical change which contributed to these farther distances. The idea that the hammer needs to be ‘pushed’ by the athlete was once a foreign concept, however, it is now adopted as a definite rule of technique.
Top researchers such as Bondarchuk and Bartonietz have commented on this concept. The correct positioning of the hammer head relative to the body is vital for maximal acceleration of the hammer (leading to a further throw). When Zaitchouk threw over 80 m for the first time, we could see that he was able to keep his arms long and relaxed, with the hammer wire perpendicular to his shoulders. Many top throwers who have continued to employ this technique, with superior results to those athletes who drag the hammer behind them. Although the concept is relatively easy to understand, for novice throwers it can be extremely difficult to master (dragging the hammer can manifest itself as bent arms, or turning the body ahead of the hammer). It is one of the major technical points, which separates the low-level athletes from the top hammer throwers. Since this point is so important to the proper performance of the hammer throw, and produces a dichotomy between levels of throwing quality, it is the number 4 throws innovation.