Illustrated Javelin Throwing Technique

Man Throwing a Javelin
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Javelin throwing can be stressful on your arm and shoulder, so proper technique is particularly important in this event. The following introduction to javelin throwing offers a step-by-step description of basic javelin technique. Beginners may want to try all three grips and use the one that feels most comfortable. If you decide to get serious about the javelin, it's a good idea to develop your skills under the guidance of a throwing coach.

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Runner carrying dirty pole
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The javelin should be held horizontally, in the palm of your hand. There are three different grip styles: 1. American Style (grip the cord between the thumb and index finger); 2. Finnish Style (Grip the cord between the thumb and middle finger); 3. Fork Style (Grip the cord between the index and middle fingers). Whichever style you choose, the javelin will always rest in your palm, with your palm facing up.

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Preparing for Acceleration

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Hold the javelin high, over your right shoulder (for a right-handed thrower), with your elbow up and pointed forward. The javelin is aimed in the target direction with the point tipped slightly down.

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Begin running and accelerate smoothly toward the throwing line. Run straight ahead with your hips perpendicular to the target area. Maintain the javelin’s position. Beginners will generally use fewer than a dozen strides before throwing. Experienced throwers may use 13 to 17.

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With your final two strides, turn your body so your left hip (again, for a right-handed thrower) is pointed toward the target area. The left leg crosses over the right as you pull the javelin back. Your throwing hand should be at shoulder-height and your arm straight.

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Begin the Throw

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Plant your left leg and push off with your right. Turn your hips so they are again perpendicular to the target area as you transfer your weight forward. Then bring your arm up and forward, keeping your elbow high.

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Complete the Throw

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Release the javelin while your throwing hand is as high as possible and is ahead of your front foot. Follow through completely.