Javelin Q & A
Have a question about the javelin, or want to suggest a topic for an article? Please contact Duncan and he will try and answer your questions here.
Learning and Using the Kick Reach Step
Watch a video that shows the Kick Reach step.
Why Reach on the Step Before the Final Crossover Step?
At the Aloha Chat ‘n Chew clinic last weekend, I heard a great question about something on the “Javelin Drills, Skills and Safety” page of my clinic notes.
On the second category, Crossover and Drawback Drills, the coach wanted to know why I suggest reaching with the left foot on the step before the final crossover step. He wanted to know what purpose this reach served.
There are two reasons to reach ahead with the left foot.
First, reaching makes the upcoming slap of the left foot onto the runway far more powerful, resulting in a more complete drive off the left into the final crossover. It’s like taking an extra powerful step into a kick for distance – making the most of the last chance to drive with the left into the kick/throw.
Second, it can help prevent a forward lean just before the final crossover. Leaning forward starts a pendulum effect – a forward lean that goes to a rearward lean with a very problematic changeup in the momentum of different body segments. The hips and legs slows badly while the shoulders speed up. This might sound ok but the result is that the shoulders get driven ahead of the hips at a horizontal or even downward angle – perfect for throwing downward, like a pitcher throwing to home plate, but terrible for javelin where the flightline is upward at 35-40 degrees. Shoulder and arm strain can result from trying to save the throw.
Leaning forward isn’t harmful if it’s finished several steps before the final cross-step. As long as the leanback isn’t done all at once, probably no more than 3-5 degrees per step and not too much for the runway speed, then it’ll work fine. And a left foot reach isn’t really needed if the leanback is accomplished gradually.
But most throwers find it easy to run vertically, then reach with the left foot to begin a slight leanback that progresses as the final cross=step occurs. It’s worth a try to avoid turning the javelin throw into a baseball pitch.