Javelin throwing is an unbelievably technical event. Unlike our hammer, discus and shot placing counterparts, we do not rely so much on muscle and strength as excellent coordination and rhythm! It’s the combination of many many little things which makes the Javelin go farther! Despite that ANYBODY can throw the javelin if they have the right information.
The purpose of Throwing Javelin:
The whole point of throwing Javelin would be to see who can throw it the farthest from the throw line, without crossing the throw line and ensuring the stage lands before the tail. The point does not have to stick in the ground – the front end simply needs to hit the floor before the back end.
Clearly to be a javelin thrower you will need a javelin. In addition, you need to look into getting yourself a set of heel spikes.
JAVELIN: If you are just starting out, you should check with your regional athletics teams. Being able to use a club’s Javelin not only saves you forking out for your own but will also enable you to get started faster and get a feel for the event.
When Selecting a Javelin to use there are two major factors:
- The correct weight for your age group/gender. The standard weight for women is 600grammes and for Men is 800grammes. Javelins are also generally available in 400, 500 and 700gram weights too. Some stockists also have special children’s dimensions and foam training aids that (look somewhat like 3 foot rockets however ) can be used INDOORS! International standards. The principal concern here is centre of gravity. Some older versions of Javelin aren’t approved for competition. Always check the competition rules.
Javelin SPIKES: All these are vital to be able to avoid slipping and also to create the thrust you need when placing your foot. Without spikes in the heel you risk slipping which could be extremely dangerous with enough momentum behind you and particularly if there has been any rain. This is a really economical solution if you already have a pair of spikes.
How to Hold the Javelin:
- Hold the Javelin in the palm of the hand between your index and middle finger. Your finger tips of both of these fingers should be against the top of the cord grip.
- Hold the Javelin at the palm of you hand with you index finger against the surface of the cord grip.
- Hold the Javelin at the palm of your hand with your middle finger against the surface of the cord grip and your index finger straight along the Javelin itself.
For CHILDREN I’d advise the first one as it provides more stability for holding the javelin and helps keep the throw directly on discharge.
For ADULTS, however, I’d advise the remaining two. When you launch a javelin through a throw, there’s a spinning motion which helps propel the javelin through the air. This is best achieved with less obstruction from the fingers.
The whole point is that it’s a javelin throw, not a bowl, not a throw, not a heave. A throw!
As such your momentum comes not from your arm or your hand but from your TOES! That’s right from your toes through your foot, your ankle, your knee, your HIP, your torso, your shoulder and then your arm, hand and ultimately your fingers!
It’s an entire body workout!
The best way to understand the throw positioning is to start from the bottom up:
FEET: Stand sideways to the throw line with your left foot nearest the line (for right-hand throwers, left-hand throwers do opposite) and feet shoulder width apart. Face your BODY into the side while your HEAD is turned to face the casting direction.
ARMS: Place your left arm out to your side at shoulder level almost pointing at the direction of the throw. Hold the javelin in your right hand and lift your hand out to your side until it is just above head height. The purpose of the javelin should be at your eye level. Your entire body is in a straight line!
From this starting position, lean back in your right foot and have a step forward with your left foot turning it so that your toes are facing the throw direction. Keep your weight on your foot. Then lift your right heel and begin to turn in your right toes – your ankle will turn then your knee will follow, then through your hip. You’ll get to a stage where your hips are facing the throw direction but all the while you have to attempt and maintain your upper body posture, i.e. your right arm is still straight out behind you and chest facing sideways. Firstly, you allow your shoulder to return and then your elbow will come through. Inevitably it will bend but try to minimise this by letting it come through around head height and make sure that it faces forward.
Finally your hands comes into play and at launch enable the javelin to rotate out of your hand. What I mean is that as you throw your hands uncurls and the final part of your body to touch the javelin is the top of your index finger!
In this movement, your left arm stays out in front. Its goal is to act as a block. Remember you will need to stop ahead of the throw line and your left side stays firm to prevent you falling forward excessively.