Throwing the javelin engages your entire body, from fingers to toes. A thorough javelin-training regimen requires six-day-a-week, half-hour aerobic conditioning exercises. To prepare for javelin drills, you should begin with a 10-minute warm-up consisting of flexibility routines and light aerobic exercise. Be sure to stretch your calves and hamstrings, holding the stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing. Then stretch your hip flexors, glutes, adductors and lower back. If you are going to lift weights that day, stretch the upper body and arms.
Stand 3 to 5 feet from a pole about 5 feet high. Lower your midsection toward the ground so that your back is bowed and your midsection is stretched and pull yourself back up. Repeat the stretch to lengthen the long muscles of the torso and midsection.
Overhead Basketball Drill
This drill prepares the throwers to carry the weight of the javelin behind the head. Kneel on the floor on a soft surface with the body extended fully from the knees. Hold a basketball behind your head and lean backwards as far as you can without falling over. Pull forward starting with the waist, midsection, upper body and shoulders and follow through with the arms to throw the basketball forward. Release the basketball when you’re leaning forward at 45 degrees.
Standing Throw Drill
Stand with the left foot forward, javelin in your right hand, extended behind your right shoulder. Angle the javelin at 45 degrees at about eye level. Step forward and twist your body as the right foot comes forward, bringing the chest and throwing arm forward so the right arm fully extends as you release. This is a transitional drill designed to instill the fundamentals of the throw. Repeat till the release is smooth.
Five Step Drill
Start with the javelin raised as before, with the point at eye level and the arm extended back as you begin. Take five steps and then make the throw. This allows the coach to critique your approach to the line and you to work on the critical last five steps and release.
Line up in the javelin throwing area and practice the run up to the throw without the javelin. Vary the rhythm of your steps as you run up to the release slightly on each pass. Keep experimenting till you maximize your power and momentum. Once you have found your rhythm, add the javelin to your practice. The coach watches your gait through each approach correcting your technique until your stride is optimized for the throw.
Scratch Line Drill
Practice this drill in a regulation javelin throwing area. Run the full length of the throwing area and end your throw at the scratch line. Throwers compete to see who gets closest without stepping over. The coach watches throwers for proper throwing technique, while the throwers focus on timing the approach to the scratch line.
Practice this skill on a regulation javelin throwing area. Begin to run with the javelin at 45 degrees with the point at eye level. After three or four strides, draw the javelin back to full extension. Pull the javelin back to the start position again, then draw back alternating every three or four strides till you get close to the scratch board. Draw back as you approach the scratch line and then throw. In this drill, the coach keeps an eye on full extension on the drawback and shoulders held parallel to the running direction when fully drawn back.
Hold the javelin in the carry position with the shaft alongside your ear. Bring it and draw back. When fully drawn back, step forward across the front of the body with the right foot. When the right foot comes down, sling the left foot forward just before you twist to release the javelin. The two-step drill repeats the footwork combined with the release until you perfect the release. The coach watches the footwork, making corrections till the feet are in time with the release.
- Photo Credit stretching image by Mitchell Knapton from Fotolia.com
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