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Eight male javelin throwers were filmed while throwing new-rules javelins during competition at five meets over a 2-year period. Body segment kinematics and javelin release parameters were assessed relative to their contribution to throwing performance. The data suggest that successful throws, as judged by distance thrown, are characterized by higher release speeds, longer last-step lengths, less flexion of the front-leg knee during the final plant phase, and an orderly progression of peak speeds at the hip, shoulder, and elbow from the onset of double leg support until release. Individual variability in performance was associated with differences measured between several throwing variables. Limitations inherent to two-dimensional analysis were identified that highlighted the need for three-dimensional investigation of the javelin throw.
The authors are with the Human Biomechanics Laboratory, department of Kinesiology, Slichter Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1568.