This Important Javelin Skill is Often Taught Incorrectly
What is the crossover stride?
The final three strides prior to throwing a javelin (for a right-handed thrower) consists of a step onto the left foot, then a low “jump” onto the right foot and a final quick step onto the left foot into a throwing stance before the javelin is pulled through. During this second-to-last stride, one leg crosses the other, hence this “jump” into the final stance is often referred to as the “crossover” stride.
The crossover stride sets up the athlete’s final delivery stride and therefore their delivery stance. Done well, it can also assist a young athlete to carry the momentum built in the run-up into the delivery stride and hopefully transfer this to the implement.
And it is often taught and performed incorrectly.
What is the problem?
Part of performing the crossover stride correctly is that the back leg crosses over in front of the other leg.
But it is very common to see young athletes incorrectly perform a crossover stride where their back foot is crossing behind the other leg. In other words a right-handed thrower is crossing their right leg behind their left leg.
Compounding the problem is that many coaches and teachers are instructing young athletes to perform the skill in this way.
Why is this a problem?
Crossing one foot behind the other just prior to delivery can cause the athlete’s body and the javelin to turn away from the direction of the approach and therefore the intended direction of the throw. This can cause the athlete to have to awkwardly attempt to drag the javelin back on course, which can often result in a misaligned delivery and a poor javelin flight.
A back crossover stride can also cause a loss of speed on the runway, which can affect the velocity of the javelin on release.
Look out for back crossover strides!
Be aware of the problem of athletes crossing one foot behind the other and assist them to correct it. It will help them to perform a more fluent transition in to the final delivery stride and assist them to more easily keep the javelin aligned with the intended direction of the throw.
Have you come across this problem before?
I would love to hear if you have seen this problem before and ways in which you have seen this error corrected. You can let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the contact details below.
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Anchor or via email.