I think its about time for some more training discussion.

The topic I want to talk about about is balanced training.

As javelin throwers, obviously, we all have to throw...and throw...and throw. That much is simple. But preparing your body to be able to handle increased pressure in training and competition takes a little extra thought.

We all do many, many drills with throwing as well as many drills that address general athletic ability, explosiveness, and speed. Truly, there are too many drills to name and every thrower has their favorites. There is more then one way to skin a cat as well as throw a javelin very far.

What percentage of the drills we do have direct impact on our javelin throwing. The correct answer is all of them. The truthful answer is probably not enough.

Training with Jeff and Tom and talking with them I have started to change my training to reflect the statement that all drills should be javelin specific. Even an exercise as simple as sprints should reflect that you are a javelin thrower. Instead of hard driving, teeth clenched, "fast as you can go" sprinting, to correctly prepare for our event you should always run in such a way as to reflect your movement during the throw: chest up, neutral body position, smooth acceleration, and no tension.

The same goes for other drills like med ball throws and jumps. Instead of doing 1000's of endless, mindless repetitions with ball drills, you should try to achieve your volume of throws while paying attention to the posture, the positions, and the specific movements in each of these drills that will give you direct payoff in your javelin technique. Forget how hard or how far the balls are flying, see how well you can throw them in the constraints of correct javelin technique: a straight blocking side, a fast and tensionless right foot action, and a quick hip action that brings you up and over - while staying behind - the blocking side. Don't sacrifice length of pull or relaxation during the throwing movements for ANYTHING.

Any mistake made during training with balls, jumps, weight lifting, or simulation drills are being repeated 1000's of times without correction - thereby laying down incorrect patterns of muscle movement that with magnify themselves when you throw the javelin....even more so when you add speed and distance to your approaches.

One example of this was evident at the Florida Relays this weekend. During the warm ups every javelin I saw go out was almost flawless - no vibration, flat and low trajectories. All the competitors had beautiful accelerations in to solid plants. When the meet commenced all of that disappeared! People were open at the plant, javelins were being lost high and off alignment. A lot of girls and guys lost some awfully big throws because of it.

Why did this happen? It seems to me that people have different ways of throwing the javelin....easy drill throws and then all out, tense, hard as you can throw it competition throws. I'm telling you all that this will kill you in meets!

Every rep, every throw, every drill you do should reflect what you do on a perfect throw....now that is almost impossible to do with regularity, UNLESS you force yourself to keep form all the time. Only perfect practice makes perfect! Write that down in your log books (which you should keep all the time) and go out and do it.

As a side note, all movements should be repeated with the opposite hand....while this may not be practical - or safe - at full approach velocities and intensities, every effort should be made to be as ambidextrous in your training as possible. Do not forget about the non-throwing side of your body because this will be the side that will sneak up and kill you with injuries. If you do five crossover runs with the javelin in your throwing hand, take the time to do five the opposite way...however uncomfortable it feels, it will get better with time. When you warm up with ball throwing or easy stand throws, take the time to do as many with the opposite hand. Throw easy, try to mimic your throwing form and your throwing will improve.

It is said that Lusis would only throw left handed the day before meets. It gave him a chance to really think about technique, improve his mobility, and improve his body coordination to be able to FLY down the runway like he did and get awesome results.

Lastly, how many of us truly address our technical flaws? We all have favorite exercises that get done no matter what...for me it is two handed ball throws against the wall and my weigh lifting. I love to do it. But at this point of the year I am forcing myself to address my technical weaknesses regularly.. the things that will affect me in the full run-up. I plan do lots of work on my penultimate and simulating the pressure of the plant at speed. Only by specifically addressing these points will I be able to chance how I throw during competition. Its not easy, but no one ever said that doing well at this sport, or anything worthwhile, is easy.

All right, enough from me. I welcome your comments.
Training with Balance
By: Dr. Mark Fletcher

NOTE:  article written April 2000