The Basics of Throwing a Javelin

By Kristen May , last updated November 13, 2011

Javelin is a track and field event that requires athletes to master the basic steps to throw a javelin as far as possible. The process of throwing the javelin focuses largely on footwork, speed, and body position to build momentum that drives the javelin forward when the athlete releases it. Learn the basic techniques and practice them to increase your throwing distance.

Holding the Javelin

Hold the javelin in your dominant arm, with your hand positioned on the grip in the center of the javelin and your fingers pointed toward the base of the javelin, not the tip. When you prepare to throw, hold the javelin at the level of your head, with your elbow pointed forward and the tip of the javelin slightly downward. The palm of your hand should face up.

Approach and Withdrawal

Run toward the direction you will throw the javelin, holding your hips high and running on the balls of your feet. Begin accelerating your body, but not your throwing arm, about two strides before the crossover point. This will bring the javelin behind you slightly.

Crossover

Take three steps, beginning with your foot on the throwing side of your body, moving your body backwards as you prepare to plant the foot on your non-throwing side. If you are right-handed, your right foot lands, then you quickly plant your left foot just in front of it, followed by another large stride with your right foot.

Throwing

Your final step will be a large stride with your left foot. When it hits the ground, transfer your weight forward onto the foot and begin pushing off with your right foot. Keeping your elbow high, bring your arm up and over your head and release the javelin when your hand is at its highest point. Follow through as you release to propel the javelin forward.

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