Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spear Throwing: Precision and Accuracy

With all of the hi-tech gadgetry that we’ve access to today, it's hard to imagine a stick as "hi-tech". At one time it was. Clubs and spears were the first tools that man developed to hunt, fish and fight. It's one of the most distinguishing factors in our early evolution. 

Early spears are estimated to have originated a half a million years ago. First as a straight wooden stick, sharpened to a point on one end. Then we attached sharpened stones to improve the balance and penetrating ability. The next big development came with the Bronze Age. The first examples of metallurgy were spear tips. Stronger, sharper and more accurate, these weapons ruled the earth for thousands of years.

Making a good spear was a highly valued skill. Throwing it successfully was even more important. As easy as it sounds, it takes strength and skill to be effective. Today, spear (or javelin) throwing is mostly done as a sporting event. In its early days, it was more a matter of life and death. Providing food and protection hung on one's ability to throw a spear well. Now we do it for fun and sport.

There are many different throwing styles, depending on the need. But there are a few basic things that any thrower needs to understand and they are:
  • Stretching: There's a reason spear throwing is still an Olympic sport. It's hard. Like any physical activity, you need to get your muscles ready for the exertion.
  • Choose Your Weapon: Spears or javelins come in many lengths and weights. Pick one based on your size, strength and desired results.
  • Finding Balance: Depending on how heavy your tip is, the balance point should be about a third of the way back from the front.
  • Having Grip: The balance point of the spear should rest in your hand, palm up. Your thumb points away from target.
  • Stay Straight: As you bring your arm forward, transfer your weight from your back foot to your front. Keep the spear perpendicular to the ground by pivoting your wrist.
  • Follow Through. The throwing motion should continue after you release the spear. Your thumb and forefinger should be the last contact point of your grip.

The different styles, types and sizes all have one other thing in common. If you want to be good at it, you have to practice, practice, and practice some more.

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