Progressive Steps to Teaching the Javelin Throw
by Coach Rob Lasorsa, NTCA Founder
- The javelin lies along the palm of the hand.
- The palm should always be turned upwards.
- The javelin should feel comfortable and secure in hand.
Three ways of holding the javelin:
1. Gripping the cord between the thumb and index finger (American Style).
2. Gripping the cord between the thumb and middle finger (Finnish Style). The index finger can either be pointed towards the tail of the javelin or wrapped around the javelin.
3. Gripping the cord between the index and middle finger (Fork Style).
Learning to "Pull Over the Top"
Seated throw with javelin or weighted ball:
Using a stool, chair or box the athlete sits down placing both feet firmly on the ground. The back should remain straight. With the javelin or weighted ball in the throwing hand, the athlete draws the throwing arm straight back. The non-throwing arm should be extended towards the direction of the throw and the shoulders should turn back approximately 90 degrees so that the athlete is in a comfortable position. The throwing hand should be slightly above the throwing shoulder. From this position, the athlete throws the ball or javelin. Emphasis should be on "pulling over the top" as the throwing elbow comes through at a level that is higher than the throwing shoulder. The ball or javelin should be released at a point above the head. The non-throwing hand should be allowed to come towards the non throwing shoulder, but be careful not to "pull" too aggressively with the non throwing arm because it will cause over rotation of the shoulders causing the throwing arm to drop and the implement to be thrown with a sidearm delivery.
Progression of Crossover to Block (without the Javelin)
1. Front Leg Plant Drill:
Emphasis is on pushing the hips up and over a straight front leg by extending and turning the back leg and hip.
2. Cross and "Catch" Drill:
Emphasis is on crossing over and landing with the weight over a flexed back leg with the back foot landing in an "active" position.
3. Cross – "Catch" – Front Leg Plant Drill:
Emphasis is on driving the back leg and hip as the plant leg is coming in contact with the ground.
Crossover (with Javelin)
1. Step Throw (1 step and crossover)
2. Step Throw (3 steps and crossover)
Points of Emphasis During Crossover:
a. Do not arch back
b. Push forcefully off front foot initiating the crossover
c. Drive back knee forward as front foot is initiating crossover
d. Hips and feet must remain facing the front
e. Keep front shoulder "closed"
Emphasis is on holding the javelin in a position slightly above ear level and over the throwing shoulder. The javelin should be in a position that is parallel to the ground or tilted slightly downward or upward depending on the thrower's comfort.
1. Walking to Drawback Drill
2. Running to Drawback Drill
Emphasis is on following points:
a. Palm of throwing hand must remain facing up.
b. Draw javelin back in straight line with the throwing direction with the hand staying above the shoulder.
c. Try not to alter running style (feet, hips and head should still face the throwing direction during the drawback).
d. Drawback must occur prior to the beginning of the crossover.
Discussed from the landing of the back leg during the crossover.
As the back leg is landing the plant leg should "shoot" straight through to the front. As this is happening, the back leg should be forcefully extending as the back foot is turning, driving the hip forward. By driving the back leg as the front leg is coming towards the front, it forces the thrower to establish a wide base upon delivery, therefore giving the thrower more time to apply force to the implement. The foot of the plant leg should come down heel first and the thrower should drive the hips up and over a straight plant leg. This will cause a bow-like action or a "reverse C" position at the point just before the initiation of the arm strike. It is important to realize that this bow position is the result of the back leg forcefully driving the hips up and over the plant leg and not by leaning backwards, anticipating the delivery. Leaning back will cause the thrower's plant leg to come down late, which in turn will cause the thrower to "pull" down on the shaft of the javelin and not apply forces to the javelin in the proper direction.
Once the back leg is fully extended, then the arm strike occurs. At this point the athlete pulls the javelin hard over the top of the head, leading with the elbow. The elbow should come through at a level that is higher than the throwing shoulder and the javelin should be released at a level above the thrower's head. The non-throwing hand should be allowed to come towards the non-throwing shoulder as the release in occurring. Emphasis should be on "pulling through the point" of the javelin during the arm strike.
Javelin Conditioning Drills
Specific Strength Exercises
1. Delivery drill with weight in throwing hand.
2. Delivery drill with weight held in two hands.
3. Transfer drill with weight held in both hands.
4. Cross Over with weight held against hip.
Arm Conditioning Drill – Weighted Ball Throws
Basically a thrower wants to start throwing a weighted ball heavier than the javelin (1000-1300 grams for men and 800-950 grams for women) during the off season and slowly progress to a ball lighter than the javelin (600-700 grams for men and 400-500 grams for women) until the pre-season (2-3 weeks subsequent to the competitive season). These ball throws should be done from a chair, from a standing throw position and from 3 & 5 step approaches. This will develop arm strength, therefore making the athlete less susceptible to injury, and the athlete will also increase the speed of the throwing motion.
Hip Flexibility and Mobility
2. Quarter and Half Eagles
As the Founder and President of the National Throws Coaches Association (NTCA), Coach Rob Lasorsa has an abundance of technical knowledge to share with coaches. He has produced multiple DVDs and written five books on the throwing events. He is the former Head Track Coach at Kent State University.
DVDs by Rob Lasorsa