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Javelin Throw Guide

What Is the Javelin Throw?

The javelin throw is a track and field event where a light-weight spear, the javelin, is thrown by hand and measured in distance. Your typical spear is about 2.5 meters in length (8.2 ft) but ranges in size depending on age and gender.

Javelin Throw Rules
  1. Today, the javelin in terms of size, shape, weight and center of gravity has been redefined and follows the rules of the IAAF.
    • Men's: Javelin must weigh at least 800g and be 2.6 - 2.7m
    • Women's: Javelin must weigh at least 600g and be 2.2 - 2.3m
  2. The javelin must be held at the grip and it is thrown overhand over the athletes shoulder or upper arm. Additionally, the thrower is prohibited from completely turning his/her body in such a way that the back is facing the direction of the throw.
  3. The technique when throwing the javelin follows specific rules that are regulated by the IAAF and may not be manipulated, unlike shot put, discus etc.
  4. Javelin throwers have a runway that is 4m wide and approximately 36.5m long. This runway is used for the purpose of gaining momentum before throwing the javelin. Once it has landed, its distance is measured.
  5. The javelin is thrown toward a sector that measures out to be an angle of approximately 29? and the arc extends outward (25m) at the very end.
  6. A legal throw only counts if the tip of the javelin lands within this sector and the tip of the javelin hits the ground before any other part does.
  7. One round allows for one throw and each competition consists of three to six rounds.
  8. The athlete with the longest distance after every round is pronounced the winner. In the event of a tie, the second-longest distance is taken into consideration.
  9. It is considered to be a foul if any part of the body touches any of the lines.
Javelins and Equipment
Javelin Spears

Javelin weights vary and are available to suit the level of the athlete?s development. Modern javelins are primarily made from steel, aluminum or aluminum alloy and the construction of the javelin must follow the rules of the IAAF. The javelin must contain a head, shaft, and chord grip.

Shaft - makes up the majority of the javelin and must be made of metal. The shaft becomes thinner from its widest point that measures out to be an approximate 20-30mm in the center to the very tip and tail.

Grip - covers a section of the shaft and it is the part that is held by the thrower. It is located in the same spot where the center of gravity is. Most grips contain a non-slip pattern surface and can be no more than 8mm in diameter.

Head - located at the tip of the front of the shaft and can be made of metal only. It ends in a sharp point (the tip) that is also made of metal and determines the outcome of the exact measurement once the javelin has landed. The distance between the end tip of the head must be no further than .8m-1.06 m away from the center of gravity.

For beginners, we recommend using an aluminum javelin because it provides the most flexibility, it is easier to throw, and it is more forgiving when being used for training purposes.

As skill is gradually developed, more experienced throwers are recommended to use steel javelins because they are much stiffer, have less vibration when thrown, and they allow for a more straight-forward flight.

Do I Need Any Other Javelin Equipment

Weight Throwing Shoes: These shoes are specifically designed for weight throwing events so that each competitor can perform safely, comfortably, and effectively. They are constructed with a solid rubber outsole and a centrifugal flex groove that allows for fast rotations and extra support. Additionally, these shoes are tear resistant and durable for all outdoor weather conditions.

There are various styles of throwing or rotational shoes that are available by several athletic brands such as Nike, Saucony, ASICS?, etc. Some are heavier and come with higher sides that give the ankle more support, whereas others are more flexible and lightweight; it really all depends on your preference and what suits you best!

Rubber Tips: Since a javelin acts as a spear, rubber tips are placed at the point of the javelin for safety purposes. In some situations, these rubber tips are required, especially for non-collegiate competitions. Be sure to verify the regulations before each competition!

Indoor Tips: softer and used for indoor competitions to protect the floors and walls.

Outdoor Tips: hard tips that are used on grass fields. (Not always required)

How To Throw the Javelin
Javelin Training Tips
  1. Make sure both the head and body are not affected by the position in which the javelin is held. Typically, when you make the motion of throwing the javelin, your entire body tips back with it.
  2. Drive your hips forward as you throw to elongate the throw
  3. A Nockenball is a training tool that is used by many javelin throwers. It is a weighted ball that improves arm speed, strength and throwing distance. Be sure to buy one that is appropriate for your body weight and strength (typically 600g for women and 800g ball for men) and start out very, very, slowly and carefully. Only give 50%, or what ever your strength can handle at first. Once you feel more comfortable, you will notice a significant difference in meters once you throw your javelin.
  4. When throwing a javelin, instead of moving your front arm, then chest, and finally your throwing arm all at different times, practice moving everything at the same time.
Did You Know?
  • The term ?javeline? comes from Middle English and it was derived from the Old French word javelin, a diminutive of ?javelot?, meaning spear
  • Tom Putskys, who was representing USA at the time, broke the American record for the javelin throw by reaching a distance of 292 feet.
  • The longest throw in Olympic history was recorded in 1976 by Hungarian, Mikis Nmeth, who threw a distance that reached 310.3 feet.
  • Javelin Throw World Record
    • Mens: Jan ?elezn? - 98.48 (1996)
    • Womens: Barbora ?pot?kov? - 72.28 (2008)