10 Things That Will Help You Coach Javelin to Kids
Use a firm grip on the javelin. Hold the javelin diagonally across the palm and wrap the fingers around the grip. A javelin held loosely or in the tips of the fingers will be difficult to control and impart a force upon.
Like an archer aiming an arrow at a target, during run-up and delivery keep the tip of the javelin pointing where you want it to go. Misaligning the javelin can lead to javelin flight issues and excessive force on the elbow and shoulder joints, risking injury.
When withdrawing the javelin behind the head and body in preparation to throw, avoid fully locking out the elbow of the throwing arm. Keep the arm long, but relax the elbow joint a little.
When the arm is withdrawn, hold the tip of the javelin close to the eye/temple. It keeps the javelin close to the midline of the body, helps keep the javelin aligned in the direction of the throw, and makes it less likely that a wayward throw will result.
Hold the throwing arm back until the front foot is grounded in the final delivery stride. This “arm last” action allows the pulling force to be applied to the javelin over a longer time and distance. If the arm, hand, and javelin creep forward during the run-up and preparation to throw, the distance and time over which the force can be applied are decreased, lessening the amount that the implement can be accelerated before release.
During the second-to-last (or “crossover”) stride, make sure that the back leg crosses over in front of the other leg – not behind it.
During the delivery stride, the front foot should land heel-first and the front leg should be extended to allow the non-throwing side to block (stop) and the throwing arm to whip through.
During the throwing arm action, the throwing hand and javelin should pass over the throwing-side shoulder. Allowing the javelin to swing around in too wide an arc away from the body can lead to the javelin being pulled away from the throwing direction. It is also against the rules for the javelin to be thrown below the shoulder height of the athlete.
The throwing arm action should see the javelin “pulled” through rather than pushed. From the extended position behind the shoulder, once the throwing arm action begins, there should be one long pull on the javelin in a continuous flowing movement. A pushing action sees an interrupted, jerky movement during which the force that is being applied to the javelin is interrupted.
Deliver the javelin a distance back from the foul line that allows an effective follow-through without risking over-stepping the line after a full-force throw. It is not uncommon for an elite thrower to deliver the javelin with their front foot up to two metres behind the foul line. Trying to let go of the javelin right up against the foul line can lead to a greater chance of stepping over the line and/or a hesitant, tentative action due to the athlete being fearful of stepping over the foul line.
Over To You!
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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, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.