Javelin throwing technique in detail: speed control

In this episode about the javelin throwing technique in detail, let’s take a look at the speed. When throwing the javelin pace and rhythm play an important role in all phases. In interaction, they are essential for good training results and big competition throws.

Maximum speed – maximum throwing distance?

If we approach the subject purely physically, it is natural to assume that a maximum speed throughout the course of the movement will lead to maximum throwing success. After all, the throwing speed, so the starting speed of the spear, goes directly into the calculation of the possible throw. We conclude that it makes sense to maximize speed.

Is the topic of this blog article already covered? You accept it, definitely not, because the practice shows on the theme “Speed ​​of Movement” exciting and noteworthy phenomena.

Keep control over the speed

Surely you have heard as a child: Do not be so quick, take your time to do things right. “Javelin throwing is complex, there are some ‘things’ to do until the javelin goes on its journey.

The faster we start, the narrower the time window will be to prepare the actual realease. Equally mentally in the control, as well as in the execution of all movements from the support leg, to approaching the release phase. Let’s look at young throwers, that the timid and the highly motivated stormy are there. Often coaches and athletes described a non-fluent movement, problems are sought in the details, rarely in the overall picture.

Read more about the javelin run up in this article.

Thomas Röhler javelin running

Find the optimal pace

An initially too fast pace leads to hectic, movement sections come too short in the execution or are omitted entirely due to lack of time. This is dangerous, once started too fast, the elbow is not brought fast enough, via shoulder activation and already hurts the vulnerable joint. Forces, no matter how, we must direct and guide them. This gives distance and a clean technique.

Of course too slow is also a problem. Stand-throws are a good example – they are very far away from the actual pace of the competition and, if used incorrectly in practice, convey a wrong image of throwing patterns. Athletes “park” on the support leg, slowing down the important hip in the build-up of tension, which also prevents a fluid rhythm of the lower. An optimal speed for the overall motion of the javelin throw must be found.

Common mistakes

  • Too fast start-up (“rushing”), often associated with upper body leaning forward
  • Sudden speed changes in the course of the movement
  • Ratio of pace and stride incorrect
  • Too slow start / and in relation to the stride length
  • Passive footrests, lack of activation

Prepare coordination skills for the javelin throw

The basis for working on optimal speed is a solid base of coordinative skills. The general but also special skills in the javelin throw. Here it is important to start early, basics that were not laid by the age of 14 are hardly, or only with very hard work to catch up.

In detail, athletes must be able to prove nimble feet, control their upper body independently of the lower body. Even on sudden events such as wind or distraction they should be able to respond skillfully. This can be learned with small exercises such as footwork drills or coordination leaders with additional tasks for the upper body.

Thomas Röhler approaching with javelin 2019

Maximize the optimum speed

From the introduction, it becomes clear how important velocity is from the physical point of view. So we have to do everything we can to handle the pace better. Meaning, the technique stays clean and complete in its phases and movements. Everything runs a little faster. Together with the coach and one’s own perception, it is actually easy to determine which pace is too fast or too slow.

Avoid loss of speed in the throwing process

In my opinion the simplest way to get closer to the optimal maximum, but still being controlled is to minimize the speed loss in the course of the movement. Active foot work saves valuable time on the ground and creates exciting propulsion. A stable hip path, as described here, is essential to keep the built-up pace in the release. All in all, the pacing rhythm, with its influence on the position of the body’s center of gravity, also affects the ability to control one’s speed quite much.

As you can see, maximum speed is not everything, it always has to fit the intensity and skill level. As the spice to the dish, too much is too much, too little tastes bland.

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  • I like this alot, read the whole thing.
    Do you have any tips on getting my left (front) leg down fast? Because i tend to take time to put it down and i also put it to the side instead of straight forward. This causes my shoulder to lower and speed to reduce making my throws HORRIBLE.
    Any ideas?

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