Sophie hoping to go to the next level ahead of big competitions
Sophie Hitchon will open a big year a week today at the Stanford Invitational meet in California.
And there she will showcase a new throwing style for the first time, as she looks to move to another level in her throwing.
The 2016 Rio hammer bronze medalist will compete for England at next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, before her main target of the year, the European Championships in Berlin August.
She could also compete in the newly-announced Athletics World Cup at the London Stadium in July.
With all that to fit in, once the season is over, she will then get married in September!
Having prepared as usual for the season with a warm weather camp in California, she will get her eye in next Friday, before leaving for Australia, and she looked ahead to a packed schedule: “I’ve had my training camp in the US for the last nine weeks.
“There’s not too long to go now.
“I fly to Australia on the 30th, from America to Brisbane.
“We have a competition in Stanford that day and then fly after.
“That competition is normally a little bit later than now, usually in April.
“It’s difficult because with the Commonwealth Games being as early as it is, it’s difficult to get yourself in full competition phase.
“It’s a bit of an odd year, I’ve changed a bunch of stuff with my throw.
“The style is completely different to last year.”
And she explained the new technique she will use in the circle to try and generate bigger distances, after discussing the way forward with coach Tore Gustafsson, who has been with her for the last five years: “We decided to go to the next level we needed to kind of change things up.
“It’s a long term goal.
“We’ll be working on this for the next two and a half years until the Tokyo Olympics.
“For the whole of my career I’ve started with the toe turn at the beginning.
“A lot of athletes use that just to fit in the amount of turns, but then it does reduce the amount of linear force you get out of the throw.
“So we’ve switched to a twist heel turn.
“Instead of one toe and three heel, I do four heel turns.
“A lot of women do that because their feet are smaller and fit in the circle easier.
“Theoretically it creates more linear force, which you want.”
Andf she is pleased with how the changes have worked so far in training, ahead of putting it into practice in competition: “We can’t really say now we’ve changed it will go further, but we think it’s the way forward.
“It’s exciting. It’s been going well so far.
“If we didn’t think it was the way forward, we wouldn’t have switched.”
Asked whether the technique was more difficult to master, she added: “It’s not particularly more difficult, it’s just how I learnt to throw was the toe turn, and it’s done me really well, so I’m not complaining about it.
“But we decided to get the extra metres to step up.
“It’s been difficult, throwing the way I throw got the last 10 years, and it’s really difficult to get out of the habit.
“But I’m throwing well, I’ve no complaints.
“It seems like a big change but it’s not. It’s just about executing what we’ve been doing.”