Anyone who grapples a bit with the target movement and the appearance in the javelin quickly realizes that biomechanics and javelin throwing technique are closely intertwined. Also in my development process
the research and findings from the javelin biomechanics helped me to throw further. However, there has been and still is a long process of understanding and applying.
Further throws by modern technology?
Since my first appearance in the national squad in 2010, biomechanical tests play a not insignificant part in the development of my throwing performance. Regular tests collect data and analyze throws in detail. We use video material for technical aspects. Together with the javelin throwing national team, the DLV and the team of the IAT Leipzig under the direction of Dr. Lehmann, my trainer Harro Schwuchow and I played a major role in the development and research of the international javelin throw.
Javelin biomechanics as an aid in training control
In a comprehensive video and sensor-based analysis of the javelin technique, well over 30 parameters can be considered in different phases of the throwing motion.
I have to admit, as a young athlete I was overwhelmed by this flood of information. Some appear being difficult to classify meaningfully. However, this challenge of complexity has helped me. In the course of my technical development, to develop a very effective approach to values and data together with the trainer and the team.
Video of a javelin throw in the test center of the IAT
For me important parameters
Anyone who has already dealt with the simple calculation of the throw parabola will notice that the throwing angle and throwing speed are in any case two important sizes in terms of throwing distance. This is definitely the case. Increasing the release speed is also one of the main, if not the main training goals.
Relevant angles of the javelin technique
The popularly summarizing term release angle itself is still divided into javelin throwing
angle of attack and angle of release. Both values should be very close together and ideally identical in order to optimally accelerate the javelin. A trained athlete and coach eye can make a rough deviation directly in any simple video recording. In the high performance area hard facts in the detail area are a great clue to work specifically on technical aspects.
Continuing the second level, so to speak, the view of the throw from behind, interesting. It’s about the tilt angle. It makes me clear, in value and video image, clearly how the spear will later be sailing in the air.
Of course, with a closer look at the topic and further development of the understanding, one would like to learn more about the parameters that influence the above-mentioned and in the best case positively influencing ones. I think it is very individual and simple at this point: For me, the hip velocity or KSP (body center of gravity) speed at the moment of setting the pressure leg is of crucial importance. Why? It is what decides in the end result about my felt and effective tension build up. In some articles of the training category you will find suitable workouts to put these aspects of javelin biomechanics into practice.
The comparison with other javelin throwers
In recent years and in the development towards the Olympic gold medal in 2016, I have become more and more aware of how individual the javelin throw is. A comparison with other athletes serves as an orientation. It can be used in certain training phases, but the usefulness of the direct comparison in the development of technology has to be discussed. For me, the comparison of one’s own performance and throwing parameters is always in the foreground.
Goals of javelin biomechanics
The selection of parameters that are important to me personally shows that I do not give the same attention to all values and data. For example, elbow and shoulder angular velocities, joint angles in motion phases, and biomechanical tests of run up as noted above have been deliberately omitted. Everything should be leading and help me at the end of the day to become a better javelin thrower. Existing potentials should be determined and training aspects should be examined. For this purpose, I am a friend of individual preparation and simplification of important aspects.
Should / Is comparisons
Each training session and season is shaped by goals, including in technical training. A professional review of the technique under aspects of javelin biomechanics helps to control steps forward and detect errors. For some aspects of the rhythm and the movement structure usually a trained eye, self-perception and video analysis is sufficient. At critical points such as the end speed or angle and accuracy, however, professional biomechanical tests must be used.
Further development of the javelin throwing technique
The overarching goal of all javelin biomechanics measures is clearly the constant development of the own technique. As a puzzle part of the performance development, I hope for insights. Insights that no other form of intensive training can offer me. Testing is time consuming. As mentioned earlier, you need to find consensus on key messages with the coach and biomechanist. Nothing could be worse than testing the athlete in the process of javelin throwing technique development and confusing him by that. However, food for thought is desired.
Smartphone and camera as an alternative?
If there is no test in the national team calendar or time is short, we can still test and analyze. Although not as accurate and less objective. How it works? Quite simple with the smartphone, which is usually at hand. A video neatly filmed in the page view in good resolution and high frame rate can in any case also reflect many aspects of a professional testing. To be honest, we use this tool very often. From experience I can confirm with my coach that the feeling and seen result of a well-rehearsed trainer and athlete very often coincides with objective measurement data. Thus, at the JenJavelin Center, we recommend that all young athletes and coaches consciously work with videos in order to train early on the subjective feel for the individual relevant parameters of the javelin throwing technique.