Description of Javelin Throwing for Kids

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The javelin is a wooden spear that measures about 8 feet long and is shaped like a long, thin pole. The javelin throw is part of the Olympic Games and other track and field competitions around the world. Men throw a slightly longer javelin than women do, but the technique is the same for both.


A grip is wound around the middle point of the javelin, and competitors must keep their hands on this grip or they will be disqualified. Men and women must throw the javelin overhand, as you would to throw a baseball pitch. The javelin thrower is not allowed to twist or turn his body for more power, but is required to run a short distance to gather momentum prior to the throw.


The javelin thrower holds the javelin in her dominant hand. The hand grasps the javelin with the palm facing upward so that when the javelin is held up, the thumb faces the back of the body. The type of grip you use is up to you, but you have to keep your fingers in the grip area and throw overhand. The thrower holds the javelin up near her shoulder while starting the run approach to the throwing line.

The javelin thrower runs toward the target area, keeping her hips facing forward, or perpendicular to her throwing area. As the thrower reaches the end of the runway, she pivots so that the hip opposite of the arm holding the javelin is now facing the target area.


The runner reaches the end of the runway and the foot on the opposite side as the throwing arm plants firmly into the ground. The arm holding the javelin is now at shoulder height, held straight back over the shoulder, with the javelin horizontal or even with the ground. The other foot crosses in front, allowing body momentum to drive the javelin-holding shoulder forward.


The running lane for launching the javelin is just over 30 yards in length, allowing the thrower to build up speed and momentum for his throw. The thrower holds the javelin cocked and ready in his hand, raised toward the shoulder. When the thrower reaches the limit of the "runway," he launches the javelin into the air. The javelin is released when the thrower's hand is as high above the shoulder as possible and the arm has begun to arch forward. The arm follows through, taking a downward path toward the hips and knee after the spear releases from the hand.