Javelin Throw is regarded as a strength event. The Javelin Thrower is required to throw a spear shaped implement called a Javelin as far as possible. Depending on the age and gender of the athlete the weight of the implement will vary between 500gm and 800gm.
THE COMPETITION AREA
There is only one basic javelin throw technique with individual variations within the technique, but the aim
is always to deliver the javelin with optimum speed and balance.
IMPLEMENT: The javelin consists of three
parts: the point or metal head, the wooden
or metallic shaft and a cord grip placed
around the centre of gravity. The length of
the men’s javelin is 2.6 to 2.7m and that for
women is 2.2 to 2.3m in length.
THE RUNWAY: The length of the runway should be
not more than 36.50m but not less than 30m and
should be marked by two parallel lines 50mm in
width and 4m apart.
THE THROWING ARC: This should consist of a strip
made of paint, wood of metal 70mm in width, painted
white and flush with the ground, and should be an
arc of a circle drawn with a radius of 8m. Lines, 1.5m
in length, are drawn from the extremities of the arc at
right angles to the parallel lines marking the run way.
THROWING SECTOR: This is bounded by the inner edges of two lines which are drawn from the centre of the arc through the
points at which the arc joins the lines marking the edge of the run way. The angle formed by these two lines at the centre of the
arc is approximately 290.
The right-handed javelin technique will be explained in all examples used in this book.
The javelin must lie in the fold of the hand so that it is in line with the direction of throw. The javelin
must lie along the length of the palm and not across. The javelin must be held at the back of the
cord, with at least one finger placed behind the edge of the binding. Three different types of grips
are commonly used.
THE AMERICAN GRIP
The thumb and the first two joints of the index finger are behind the cord.
THE FINNISH GRIP
The thumb and the first two joints of the index finger are behind the cord, while the index finger supports the shaft. The extended finger assists the rotation of the javelin during delivery.
THE “V”- GRIP
The javelin is held between the index and middle fingers behind the cord. The position of the fingers assists the throwing arm in staying at shoulder height during the approach.
The javelin technique sequence comprises of 4 phases: An approach, a 5-step rhythm, throw and
THE JAVELIN THROWER SHOULD AVOID:
THE JAVELIN THROWER SHOULD AIM TO:
APPROACH AND 5 STEP RHYTHM
The approach run is divided into two phases; a preliminary phase and a final phase commonly
revered to as the “rhythm of five”.
The average length of approach, including the 5 step rhythm is:
THE APPROACH (PRELIMINARY)
During this phase the javelin is carried at head height, with the arm bent, the elbow pointing forward.The palm of the hand must face upwards. This will help the wrist, elbow and shoulder to relax, and therefore lead to an easy running action.
The shoulders are parallel to the run-up and the hips are kept high, with the body weight carried on the ball of the foot. The javelin is lined up approximately parallel to the ground. The approach speed increases constantly to the maximum controllable speed. The length of the preliminary approach run is:
5 STEP RHYTHM (TRANSITION)
STEP 1 AND 2
On landing on the right foot, move the throwing arm straight forward and then
back to the rear, over the right shoulder,until the arm is fully stretched at shoulder height, with the palm of the throwing hand facing upwards.
Do not rush the withdrawal to avoid running sideways to long. Try to accelerate ahead of the javelin,rather than pushing the javelin back. This way, it will be easier to maintain the approach speed. The shoulders turn to be in line with delivery area, while the hips remain square with the delivery area, with the feet pointing forward, to maintain the approach speed, and to produce torsion in the upper body prior to the throw. The right leg must drive forwards and upwards to assist the hips to maintain their position, and to assist the left leg in maintaining approach speed.The javelin must remain pointing in the direction of the throw.
Step 3 serves as preparation for the subsequent drive step.Hold the javelin close to head with the point in line of the eyebrows. It must remain in this position
until the final delivery action. The eyes look straight ahead.
STEP 4 – DRIVE
A longer, flatter drive step of the right leg takes place after pushing off with the left leg. The trunk
starts to lean back because of the long stride and this facilitates a long, final delivery pull of the
The right foot is kept low while
the right leg drive forward,
across the left foot (the shortest
The left leg, after completion of
the drive, is brought forward,
and is in front of the right leg
before the right foot touches the
The right foot touches the ground ahead of the hips and shoulders, on the outside edge, heel first.
The right leg is bending to absorb the shock.
The right foot is placed on the line of throw to ensure that the eventual drive is directed through
the hips and trunk.
As the right foot lands, at the end of the “cross-step”, the heel is quickly lifted and rotates
clockwise until the foot finishes up on the little toe, thus bringing about an clockwise rotation of the
right knee and hip. The angle of the foot in relation to the line of throw should not be more than
45º, to ensure an active drive through the hips.
