Category Archives: Javelin

How to Teach the Over-the-Shoulder Action in Javelin Throwing

Teaching Techniques for Javelin Throwing

Are you looking to help improve a young athlete’s javelin throwing skills? One crucial aspect of the throw is the over-the-shoulder arm action. This action influences the velocity at release, which is one of the main determinants of distance achieved.

The snap of the arm is a critical component of the over-the-shoulder throwing action. It involves the rapid extension of the arm, creating a whip-like motion that increases velocity. The key is to apply force at the right time and in the right direction to achieve maximum speed.

Here are some considerations to help you teach the over-the-shoulder arm action in javelin throwing:

1. Early Modification for Beginners

For beginners, pulling the javelin over a shorter distance or reducing the length and/or weight of the implement can help with control. The action is best learned with a modified implement. This allows beginners to focus on the proper technique without the added challenge of handling a full-length javelin.

2. Reverse Chain the Learning Process

Reverse-chaining the learning process can be helpful. Start by focusing on the final part of the throw and work backward. This approach can help you identify and correct errors early in the learning process. Beginners can use a dart-throwing-like action with minimum withdrawal. Encourage a flick of the wrist with a pull on the back of the javelin’s grip.

3. Analogies for the Javelin Arm Action

Here are 5 analogies to visualize the javelin arm action:

  • Overhead Tennis Serve – powerful forward motion of the arm and hand over the shoulder.
  • Overarm Ball Throw – pulling the ball over the shoulder and following through after release.
  • Cracking a Whip – rapid arm extension creates a whip-like motion, generating speed.
  • Giving a High Five – forward motion of the hand above shoulder height.
  • Painting a Ceiling – forward stroke along a straight line from behind the head with a brush.

NOTE: While you can use analogies above to broadly understand the arm action, be aware that the grip required for the javelin throw is different. Also, applying velocity effectively along a javelin – a narrow and exact path with little margin for error – creates an additional challenge.

If you have a young javelin thrower in your life, encourage them to work on their over-the-shoulder arm action. Provide them with the modifications and analogies listed and help them practice regularly. With your support and guidance, your young athlete can develop their skills and take their throwing to the next level.

Further Reading

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

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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