How to throw a javelin like Thomas Röhler
Ever wondered how the world's best throwers do it? The modern javelin weighs up to 800g, and the stars of the discipline can reach distances exceeding 90 metres, so what's the secret?
In Birmingham last season, we asked Thomas Röhler, the reigning Olympic champion and one of a golden generation of German javelin stars, to give us some tips.
A Diamond Trophy winner in 2014, Röhler has emerged victorious at 10 Diamond League meetings throughout his career. Perhaps his finest moment of all came at the season opener in Doha in 2017, when he stunned the world with a 93.90 metre monster throw which nearly took out a cameraman.
Others, including his friend Johannes Vetter, have since gone further, but it is fair to say that Röhler threw down a gauntlet with that throw, setting the tone for what has been a jaw-dropping few years in the javelin.
"The most important thing about the javelin throw is the javelin itself," he told us in Birmingham. That may sound obvious, but are you sure you would be able to tell the tip from the tail?
At 2.6 metres, the javelin is not the easiest thing to handle, and the Thuringian talked us through his top tips when it comes to the grip, the starting position and the run up.
As the line approaches, a little fancy footwork is in order. The crossovers, Röhler tells us, are not just important for generating power, but also for ensuring that you don't fall over the line once you've let go of the javelin.
Too much of a follow through, and the eagle-eyed referee will declare your effort null and void, so cutting short before the line is paramount, said Röhler, "especially in competition". Having crossed your feet several times before release, the back foot acts as the driving force of the throw, while the left foot blocks to break down the movement.
But the most important thing of all for any athlete is of course to avoid injury. In this regard, Röhler informed us, it is crucial to turn your elbow upwards and under the javelin as you go through the throw.
Granted, it may take you a few hours practice, and we don't necessarily recommend that you try it at home. But a quick look through our tutorial video should give you everything you need to start your own personal charge towards the 90-metre mark.