The shoulders are still in line with the direction of the throw. The left arm is folded across the
chest to keep the chest muscles relaxed.
The right arm is stretched, with the wrist closed and the palm up, to prevent the tip of the javelin to
lift. The tip of the javelin must still be in line with the eyebrows.
The left leg is brought forward to bring the body in the power position.
The right leg drives forward and upwards while waiting for the left foot to come down. Do not force
the left foot down, otherwise the centre of gravity will move to behind the right leg, losing the
forward driving action.
The braced left leg lands
flatfooted, pointing forward (1), to
avoid the knee from collapsing
and absorb the momentum of the
approach run. The braced left leg
is kept straight and acts like a
wooden leg. The touchdown of
the left leg takes place very soon
after the right foot.
With both legs on the ground, the driving through the hips is accelerated, causing the upper trunk
to form a backward arc to create torque prior to delivery.
Keep the throwing arm still extended at shoulder height (2). The free arm remains relaxed ahead
of the body.
THE POWER POSITION
Ride over the left leg after delivery, while keeping the left foot on the ground. Bring the right leg
quickly forward, immediately after the release of the javelin to prevent fouling of the throw. Place the
foot on the ground with the leg slightly bend to absorb the forward momentum.
The optimum delivery angle is 30 and 36º. The faster the javelin is thrown, the lower the trajectory
Strong headwinds require a lower delivery angle and strong tailwinds require an increased delivery
Javelins are manufactured according to distance rating. A thrower who throws 50 m requires a
javelin, which flies optimally at 50 m, etc. The higher the distance rating of the javelin, the lower the
angle of release.
MEASURING THE RUN-UP
The check marks for the javelin thrower are as important as those used in the jumping events. The elite thrower knows almost to the centimetre how close he will be to the scratch line. This technique should be practiced on every throwing day.
To establish a check mark, which is placed at the position where the rhythm must change, the thrower begins 2 steps before the first check mark. The first check mark is hit with the left foot, then the thrower continues for 6 steps to hit the T with the left foot. The T point is the start of the five count final approach, which includes the cross-step.
As the technique of the thrower develops, the run-up will be lengthened by adding two strides at a time. In a longer run-up, the total length of the last 5-stride rhythm will also be longer.
L = LEFT FOOT
R = RIGHT FOOT
S = START OF APPROACH
Ä = CHECK MARK,
T = START OF FIVE-COUNT APPROACH.
The athlete should run the full run-up while an observer marks the position of the check marks. This is done six times, and the farthest markers from the scratch line is measured and written down.
These distances are measured next to the run-up prior to the competition and tested. Small adjustments can be done according to the specific situations.
Keep in mind that the run-up will differ slightly on different approach surfaces, or weather conditions.
Running into a headwind will require a shorter run-up and running in a tailwind will require a longer run-up. In bad weather, the run-up must be shortened for better control in the 5-step rhythm.
EXERCISES TO IMPROVE THE TECHNIQUE
FINAL ARM ACTION
To learn the final arm action, stand
with the left foot forward, holding the javelin above the shoulder with the elbow forward and the tip of the javelin pointing slightly downwards. Throw the javelin into the ground 3-4m ahead, with a stabbing action, with a pull from the shoulder straight through the shaft of the javelin, and an extension of the elbow and hand.
Repeat the action above, lean further back with the javelin not pointing to the ground and throw the
javelin to land 10-15 m ahead.
POWER POSITION THROW
3 – STEP RHYTHM WITH RECOVERY
5 STRIDE RHYTHM
HEAVY BALL THROW
Standing with the feet well apart and with the body weight well supported on the rear leg. The rear leg should be well bent and the front leg slightly bent. Turn the shoulders to the side and lean well back with the arm well extended and the palm of the hand facing upwards, while holding a small heavy ball. Rotate the right knee and hip to the front and throw the ball with a high elbow, a strong pull from the shoulder and a final extension of the throwing arm high above the shoulder. Follow through with the right arm over the front foot to make a recovery step.
To direct the flight and to ‘feel’ the javelin in order to guide it, stand in the same position as above, holding a javelin in the hand.
Another athlete holds on to the end of the javelin while driving through. The hips must stay in front of the shoulders and the javelin must pass over the right shoulder.
To strengthen the final delivery action, stand in the final stride position, while holding a 4-kg hammer, palm facing upwards.
Drive through with the right hip and shoulder with the right arm following, and drive through to hit a log. The hammer must hit the log when the right hand is directly above the left foot.
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