Javelin Throw – How to Play?

The One-Step Throw

If you are practising for the first time, then you should probably start from this type of throwing method. This is one of the basic forms of throwing javelin. Let’s analyse it in a step by step procedure.

  • Hold the javelin at a height above your head firmly and position it parallel to the ground.

  • Put your both feet tightly close to each other, facing them in the direction of the throw.

  • Put the palm under the javelin.

  • Pull the javelin back with your shoulder as far as possible. However the position of the javelin should be still parallel to the ground and facing straight towards the direction of throw. This position is popularly known as T position.

  • If you are a right handed thrower, then step forward with your left foot and throw it violently in the forward direction.

  • Without pulling down towards the shoulders, the throwing hand position should be kept high throughout the throw.

In addition to the quick action of the throwing hand, a good forward drive is needed for the right hand side of the body. Before the throw, when you are pulling back the javelin, make sure that your palm is under it all the times. Make a low bend in the elbow and pull the javelin back along with your shoulder keeping the tip of it along your eye level but it should be kept as high as possible.

Quick Action

If you are right handed, then your non-throwing arm is left hand and that is of primary importance for you. At the time of throwing, place the non-throwing hand in front of your body. It is quite natural that after the throw, your non-throwing hand will drop down and will swing towards back in a reaction. Here the thrower must block his left hand. That means it must seize the free movement of the left hand when it reaches close to his/her body.

Free Movement

It is also important to position your body behind your left foot during the course of action. By grounding your left leg properly into the ground, you should form a strong base for throwing. Don’t push your right leg forward instead bend your knee in the direction of throw.


As a mode of initial practise, try to throw the javelin up to a minimum distance of 8-10 metres. Once you get the grip over this technique with rigorous practise, aim for longer distance by throwing your javelin with some tilting angle with respect to horizontal. However; most of the throwers fail at this point in maintaining the tip of their javelin in the direction of throw.

One should make athletic drill of the throwing hand in order to have a strong throw. Keep the right hand and shoulder as high as possible so that your body, left leg and throwing hand (right hand) will make a ”C” shape. To summarise the correct sequence of the throwing hand will be as follows −

  • Drive the elbow up, initiate the throw
  • Drive forward and up with the shoulder
  • Keep the hand high, follow the path of the javelin
  • Turn down the thumb.

Running Throw

After getting a good practise over one step throw, we can move to practise the running throw. This also requires much hard work. Basically the two types of running approach we will discuss over here and they are −

  • The four-stride approach run
  • The ten-stride approach run

Let’s discuss about these in brief.

The four-stride approach run

Here you have to first stand about 7 to 8 meters behind from the take-off point. Hold the javelin firmly with your hand and pull it backwards with your shoulders as far as possible but here also you should point the javelin tip towards the direction of throw and should keep it parallel to the ground. Keep your feet initially close to each other and with small steps start moving forward.

Four Stride

Take-Off Point

Take a small step with the right foot and then with the left. Keep repeating the steps and with a very fast stride finish it with the left foot. Maintain the level of the javelin throughout the session on your eye level. With the last finishing stride your left foot should grasp the ground firmly and you should fling the javelin in the air with vigorous force with an angle of 40 degree.

Some other important aspects of this throw are −

  • Even after the release of the javelin, your left foot must be grounded. Instead do the recovery with the help of your right leg by stepping behind the arc line. It is quite natural that your left leg may bend while attempting to throw, but try to regain it back to straight position before the javelin leaves your hand.

  • Blocking action of the left leg is accompanied by the left arm. It stops the backward movement of the left elbow.

  • Make the forward and down movement of the toe upon the ground during the throw. Keep the toe of the right foot till as much time as you can on the surface.

  • One important movement about the hip is that, it should turn in clock wise direction along with the shoulder during the backward movement of the javelin.

  • The position of the shoulders should be kept in parallel with the run up during the sideway turning.

In the run up, the impulse stride is the longest stride and during this period the athlete needs to land on bent leg. This is because, it will allow the athlete to move his body with a fast stride to have an effective delivery. If you make sure you’re landing with the ball of your right foot, then bending of the leg is achieved automatically. Now let’s discuss about 10 stride approach.

The ten-stride approach run

The athletes those who are learning the playing techniques, for them, four stride approach is good to start with but as you get the grip over it, practise should be done with 10 stride approach. This is the approach that most of the senior athletes do in their routine practise schedule. The length of this run up generally varies in between 17 metres to 21 metres. Let’s discuss the process in a step by step manner.


  • You need to keep both your feet together and should hold the javelin above the shoulder level.

  • Your hip and feet should face towards the throwing arc direction. Now starting from the right foot, take the forward strides.

  • If you are a beginner, then count the first five strides. During the fifth and sixth strides just pull the javelin back along with your shoulders.

  • During the seventh stride, make sure that you have pulled the javelin back fully. During this period the hips completely turns clockwise and your right leg crosses over the left leg. Hence this stride is often termed as Crossover.

  • Make the impulse stride (the last before stride) as much longer as you can. During this phase your left leg should pass your right leg before even it touches the ground and your throw should be low bound one with a forwarding action.

  • At last with a very strong stride, complete the throwing action.

Here couple of things should be noted. First of all an impulsive fast stride can be made at last, by increasing your run up distance to a certain extent. The second last stride is often termed as second crossover because in this step the thrower feels like he is in a floating condition. This has two major advantages.

  • First it does the blocking action by locking the left leg upon the ground till the javelin is thrown.

  • Second it helps in achieving a fast last stride.

Fast Stride

Although the bent over of the left leg is natural after the landing of foot, still it should be held as much straight as possible to give an effective block. To make the throw proper, let your left arm move with the running rhythm in a natural flow. It should be kept high and in front.

Another important thing that the athlete should maintain during T position is that, he should keep the level of both the shoulders same. As the left elbow reaches the body, the blocking action is aided by the left arm itself. After throwing action is being completed, recover yourself by landing on your right foot before the arc.

T Position

Fast running aids the throwing speed of the javelin but that does not mean that we will increase the speed to much extent because excess speed has its own disadvantage. Among all the disadvantages, the two most important ones are −

  • Throwing out will be done to the side
  • Javelin can be pulled down

A slight precaution while throwing can prevent the above.

  • Try to maintain the level of the elbow high.
  • Maintaining the level of javelin parallel to the ground.
  • At the time of delivery, use the left arm for blocking purpose and left leg for stretching purpose.
  • Always release the javelin above the shoulder level.
  • After releasing the javelin, chase it with your hand with thumbs being down.