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The Most Complicated Disciplines in Athletics?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by El Toro View Post
    Most events aren't even in the race

    Any event that happens in a straight line is easier than one with a rotational element. That eliminates running, hurdles and horizontal jumps straight away.
    I don't get this. First of all, the JT is in a straight line, and any 'rotation' involved is the arm action, why is that so much harder than TJ which is also in a straight line and its rotational element is getting those darned legs hoppin' and a skippin'? The timing, balance and co-ordination is just as tough if not tougher in the TJ IMO, and add to that the take-off board element.

    You also see far more aborted TJ's than JTs, which is very telling: it's bloody hard to get right.


    Originally posted by El Toro View Post

    Between the discus and javelin, the discus is easier because of its rythmic elements and (mostly) single plane movement relative to the body. That leaves javelin as the hardest throw.
    .
    I'm not sure I agree with that either!
    I also think mastering the timing of the DT with a cage involved adds another layer of complexity. And the spinning, the damn spinning. Anything where you have your target or finish in your line of sight is easier than when that's disrupted by turning, spinning, rotating, or being upside down.


    The PV has to be up there, and not only are you mastering an implement and how to use that implement effectively, you're also upside down! Anything where you aren't the right way up, and are having to do something technical - see gymnastics, diving - and where you cannot see where you need to end up, has to be one of the most difficult and technical things any human being can do.

    For me, the PV wins hands down! Then it's the DT.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by El Toro View Post
      JT for the win!
      No. Look at how far Bolt threw a javelin just for _hits and giggles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf98baVDEhM

      There's no way anybody's pole vaulting that comparably well without specific and significant training in it. And then there's Julius Yego who coached himself from newbie to world class in the javelin. Nobody's ever done that in the pole vault since the introduction of flexible poles.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by El Toro View Post
        PV has a rotational element but it is in the same plane as the run up and is a natural consequence of the run up and take off, which are relatively straightforward. This gives it a lot of similarities with with LJ and TJ where take off speed is a major contributor to the outcome. In pole vault, around 4m of a 6m jump is attributable to the take off speed (~10m/s, McGinnis, P.M.). This still leaves the vaulter with a fair bit of work to do but that work builds off a significant base.
        HA! You left out virtually ALL of the technical difficulties of the event.
        Take-off speed has nothing to do with mastering the event, just going high.
        The takeoff is NOT a natural consequence of the run-up; the take-off can be ATROCIOUS at the perfect speed.
        There are 20 (made-up number, probably higher) moving pieces to the PV, any one of which will make for a bad jump.
        Have you ever seen an elite PVer do a run-through or bail the jump? Yes, you have; it happens all the time. I rarely see elite JTers abort or shank a throw.
        Javelin isn't even close!

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Atticus View Post
          HA! You left out virtually ALL of the technical difficulties of the event.
          Take-off speed has nothing to do with mastering the event, just going high.
          The takeoff is NOT a natural consequence of the run-up; the take-off can be ATROCIOUS at the perfect speed.
          There are 20 (made-up number, probably higher) moving pieces to the PV, any one of which will make for a bad jump.
          Have you ever seen an elite PVer do a run-through or bail the jump? Yes, you have; it happens all the time. I rarely see elite JTers abort or shank a throw.
          Javelin isn't even close!
          Agree with Atticus. Having been a LJ/TJ'er and dabbled a few times at PV, I can say IMO that PV is nothing remotely close to LJ/TJ.

          And as difficult as the TJ can be to master, still way easier than PV.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Atticus View Post
            I will tell you from personal exp in the Dec that the JT is WAAAAAY harder than it looks. Chuck a spear; how hard can that be? Very.
            It's nothing like throwing a baseball or even a football, which we all grew up doing. I never fully mastered the whole throw-it-thru-the-point thing, though I had good form in the SP and decent form in the DT. The HT looks like it's 'just' a timing thing and with enough reps, anyone with normal strength could look like they know what they doing.
            I had a 6'2/220 linebacker who could throw a football 60y while on one knee (not kidding!), so I brought a Jav to practice and spent a couple of days with him, and he refused to try any more, because it was so different from anything he knew.
            This is interesting. About a decade ago, a baseball player at my school tried out for a track team and threw javelin for a season. I don't remember his marks, but good enough to be accepted by the team. I guess he had some experience in HS, or maybe he was a natural. And as 18.99s pointed out, Yego taught himself JT by watching YouTube videos. I cannot imagine anyone learning DT or HT by watching YouTube.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Atticus View Post
              Kids take to the 100/110H pretty readily. The 300/400H takes longer, because they have to be proficient with both legs.
              I marvel at 3000St-ers, not because of the unforgiving barrier (it's only a 300/400H high), but because of the energy expended in the middle of an EFFIN distance run to get over the barriers. My hat's off to them!
              This thing about alternate leg makes sense. Some 400 hurdlers probably wouldn't look as awkward if they were always hurdling with the same leg.
              About 3000SC, I remember Stuart Storey always talking about the poor hurdling technique of most runners. But maybe he should have been a bit less critical.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by TN1965 View Post

