Wednesday 31st October, 2018
The Welsh Javelin Group hosted their first Open Javelin Coaching Session of the 2018/19 season at Swansea University’s athletics facility on Saturday morning. With close to 15 young athletes, along with their parents and coaches in attendance, the day started with a brief overview of Javelin throwing and an introduction from lead coach John Davies, assisted by Richard Tidball. The young athletes were also introduced to Welsh u17 Javelin Record Holder, Bethany Moule, who spoke about her experiences and development through the age groups as a thrower.
When asked about the positive impact of the Open Coaching Sessions, Bethany commented; “It’s great to work with people who have an interest in Javelin and for them to gain insights and ideas from our sessions. Most of the athletes that attend are young and it’s brilliant to see the enthusiasm and interest they have in the event. It allows me and the other athletes in the Welsh Javelin Group to pass down our experience to the younger generation.”
The first activity of the day involved the young athletes going through a variety of mobility and strength & conditioning exercises with lead Javelin coach Nevel Clarke. Each activity was explained and demonstrated by silver medallist at the 2018 Welsh Senior Championships, Nathan James, with young athletes following Nathan’s lead and performing the exercises themselves. During this time, fellow coaches John and Richard provided a detailed explanation to the onlooking coaches and parents as to why certain activities were being performed, and their importance towards overall performance – not only in throwing the Javelin but in a wide variety of athletic events.
Next, the athletes were invited outside for some Javelin specific work, starting with the ‘carry phase’ which focused on getting athletes used to carrying the Javelin in the correct position. After having the opportunity to practice the carry phase, athletes moved on to work closely with coach John Davies on the release phase and were given fundamental technique pointers to focus on when throwing the Javelins. During this period, coach Richard was again providing technical feedback and information to the onlooking parents and coaches and providing examples of how the exercises could be implemented at their own clubs or training sessions.
During their Javelin release phases, each of the young athletes were filmed, before being invited back inside to analyse their technique and identify specific technical pointers that were emphasised outside during the carry and release phases. The video analysis allowed young athletes, along with their parents and coaches to identify strengths and weaknesses together and use the pointers as a platform for future development and a reference point for the following Open Javelin Sessions throughout the winter.
Commenting on the incorporation of video analysis into her training, Bethany said; “We as a group use video analysis every technical session and it is very beneficial to be able to break down the throw in order to pick up on any faults or areas of improvement. For many of the athletes attending, it is their first time using slow motion technology and it is great for them to be able to get a full technical analysis from the coaches and for them to be able to watch their throws and see any faults for themselves.”
The 2-hour workshop concluded with athletes being given the opportunity to see Nathan and Bethany practice a series of throws with coach Nevel, focusing on their technique and transition through the phases of their throws. They were also given an opportunity to view the gym facilities at the indoor athletics facility, before departing for the day with smiles on their faces – and many athletes signing up for the remaining Open Javelin Coaching Sessions taking place over the course of the winter.
All athlete spaces have been filled for the next Open Javelin Coaching Session on Saturday, 24th November, but coaches and school teachers are still encouraged to come along and observe. More information can be found here