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Tips for Winter Javelin Throwing by Bekah Walton

Winter Beginnings: A Javelin Throw Guide

BY BEKAH WALTON

With the summer season long gone and the coldest months approaching, it is an excellent time to reflect and think about possible ways to improve in the forthcoming year. For some of us, javelin is not our first rodeo, but for others, it may be your first time trying or specialising in the event, and it can be daunting. In this blog post, I have outlined some of my top tips for javelin throwers.

BE AN ATHLETE FIRST AND A JAVELIN THROWER SECOND

Javelin Training Program

There are many studies out there that support athletes competing in multiple sports rather than specialising too young. For anyone who does any other sport alongside athletics, I would absolutely encourage you to do both if possible! 

It can be great to draw skills from different sports and develops you into a well-rounded athlete. The same rule also applies within athletics. Javelin throwers can learn lots of skills from the other events that help to be better athletes and, in turn, help to throw further. For example, sprints training is a fantastic way to improve running and rhythm, whereas jumps are great for explosiveness and technical focus. Not only can this improve physical attributes for javelin and be programmed in as part of your training, but it can also add some nice variety of training and be fun to pick up new skills.

Javelin Training Equipment

1. PLANNING AND GOALS FOR JAVELIN THROWING

Programming and following a plan is a more feasible way to reach your goals. 

All athletes have outcome goals, and these can be broken down into process goals, which are attainable things athletes can work to improve. For example, an outcome goal may be to throw 40m, but the process goal would be to keep the throwing arm longer on delivery. This, in turn, keeps us engrossed in throwing further without a focus on the outcome distance. 

I like to start my winter by breaking down my outcome goals to process goals so I know my focus points and cues in training. This means that in each session, I have clear goals on what to work on, whether technical or physical, making progress a lot clearer. At the end of my training block (a 5-week period for me), I can reflect on my goals and make a decision on how to adjust my course of training accordingly.

Javelin Throw Ball

2. MAKE SURE YOU'RE A WELL EQUIPPED THROWER

Javelin, like all sports, requires equipment. The necessary kit includes spikes and javelins, weight dependent on age group. However, I highly recommend other kit to make the most of your training – firstly a javelin ball.

For a beginner, I would suggest a single ball at the same weight as your competitive javelin weight is all that is necessary, but event specialists may look to buy overweight and underweight balls too. Balls are great for building up throwing volume and conditioning for the shoulder, particularly in the early winter months but are also perfect for beginners to try a hand at javelin throwing without the expense of a javelin. It can also be a great place to start technical changes, as some athletes need help to make these changes with a javelin. They are also an incredibly useful warm-up tool for competitions when there is restricted space to warm up, and they can double up as a roller ball to help your mobility.

I would also recommend purchasing medicine balls if your club does not have any. Medball exercises are a great way to develop power and strength while picking up some technical skills at the same time. It can prepare the body for the forces that javelin evokes on the body while building up throwing volume at the same time.

Javelin Throw Injury Prevention

3. HAPPINESS AND CONSISTENCY

We've all heard the phrase "consistency is key" – and they're right. Consistency is the best way to meet and surpass our goals, just by repeated daily effort.

A great way to ensure consistency is by programming training. We've already mentioned the importance of goal setting, but programming ensures these goals form part of your training. A great way to start programming is by listing the training you would like to do each week and allocating that to available time slots.

Another great way to ensure consistency is avoiding injury. Although easier said than done, there are certain steps we can take as athletes to avoid it. This includes making technical changes to keep our bodies safe whilst throwing, scheduling prehab exercises to have appropriate strength for throwing and ensuring appropriate recovery – more on that later.

However, consistency means nothing if you don't enjoy what you do. Make sure to check in with your mental state, and that training remains fun. It is hard to do well without enjoying the process!

Biomechanics of Javelin Throw

4. TRAIN HARD AND RECOVER HARDER

Training is really important for javelin throwing, and we need it to make progress. But it is equally important to schedule in recovery within the programme. 

Recovery gives the body time to repair and adapt to the training loads and stresses. Our first priority with recovery has to be nutrition and sleep, as it is the only way to fuel the body between our sessions. Recovery time can be taken further and include a rest day, where no training takes place, active rest, ice or hot baths and mobility work.

I am a personal advocate of mobility and like to make sure I get 20 minutes of stretching daily. Smashing your recovery can let your body train even harder than before. Winter gives us time to experiment with different routines, so try lots of different ways to recover so you can find the optimal recovery programme for you.

5. WINTER LAYERS FOR THROWING

Javelin Throw Clothing and Accessories

Most of us aren't fortunate to have indoor training facilities during the winter, so we must brave the cold whilst training. To make this easier and safer, you have to layer up. 

I always start with a base layer, and in the coldest months, I wear a sports skin – my favourite brand is Macron. I then wear a short-sleeved top with a long sleeve over the top. I tried to avoid too many long-sleeve layers, which can affect my range of motion. I like to finish with a baggy jumper over the top, again to stay warm but let me hit all the positions I need. On my bottoms, I wear a pair of leggings and then tracksuit bottoms over the top.

Much like recovery, I have only found this layering option through trial and error – give it a go and see what works best for you!

ABOUT BEKAH WALTON

Bekah Walton Javelin Thrower

Say hello to Bekah, one of our newest bloggers here at Neuff!

Originally a netballer, Bekah quickly discovered a talent for throwing, and hasn't looked back since.

Bekah is a British Champion and now has her eyes set on Commonwealth and Olympic glory!

Instagram: @bekahhwaltonn

Twitter: @bekah_walton

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