Javelin Throw – Run Up Drills

How to do the perfect Javelin run-up. We have broken this down into three parts starting with a simple walking three-step approach and building to a full run-up. Part one is a walking approach aiming to develop a specific rhythm that will be maintained when greater speed is built upon the runway.

Walking approach

So now we are going to build up the run-up and the starting point is three steps. The very first stage is a 1, 2, 3 rhythm.

  • The thrower starts with their feet together.
  • Starting with the left foot for a right-handed thrower.
  • The Javelin should be held back and high as you walk forward.
  • Drive the outside heel up at the point of throw.

The heel goes up and out which takes the hips forward and starts to bring the body into the throw. Relax the arm and work off the legs with the 1, 2, 3 step rhythm.

Javelin specific rhythm

The next stage is to change the rhythm of the drill into a more Javelin specific rhythm which is 1………2..3 as opposed to the 1.2.3 even rhythm above.

  • Feet together, starting with the left foot for a right-handed thrower.
  • Throwing arm back and up, non-throwing arm up and forwards in the direction of the throw.
  • Practice first without the Javelin to get the rhythm of the legs right. Then with the Javelin.
  • Working off the legs with a nice relaxed arm position.
  • Aim to drive the right foot in front of the left – crossing over rather than just skipping it to meet the front foot.

Javelin Drills – Run Up Part 2

In part 2 of the Javelin run -up we will progress onto a longer run-up by beginning to carry the Javelin overhead during the approach. This will enable a more normal running action. It doesn’t really matter if the point is up or down but round about horizontal is usual.

The Javelin is brought back gently over a couple of strides. There is no need to whip it back quickly. Then we are into the extended short run-up as demonstrated in part 1.

When doing practice throws initially it is not important if the thrower goes over the line although they should avoid running too far onto the grass or concrete at the end.

  • Relax the arm
  • Bring the arm back gently
  • The throw should look effortless
  • We are not trying to hit hard with the arm but it is all coming from the legs.

As confidence builds you can work on a full run-up. The maximum run-up allowed is 33m but for most athletes, particularly beginners this will not be necessary. Again, when practicing the run-up we are not throwing for distance but aiming to keep the upper body relaxed for as long as possible.

The focus to throw as soon as you land on the right foot after cross over is the dynamic hop movement first and extremely quickly. If this is done correctly, the rest will follow.

  • No forcing it
  • Feel the rhythm
  • Be relaxed all the way, particularly with the upper body.
  • The front leg should be solid as you throw.

Javelin Drills – Run Up Part 3

This is a drill for the perfect run-up. It doesn’t really matter if the point is slightly up or slightly down but it does matter if it is pointing sideways as this is likely to result in flight errors. The shoulder should be relaxed and you should aim to have good control over the point of the Javelin.

A common error is moving the point around whilst running up. If this happens then when you draw the Javelin back ready to throw it could end up pointing out to the left or right. The correct technique is to keep the shoulder relaxed and the point perfectly still as you run-up.

We progress the drill to running and drawing the Javelin back. A common mistake at this stage is to lose point control, the Javelin points upwards because the arm drops. The result of this would be a very high throw, probably landing tail first or if the arm is low then the tip would go to the left and the tail would go to the right for a right-handed thrower. This could also place excess strain on the elbow causing injury.

The correct technique would be a good start position, keeping the point still and Javelin right by the head.

This drill is made more challenging and progressed further by changing the foot pattern to a cross over. The same principles about keeping the point still apply.