With Olympic Champion Thomas Rohler and Javelin Great Raymond Hecht
What a great chance to hear and see these top javelin athletes show and tell about javelin. At least 60 athletes and 20 coaches were in attendance, soaking up tons of great info over a 3 day period in November of 2018.
Here’s a clip of Ray explaining what happens when you “go forward” (shoulders overtaking the hips) in the throw – essentially he boils it down to these points:
- When you don’t make a strong effort with the right leg/hip, you will fall forward onto the left leg.
- When you fall forward onto the left leg, the right arm (this is all for a right-handed thrower) will drop off of the javelin flight line. We call it dropping the arm, and it’s an effort to stay balanced.
- With a “dropped arm”, the path of the hand dips as the throw is made. Ray makes the point that it takes more time to move your hand along a curved path to the release rather than driving the hand along a straight path.
So what to do about this? Falling off the right leg onto the left and going forward is one of the most common faults in javelin throwing, and it can’t be fixed by simply “trying not to do it”.
This is why it happens:
As the right foot lands, this thrower is in good position.
The right arm is high, the right knee is ahead of the right hip,
the body angle is about right, and the left leg and arm are reaching
out well. These features are seen in good throws.
The good trends mostly continue as the right arm stays back and
the left leg reaches out. But the right leg and hip aren’t actively
driving onto the block.
Here’s the problem: The right leg extends (instead of turning
onto the block leg) and she has to
drop her right arm for balance. It’s a
fall onto the left leg rather than a drive.
Now she’s badly forward and it has taken extra time to drive the
right arm from it’s low position to this higher position. She is also
very late in completing her torso turn – she’s nearly over her left
foot instead of turning well behind it. Since these pictures were
taken, this athlete has corrected these faults and gone on to
become a world class thrower.
Often the problem has to do with a big angle change at the end of the run up (The Pendulum Effect), or jumping up too high in the final crossover. But she looks good in both those points. This athlete’s issue is a lack of actively using the right hip to get the left down sooner and “catch” the throw earlier.
But many throwers land off balance after the final crossover. The right foot is usually too far behind the Center of Gravity (CG) and the athlete gets driven forward before they can do anything about it. The solution is to experiment with where to put the right food down. The ideal spot depends on the runway speed – slow speed, the foot is only a few inches ahead of the CG. But was the speed increases, the right foot needs to land farther ahead to ensure there’s no”fall” onto the left foot.
This is good right foot placement for the speed of her approach.
This thrower has a similar non-block leg placement ahead of his CG.
The problem is that he’s running twice as fast! Consequently he
pitches forward under the throw.
The Takeaway: Do your run up so that you can drive your hip onto your block without getting driven forward, as we see Thomas Rohler doing here. He turns from sideways to forward-facing well behind his left foot. This is what Ray is explaining in this clip.
Of course there was tons more great information, funny stories, and good moments in this clinic, far too much to include in one article. But this one point can be quite helpful for most throwers.