AW promotion: Coach David Turner talks through some of the key points in javelin selection

Choosing the right implement in the throws disciplines can be a nightmare. Let’s be honest, we’re all initially attracted by the paintwork, and surely paying more will get you better equipment, right?.. Wrong. Throwing the wrong discus, shot, hammer or javelin can knock metres off your result, and at worst can result in injury.

So how are you supposed to know the difference between the many choices, especially when the product descriptions all say ‘this is a precision engineered implement and when thrown correctly can add x% to your distance’. Of course the answer is complex, personal and largely down to experience. Equipment supplier Neuff Athletic has been working with some of the top UK coaches to shed some light on the conundrum.

READ MORE: How to choose the right discus

READ MORE: How to choose the right shot put

READ MORE: How to choose the right hammer

In the final article of a four-part series, here David Turner, who is Loughborough University’s head throws coach and England Athletics talent event lead for javelin, talks all things javelin.

It is very tempting to choose a javelin by the colour of the paint, but the differences between the types are substantial and will make a real difference to your development. Turner sees far too many promising throwers’ careers cut short by elbow or shoulder injuries caused by throwing inappropriate javelins at an early stage.

His advice on questions to consider include:

HOW FAR ARE YOU THROWING?

Javelins tend to be distance or flexibility rated, indicating how far they need to be thrown in order for their natural correction to land tip-down. If you try to throw a 70m javelin 30m, it will not be in the air long enough to auto-correct, so even if you manage to beat your PB, it will almost certainly be a no-throw as it lands flat or on its tail.

HOW DEVELOPED IS YOUR TECHNIQUE?

Top end javelins can be very unforgiving of underdeveloped technique, so beginners are better off with beginner implements which enable them to really learn the skills and technique for optimum throwing without injury or disappointment in competition.

WHAT HAND FEEL DO YOU LIKE?

While there is a lot of standardisation in the construction of javelins, there are still differences in the grip thickness, paint texture and balance. This is very personal, so really trying out a few different javelins in your hand, or better find one to try out, is the best way forward.

MORE EXPENSIVE ISN’T NECESSARILY BETTER

Aluminium javelins are usually more affordable because they can be produced more easily than steel javelins. Carbon or composite javelins tend to be the least flexible and are designed with elite throwers in mind and can often lead to injuries with developing throwers.

Don’t assume the more expensive a javelin is, the further the distance for every thrower. It is crucial for throwers’ long-term development that we resist choosing a javelin based on the cost or paintwork.

Do you need help choosing the right discus, javelin, hammer or shot?

Ultimately, to choose the right throwing equipment, you need advice from your coach and the chance to try a few different implements. Not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a good coach, so the authors of this four-part series – coaches Stuart Carlaw, Paul Wilson, Gary Herrington and David Turner – have agreed to help you with your decisions by offering video consultations. Take a video of you throwing your current implement and answer a few questions about your training and one of these expert coaches will review your throw and suggest 2-3 implements, along with reasons, to help you spend your money wisely.

Visit bit.ly/ThrowsCoach to take advantage of this fantastic offer.

Also, feel free to drop by and try the feel of different implements if you are in the South West. Neuff are able to host customers by appointment in a clean, socially-distanced manner. Contact [email protected] for more information.

» Click here to learn more about equipment supplier Neuff, which is continuing a long line of service to aspiring athletes

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