Why your caber toss set up hinders your ability to turn big sticks

Why your caber toss set up hinders your ability to turn big sticks

The heavy events are all all about timing; finishing a throw in the stone, sprinting to the front of the trig in the weights, accelerating the ball in the hammer, and oh so much more. But, probably the second most annoying thing overheard during competition to, "you had the height," is, "you pulled late." So, how do we know when or even how to finish the pull on the caber toss? Honestly, it comes down to timing and a few principles to remember. We'll dive into that more soon.

We've  already gone over the "pick," carry and approach, so let's look at one of the final aspects of the caber (of course, right before the judge raises his/her hands in a perfect "12:00" expression).  Let's address the, "Set Up."

No Jump Stops
I always coach the set up in a way that allows you to quickly and easily transition from carrying the caber, to pulling it. My belief is that this is best done with a stagger step or "gather." I prefer this to the abrupt basketball "jump stop" that some athletes use. The reason for this is that when you jump into the position to pull, the caber is lurched downward, creating a much more difficult pull for you to finish. You will be pulling the opposite direction, so don't make it that much harder for yourself and kill any speed you've gained in yiir run up.

With a "gather" approach, you can more easily transition your throw from a carry and sprint to an explode and throw. Focus on making the set up smooth and quick. Now, your hands will drop to set up your pull, but make that drop minimal so you aren't fighting so much momentum as you pull the stick.

Sink the Hips
In addition to dropping your hands and gathering your feet, you'll need to sink your hips as you prepare to pull. Sinking the hips helps with the next aspect we'll cover, but this is a much more affective approach than a jump stop. Sinking the hips puts you in a position to use the hips and back without jeopardizing severe caber drop and momentum. 

Caber Block?
Another important aspect of this is to stop your own momentum and advancement; you never want to pull on the caber and then take a step forward or still be going forward. Think of your stop (gather your feet in two steps) like a block in the stones and weights.  You stop running and the caber keeps going ... now, pull!   Use this as a test - if you plant your feet to pull but are still traveling forward when it's time to pull, then you've not stopped and gathered your feet. Sink the hips , drop the hands and then ... well, now I'm getting ahead of myself.


  • Daniel McKim

    Thanks, Susan. Kay did so much for this sport! So thankful for him!

  • Susan Cummings

    Kay Cummings told his athletes when they had the caber up to try to drag their knuckles on the ground- that goes with sinking your hips

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