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Charting personal records

Last modified 21Feb02 by Tony Dziepak

Every thrower should keep a log of their personal records in all key measures of their performances: weightlifting maxes, test quadrathlon scores, and meet and practice PR's. But here is a way to analyze and extend those records visually: plot records of various weighted implements in graphs.

For example, in the men's hammer throw, you may have practiced with #12, #14, 6k, #16, #18, and #20-pound hammers. So plot your best distance with each weight, then fit a trendline to see which performances are weaker, and which are stronger. The points under the trendline are relatively weak. This will encourage you to beat those records.

In addition to motivation, these graphs can also be compared to other throwers. Some may have a steeper trend than others. A thrower with a steep line is relatively stronger in the lighter implements. This person is probably relatively weaker, but able to acclerate faster. The thrower with the flatter curve may have better countering positions, or may be stronger. Comparing curves may give throwers more insight as to their strengths and weaknesses.

An example of how to plot these graphs is given in this Excel file. You can replace the sample performances with your own performances. The graphs should change automatically. You can add, change, or delete weights of the implements.

Description of the events: The shot put, hammer throw, and weight throw are standard competitive events thrown with various weighted implements. Other standard events include the discus throw and javelin throw, but I didn't include them here because throwing various weights of these implements is not as common.

Also included are the shortwire hammer. It is common to practice with a heavy, shortwire hammer as sort of an intermediate implement between the hammer and the weight. For more information, see my article on making short wires out of broken hammer wires.

Also included is thse overhead shot throw, a common training event and a test quadrathlon event. Since the distances and weights of the overhead shot throw is close to the shot put, the shot put chart can be copied and used.

Finally, the vertical weight toss is a common "pud" exercise and also a Scottish highland games and strongman event. The height is measured by throwing over a vertical standard. You can use old pole vault standards, or make your own adjustable standards: hang a 2" diameter, 10' long PVC pipe on pegs. For more information, see my article on making vertical standards.

You can make your own charts for discus or javelin, or you can do other exercises, like a javelin ball overhand throw. The one-handed Scottish-style weight throw can use the same chart as the two-handed weight throw, as distances are similar. You may have to adjust the scale of the axes to fit your distance range.

You can select from a number of trendlines. I think that the function that best fits the relationship between the weigth of the implement and the distance thrown is a power function. In general, it is not linear, it is slightly concave.

Finally, I would like to hear your comments about these charts. If you found these charts helpful, I would like for you to show me your results. I am interested in how various throwers at different levels compare on these charts. So please share this information with me. Thanks!

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