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Javelin training should incorporate a teaching progression that begins learning the carry – parallel to the ground above the head with the tip slightly down to begin with but levels off as the thrower moves through the approach.
Javelin coaching within this coaching progression then moves to short throws into the ground from 3-5 steps, 3-5 walking steps throws along a line, then standing throws, 3 step running throws, and 5 step running throws. All of these drills teach the cross over javelin technique that occurs for the last five steps of the javelin run up.
The javelin looks a lot more like a running event than a throwing event. The javelin is so light and the athletes that throw the javelin are really fast! That's true – the javelin does involve a lot of running.
The difference is, these running steps need to be as consistent as a long jump or pole vault so that the thrower can use their speed from the run, a controlled speed, and transfer that velocity into the javelin itself by planting hard and blocking hard with the leading leg and free arm. This blocking action, something that does not happen in running events, requires a great deal of strength, especially in the torso. It also requires a great deal of practice which is why blocking is a large part of javelin training.
Grab it, but remember to let go! There are three grips a thrower can use in the javelin event. One of the things that beginning throwers think about when deciding how to hold the javelin is which grip will affect them the least, meaning force the javelin off course the least, at the point of release.
Some athletes feel they have better control with one grip rather than another. It is a personal preference and athletes should choose the grip, Finnish – index finger above binding with second finger wrapped, Fork – index and middle finger split at the top of the binding, or American – four fingers on the binding, which they feel most comfortable with.
The javelin power position, the shot put power position – they look so similar! Coaching the javelin power position is similar to coaching the shot put power position. One leg in front for the strike and block, weight back on the trailing leg, free arm up in front of the body preparing for the block, and the arm with the implement behind the rest of the body, using the fastest part of momentum generated through the run, glide, or rotation combined with the greatest amount of torque.
Really want to impress your friends? Take up javelin throwing and show everyone how you can get a long metal spear to fly through the air and land tip first one or even two hundred feet from where you stand. They'll want you on every baseball, softball, track and field…any team for that matter! If you can run, then run cross over steps, plant, block, and throw, you've got a leg and an arm above almost all your peers.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|