The Essential Skill That Kids Need For Javelin Success

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.


Photo by Pixabay on

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.

Javelin Extended Female

Photo by DAPA Images via Canva

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

Free Play

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.

Coaching Intervention

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.

Javelin Extended Blog

Photo by Images Sources from Photo Images via Canva


  1. Kids need to first learn the fundamentals of throwing before being taught how to specifically throw a javelin.
  2. An overarm throw is one continuous flowing movement rather than two short actions.
  3. A javelin is pulled not pushed.
  4. Teach kids through free play, games and getting them to throw balls and other modified implements at targets and over a variety of distances.
  5. Have kids reach back to grab a ball from a partner to throw it in one long action.

Recommended Actions

  • 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.

I would love to hear how it goes. Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the contact details below.

Further reading


How To Introduce Javelin to Young Athletes (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes


An Athletics Throwing Game That Kids Will Love

This Will Make You Laugh And Learn About Javelin

How to Introduce Javelin to Young Athletes

10 of the Biggest Mistakes Young Athletes Make When Throwing a Javelin

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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