How to Throw a Javelin: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Throw a Javelin: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Throw a Javelin: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

Javelin throw, also improperly called javelin throw, is a very popular athletics discipline, both at school and Olympic level. The athlete's goal is to throw a metal-tipped spear as far as possible. Properly shooting the javelin requires excellent mastery of technique, strength and balance. The instructions described in this article refer to a right-handed athlete; if you are left handed consider them reversed. So if you're ready to learn how to throw a javelin, read on.


Part 1 of 2: Preparation for Launch

Throw a Javelin Step 1
Throw a Javelin Step 1

Step 1. Grasp the tool correctly

The javelin must rest in the hand, with the palm facing up, and must be directed according to the throwing trajectory. It should rest along the entire length of the palm and not cross its width. Grab the javelin at the back of the rope grip which is also the center of gravity of the shaft. One finger must be resting over the edge of the string. Make sure the fist is not tight but relaxed and loose. There are three main holds you can choose from. Here's what they are.

  • The American grip: in this case you have to put your thumb and the first two knuckles of the index finger behind the string. Imagine wrapping your hand around the rod normally, except that your index finger is slightly more extended and away from the other fingers.
  • The Finnish grip: this involves putting the thumb and the first two knuckles of the index finger behind the area with the string, with the index finger supporting the shaft of the tool. It is very similar to the American grip, but the index finger is even more extended and elongated, while the middle finger is slightly detached from the ring and little fingers.
  • The "V" grip: You should grab the javelin between your index and middle fingers, at the point behind the string. Imagine making the peace sign and then placing the shaft of the tool right between the two fingers.

Step 2. Prepare for the "Start and Run"

During this phase, also called Cenni_about_technics_of_cyclic shooting, you have to relax the muscles of the shoulder, arm and right wrist while, at the same time, you start a light run. Here in detail:

  • Start with your right foot forward;
  • Lift the javelin high over the right shoulder;
  • Point your right elbow slightly forward while keeping your bicep parallel to the ground;
  • Rotate the palm of the right hand upwards creating a “natural platform” on which the javelin rests;
  • Point the tool in the direction you are running and hold the metal tip slightly down;
  • Make sure your pelvis is facing the direction you are running, perpendicular to the trajectory of the shot.

Step 3. Start the "Run"

Once you've practiced the initial phase for a while, you can try moving on to the actual run-up. At this time you need to run 13-17 steps. For inexperienced beginners this is a rather short ride. For athletes who are involved in competitive activities, the distance to be covered in this phase is between 30 and 36.5 m and is delimited by two parallel lines, 50 mm thick and 4 m apart. Here's how the run-up phase develops:

  • Do not lower the pelvis and run with the forefoot supported;
  • Let the left arm swing perpendicular to the body;
  • Flex the arm supporting the javelin to bring it to its final position.

Step 4. Perform the "parade"

This phase begins with the right foot and ends with two strides. It is important not to lose momentum during this movement.

  • When you are ready for the parade, try to run forward of the javelin, instead of pushing the shoulder and the apparatus backwards (to do this, relax the arm and the shoulder, allow the javelin to reach the point where the limb is fully extended and shoulder rotated).
  • Keep your head in the direction of the shot.
  • Your pelvis must be at right angles to the direction you are running.
  • Move the right leg forward and up to allow the pelvis to assume the correct position.

Step 5. Perform the "Transition"

This is also known as the "cross steps" phase. In this moment you must reach the classic position of the shooter with the body "leaning back" by placing the right foot in front of your center of gravity.

  • Keep your foot on the ground.
  • Make sure the heel is firmly planted on the ground.
  • As your right foot moves forward, lift your left and tilt your torso back to form a 115 ° angle with the ground. This phase ends with the right foot on the ground and the left leg forward and up.

Part 2 of 2: Making the Launch

Step 1. Perform the "Pulse Step"

Move your left leg forward, align your shoulders and hips according to the direction of the shot.

  • Wait for your left foot to touch the ground.
  • Straighten your torso.
  • Face your face in the direction of the shot. At this point the javelin and shoulders should be parallel to each other.
  • Bring the shooting hand above shoulder level.

Step 2. Perform the "Shot"

Throw the javelin when the arm is at the highest point of the rotation. Once the left foot has touched the ground, the left side of the body must be ready to manage and control the thrust of the right leg as it moves up and forward until the pelvis is perpendicular to the shooting trajectory. You should prop your left heel on the ground and push with your right foot.

  • After pushing with the hip, retract the left arm keeping it parallel to the right shoulder; this allows the torso and right shoulder to move forward and align with the pelvis. All of this must happen as you complete the throwing motion with the right arm, supported by the elbow.
  • The right shoulder must finish the movement by moving beyond the left leg. The hand should follow the movement (the shoulder, elbow and hand should move smoothly, just like a whip, where each section that composes it is well connected to the others).
  • Lift your left leg and move your right arm, with the elbow high and close to the midline. The angle of "release" of the javelin should take into account the lift and the fluid dynamic resistance of the shaft. Experts recommend sticking to an inclination of 33 ° to achieve an optimum range.
  • When the arm reaches the peak of the bow, let go of the javelin. By the time the tool is thrown, the arm should be above your head, in front of you and not behind.

Step 3. Go to the "Recovery" phase

You have to go along with the momentum by continuing to move once the javelin is thrown. The shooting arm must draw a diagonal trajectory with respect to the body. If you used your right hand, it should end in front of the left side of your body. The left foot is resting on the ground while the right leg passes it and then stops the momentum. The speed with which you manage to stop depends on the momentum you managed to acquire in the run-up phase. Usually the stopping distance is about 2 meters.

  • All action should end with the body supported by the right foot and the left leg behind you. The right shoulder should be turned to the left and the chest turned in the same direction.
  • Professional javeliners occasionally fall forward due to the high momentum they have managed to accumulate with the run-up, shot and accompanying movement.

Step 4. Keep training

If you want to become an experienced athlete in this discipline or get a good place in a school athletics competition, then you have to persevere. Training for a javelin player is not limited to throwing the apparatus repeatedly, which would only lead to a shoulder and arm injury. In reality you will have to work hard to increase muscle strength, so as to have more shooting power and throw the javelin further and further away.

Remember that the people who can throw a javelin far away are not the strongest or the biggest, but those who have developed the best technique. That said, know that good physical strength will help you in this sport


  • Always check that the elbow of the arm with which you throw the javelin is above the shoulder (also hold the tool between the head and the elbow "protruding" the latter further, if you notice that the javelin moves too far outwards). If you lower your elbow, the javelin will touch the ground with the tail instead of the tip.
  • Try to throw the javelin at an angle of 35 ° with respect to the ground, this way the range will be greater.
  • Imagine a straight line at the above angle passing along the tip and tail of the javelin and reaching a point in the sky. You have to pull the tool with all your power along this ideal line, in doing so you will get a smoother release and a longer range.
  • If you are concerned that the javelin may hit someone along the shooting area, call the person loudly to avoid an accident.