                This is interesting. About a decade ago, a baseball player at my school tried out for a track team and threw javelin for a season. I don't remember his marks, but good enough to be accepted by the team. I guess he had some experience in HS, or maybe he was a natural. And as 18.99s pointed out, Yego taught himself JT by watching YouTube videos. I cannot imagine anyone learning DT or HT by watching YouTube.
                My very unathletic husband played Little League until he was 14 or so. He tried javelin a few times and could throw 100' or so no problem. He tried pole vault and got over like 5 or 6 feet (and he's 6'5" tall, it was very ugly). Obviously being a _good_ javelin thrower is not easy, but I think it is fairly intuitive for some people, moreso than discus or hammer ever could be.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by TN1965 View Post
                  This thing about alternate leg makes sense. Some 400 hurdlers probably wouldn't look as awkward if they were always hurdling with the same leg.
                  They may LOOK awkward, but there are no style points in the 400H. I learned early that it was far better to take a hurdle at full speed with whatever leg presented itself than to stutter to get the right lead-leg.
                  Kerron Clements was the poster boy for the consequences of being married to one leg. If he was in shape to 13 all the way, he was unbeatable. Unfortunately when he couldn't get 13, it got really ugly . . . and slow.
                  As I recall, Sandra Farmer-Patrick had some rough technique, essentially no proper trail leg, causing her to sky many hurdles, but she kept her speed well and won lots of big races.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by 18.99s View Post
                    No. Look at how far Bolt threw a javelin just for _hits and giggles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf98baVDEhM

                    There's no way anybody's pole vaulting that comparably well without specific and significant training in it. And then there's Julius Yego who coached himself from newbie to world class in the javelin. Nobody's ever done that in the pole vault since the introduction of flexible poles.
                    Bolt's throw = javelin thrower running 10.6 and proving how easy it is to be world class, when a non-specialist is only 1 second behind Bolt.

                    Yego coached himself to mid-70m throws only - a long way from world class. After that he got a scholarship to train with Petterie Piironen in Kuortane as did Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed from Egypt. It was this coaching expertise that really moved them to world class, not fucking youtube. But the truth is not really an exciting story about the internet for the gullible.


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                      HA! You left out virtually ALL of the technical difficulties of the event.
                      Take-off speed has nothing to do with mastering the event, just going high.
                      The takeoff is NOT a natural consequence of the run-up; the take-off can be ATROCIOUS at the perfect speed.
                      There are 20 (made-up number, probably higher) moving pieces to the PV, any one of which will make for a bad jump.
                      Have you ever seen an elite PVer do a run-through or bail the jump? Yes, you have; it happens all the time. I rarely see elite JTers abort or shank a throw.
                      Javelin isn't even close!
                      It wasn't a thesis and I left out a whole lot of detail on the javelin as well. Anyway, you do see JTers abort throws when they step over the line after missing that dollar coin target and throw a crap distance. It's just an inherent difference in the events.

                      There are 20 (made up number) things in the 100m which will make a bad run according to sprint coaches and that's just putting one foot after the other. Every event is hard to be elite and has it's own complexities.

                      Like you, I've done all the events at a lap or less and all jumps and throws and coached them all, from school kids through to a couple of internationals. I can't say I love all the events equally but I have enough battle scars to have a good idea of their relativities.

                      The hardest event technically was the javelin but the hardest psychologically was the PV. Most technical failure in PV were not due to the inherent complexity, it was down to athletes being scared, backing off and causing the thing they feared the most. You'd know the type. However, those who had natural aggression and a give it a go attitude developed the technique more easily.

                      The determining factor for me is that the number of vaults actually done in training is so small compared to throws in javelin. Again, an inherent difference in events. However, if vaulters can develop world class technique like Mondo off so few lifetime repetitions compared to Zelzny, it can't be THAT hard, can it?



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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by El Toro View Post
                        Most technical failure in PV were not due to the inherent complexity, it was down to athletes being scared, backing off and causing the thing they feared the most.
                        That is true, but as a coach I am much more scared by the macho-boys, who try to 'grip it and rip it' and end up missing the pit because they insist on too small or too big a pole. They get to sit and watch the others for the rest of practice.
                        We can agree to disagree on this. There's plenty of difficulties associated with many events (except the 100, where it IS literally one foot in front of another. To run a sub-10? That's a different story).

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by El Toro View Post
                          Bolt's throw = javelin thrower running 10.6 and proving how easy it is to be world class, when a non-specialist is only 1 second behind Bolt.
                          Bolt's throw = a sprinter with no PV coaching picking up a pole and vaulting 14 feet. Never happened, never gonna happen.

                          Yego coached himself to mid-70m throws only - a long way from world class. After that he got a scholarship to train with Petterie Piironen in Kuortane as did Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed from Egypt.
                          He brought himself to the point where world class was within his grasp. In the pole vault you don't even reach basic competence like 13 feet without coaching. Or if you do somehow coach yourself to that level without killing yourself, it's going to take several months to years, not just randomly picking up a pole one day for $hits and giggles like what Bolt did with the javelin.
                          Last edited by 18.99s; 02-18-2021, 03:32 PM.

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                          • #28
                            I could coach almost anyone to be a proficient javelin thrower, with distance limited only by their actual physical strength, etc.

                            Discus? Ha, not so easy, even with the best of athletic specimens.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by gm View Post
                              Discus? Ha, not so easy, even with the best of athletic specimens.
                              And yet there are 14yo girls with excellent form. I have yet to see a 14yo girl with very good PV form. Even the best are not close to being technically proficient.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                                And yet there are 14yo girls with excellent form. I have yet to see a 14yo girl with very good PV form. Even the best are not close to being technically proficient.
                                I was only comparing JT and DT.
                                PV is still the most complex (and deadly) in my opinion.

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