Javelin Technique Explained

Think of all throws having three phases, a beginning, a middle and end and in each phase there are several sections. The beginning is the start and run (body develops speed and rhythm), the middle or transition (which places the body and javelin in the correct position for throwing) are the crossovers and the end is the release (delivery).

Within these sections are the behaviour goals we are looking to achieve in pursuit of good technique. Like other throwing events the rhythm on delivery is important and should be 1-2,3.

The following sequence is written for a right-handed thrower.


  • The athlete stands with the javelin in their right hand held around head height facing the direction of the throw.
  • Shoulders and hips are square to the front
  • As the athlete moves forward they build from a jog to a run
  • Beginners are recommended to start with 9-11 paces, whereas most elite athletes will use a run-up of between 25-30 metres


  • A couple of paces before the crossovers commence the athlete will start to draw the javelin back behind them
  • Most athletes have a marker on the track where they start the crossover phase
  • Generally around the (elite) fifth pace before the throwing position is achieved
  • This is initiated by the right leg going out and across the left leg


  • At the beginning of the crossovers, the athlete starts to move sideways and the left hip starts to face the direction of the throw
  • The left arm goes back across the body as legs cross
  • And the javelin is drawn back fully by the throwing arm
  • The penultimate step is the impulse step when the right knee (leg) pushes off to achieve the plant and then release (last push off of the right leg) with the rhythm 1-2,3
  • Left foot is 1 and impulse step with the right leg is 2, and 3 is the left leg
  • Give enough time between 1 & 2 otherwise, athlete will run forward into the throw releasing in front of the left leg
  • As the athlete comes out of the crossover, the correct throwing position of the javelin and body is essential to allow an efficient transfer of energy from the athlete to the implement
  • Position of Javelin and shoulders – alignment should be parallel with javelin slightly higher
  • Left (lead) leg foot on ground heel down left arm bent in front
  • The throwing arm held as far back as possible


  • Left-arm action upon landing of lead (left) leg is to pull the (left hand) fist to the left shoulder as if performing a single-arm curl
  • Don’t be too aggressive as this can cause over rotation
  • Right arm action needs to bump the Javelin through the point of the throw to allow efficient transfer of energy
  • Visualisation of right arm/shoulder pronation – body resembles a bow
  • Left (block) leg pointing towards infield, right leg back then rotate right hip (toe/heel block) and the feeling is like trying to smack a wall with a hammer (similar to cracking a whip) with release point just in front of the head and left (block) foot
  • Block in order to achieve acceleration so the javelin is released in double support phase (both feet on the ground)
  • Don’t run through so that the release beyond the left foot


  • Because of the forces generated the athlete’s body is forced up and over the straight left (block) leg and after release, the athlete continues forward with the right leg coming forward to prevent fouling

by John Painter