Don’t Give Kids A Javelin Before They Learn This
There is a key skill that all kids need to learn before being given a javelin.
Kids need to learn how to throw.
There is no way that you can teach a child to effectively throw a javelin before they have learned to throw a ball.
So if a child can’t throw a javelin, teach them how to throw a ball first. Put the javelins away.
More specifically, to be able to throw a javelin, kids need to be able to throw a ball overarm by pulling it over their shoulder in one continuous, flowing movement from an extended position behind their shoulder.
Pull Not Push
One of the biggest limiting factors that in novice javelin throwers is the inability of kids to throw fluently from a position in which the javelin starts extended behind their shoulder.
Instead of there being one continuous flowing movement, many kids firstly shift their throwing hand up next to their shoulder and then “push” the javelin. The throw becomes a stop-start push rather than one long pull on the javelin.
The javelin floats through the air without any rotation around its axis and then drops to the ground.
A double movement occurs during the throwing action. Get rid of this double movement. The aim is one smooth movement.
And if the kids can’t do this with a ball, they won’t be able to do it with a javelin.
How to Improve the Throwing Arm Action
Encourage some free play with balls of various sizes and shapes. Make balls available to toss around as kids arrive for your session. Schedule a few minutes at the start of the session during which the kids can throw and chat.
Challenges and Games
Get the kids throwing balls – one and two-handed from various positions.
Create challenges and games that see kids to throwing balls and other objects at targets and over varying distances.
To help the kids to become more proficient at throwing from a position in which their arm is extended back, have them reach back to “pull away” or “steal” a ball held by you or a partner and throw it. The whole movement must occur in one action. Once the ball starts moving, it shouldn’t stop.
One long action, instead of two short movements is the aim.
- Kids need to first learn the fundamentals of throwing before being taught how to specifically throw a javelin.
- An overarm throw is one continuous flowing movement rather than two short actions.
- A javelin is pulled not pushed.
- Teach kids through free play, games and getting them to throw balls and other modified implements at targets and over a variety of distances.
- Have kids reach back to grab a ball from a partner to throw it in one long action.
- Add a variety of balls into your coaching kit.
- Schedule some free play with the balls as kids arrive for a session.
- Teach throwing not just javelin.
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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.