The former Trojan thrower tops all freshmen at Texas Relays, finishing 11th overall
AUSTIN, Tx. – John Hicks went to the Lone Star state last weekend to hurl hammers in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Behind only the Penn Relays, the Texas Relays are the 2nd largest track meet in the United States.
For the 3rd consecutive meet John Hicks broke his own Liberty freshman record for the men’s hammer with a throw of 200-2, besting his previous mark by 4 inches. Hicks placed 11th in the event and 1st among freshmen. Hicks is the 2nd Flame to ever eclipse 200 feet. After taking the country roads back home to the Mountain State, Hicks did a Q&A about throwing the hammer and his experience at the home of Bevo and the Hook’em Horns.
From throwing shot and disc at HHS to hammer at Liberty, take me through your journey of learning to throw hammer at an elite level.
"I wouldn’t consider myself to be at an elite level at this point in my career. It has certainly been a fun experience picking up hammer, and I would consider it my favorite event at the moment. In high school, disc was my main event, and I still enjoy throwing it. I have not been as successful throwing it in college, but believe that it will come around. Between the transition to a heavier disc and fighting old habits, it has been challenging. I believe hammer has come along well for me because it was something that I was foreign to when I came in, and my coach I think did a great job getting me started on the right track."
Talk about your form and footwork to maximize distance.
"It has been fun learning the form for hammer and weight, as it is completely different from disc and shot. It’s a bit hard to explain the details of the technique. Getting the basic movements down and hitting the right positions in different areas of the throw are some of the simpler things that I focus on. Once those details are consistent, I can focus on speeding up the throw which will ultimately increase distance."
What do you do in terms of preparation the week leading up to major meets like the Texas Relays and Penn Relays?
"As far as preparation for meets goes, I try to keep myself on a consistent schedule, which is challenging when we are traveling to different meets. Diet and sleep are 2 things that are important that I make sure to keep as normal as possible. At this point in the season we are also still not trying to peak, which means that at practice or workouts we are still trying to build strength and throw a lot, just to prepare for the end of the season when conference championships and regionals come around."
What is your mind like on game day, angry? Energetic? Calm? Clear?
"Prior to meets I try to keep my mind clear, and not think too much about the competition. I will visualize different aspects or positions of the throw that I want to work on. I keep my music the same and don’t really try to listen to something that will get me pumped up or tense. It’s best to be relaxed so that I can rely on technique more than strength."
After breaking the Liberty freshmen record and finishing in 11th, what is the next goal you are trying to achieve?
"I am ultimately just trying to better my form and technique each week. As far as a distance goal, I would like to break the 63 meter mark. This would likely qualify me for the regional meet where I would have a shot at qualifying for nationals."
Where do you have room for growth throwing hammer?
"There is always room for growth when it comes to bettering technique. I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert at any part of the throw at this point. I feel like a lot of my teammates and certainly my coach, are more knowledgeable of the sport. I have just been trying to learn from them and apply different things to my throw. It was great to compete here at Texas Relays because I was able to watch throwers like Sean Donnelly, who will likely be in the upcoming Olympics, and see firsthand throwers that are competing at a very elite level, which is ultimately where I hope to be eventually." o