Characteristics of a Great Javelin Thrower
Who is the ideal javelin thrower? What should the ideal javelin thrower be capable of doing? Should they have the same body type as a shot-putter, discus thrower, hammer thrower? They need to be really strong, right?
The best explanation of a javelin thrower once told to me was a combination of a sprinter and high jumper. The sprinter is quick, explosive, knows how to accelerate and the high jumper understands how to direct their force, feel the positions of their bodies, and how to stop their force on a dime but continue to utilize it. Along with those characteristics you can’t forget that sprinters are strong! Fast sprinters have to exert ground force so their legs have to be strong! Let’s also not forget about our sprinter friends (mainly for those who competed in college) who love having strong upper bodies too. High jumpers possess the same qualities mentioned above but are usually long limbed.
What I am getting at is that javelin throwers need to be treated as a different breed of track athlete. We need to lift and be strong, but be strong in so many different planes. Not only pushing like most people would assume, but pulling! The javelin when it’s being thrown correctly is like a sling-shot, and as we know about slingshots, things can awry if the angle is placed incorrectly when it’s time to let it go. Because of that possibility of the throw not being a direct flight, a javelin thrower needs to be able to absorb the force from the bad throw without hurting them. Flexibility and mobility are a big part of a javelin thrower so they can absorb that force.
A javelin thrower should have no stone unturned when training. The workout regimen should include a good deal of sprinting, jumping, lots of core stability, posterior chain strengthening which will help sustain the lower back when planting at high speeds, some gymnastic ring work if applicable, body awareness drills, and lastly strength work. Now, I’m not saying that strength work in the weight-room should be last on the list, but it’s a lot easier to take a flexible, slightly athletic person and turn them into a javelin thrower, then add the strength gains after. A lot of javelin throwers think that they need to be super strong before they have developed solid technique, but when they get strong first it can limit that flexibility we need to get into certain awkward positions when throwing.
To end this short little blog about the characteristics a great javelin thrower would need to possess, I want to break down the javelin throw in simple terms to bring this whole post together.
You start jogging and accelerate into your drawback and crossovers with the javelin/arm extended back as far and long as it can go.
You keep trying to accelerate into the penultimate which is the last crossover before you plant and throw.
As you’re floating in zero support after the penultimate, you need to feel your right foot touch and right hip drive forward into your left leg block.
Your left arm does not swing open and jab your left side till that left foot touches and plants into the ground creating a complete left side block, then BOOM the right arm flys through like a slingshot to finish the throw.
The last part of the throw is literally finishing the throw, allowing the force and speed you create in the run up to follow behind your javelin as you follow the throw with your body, but do not go past the toe board.
The video listed above displays all of the characteristics listed in this blog post. I wanted to thank Coach Dan F. for his guest blog post about that javelin. Stay tuned for more posts from Coach Dan and make sure to drop a question below that we can answer in a future blog post.