World Javelin Conference in Kuortane

Röhler, Schwuchow and Piironen headline World Javelin Conference in Kuortane
European Athletics

Athletes and coaches demonstrate training exercises during the 4th World Javelin Conference held at the Olympic Training Centre in Kuortane.

Olympic javelin champion Thomas Röhler and his coach Harro Schwuchow were among the star attractions at the fourth edition of the World Javelin Conference which was held at the Kuortane Olympic Training Centre between 18-19 November. 

Winning a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro last season has changed Röhler’s life but he has already resumed training in preparation for the World Championships in London next summer. Röhler and Schwuchow revealed some of the training methods which he employed in the build-up to the Olympics and emphasised the importance of creativity and variety in training.  

Röhler and Schwuchow provided a practical training demonstration after the lecture on the merits of developing a fast throwing movement and speed by performing exercises with medicine balls and different-weighted shot puts.

As part of the main theme of the conference “Long Term Skill Development in Javelin Throw,” Hannu Kangas lectured the audience on Friday on the throwing technique of his star athlete Tero Pitkämäki while Terseus Liebenberg addressed the audience on the long-term technical development of South African thrower Sunette Viljoen, who claimed an Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro.

The programme on Saturday morning focused on injury prevention with Mike Barber and Australian Olympian Kelsey-Lee Roberts lecturing on working around injuries and finding alternative solutions. This was accompanied by a demonstration where they showed the audience a variety of alternative exercises using resistance bands.  

This was followed by a presentation from Mark King and Peter Alway from the England Cricket Board on lower back injuries in cricket and the similarities in the throwing motion between throwing the javelin and fast bowling in cricket.

Participants in the 4th World Javelin Conference in Kuortane.
Participants in the 4th World Javelin Conference in Kuortane.

Renowned coach Petteri Piironen, who coaches at the Kuortane Olympic Training Center, then talked about the development of test results to achieve a throw in excess of 85 metres. He is a staunch believer in testing overhead forward throws and points out that all top-level Finnish male throwers have thrown over 21m overhead with the 4kg shot and the women over 18m with the 2kg shot.

Piironen also advocates measuring throwing speed with a radar gun and measuring the distance with tape. He told the audience that world-class male throwers should all be able to throw a baseball 130km/h by the age of 20 and the women should reach 100 km/h. 

Another highlight of the three-day event was a lecture from Hungary’s Tamas Feher from the International Weightlifting Federation on the correct lifting technique to prevent lower back or meniscus disc injuries among young athletes.  

The conference included a total of ten lectures and six training demonstrations over two days and attracted almost 100 participants from 25 nations. 

The World Javelin Conference was the last in a three-part series of conferences supported by European Athletics following on from the International Festival of Athletics Coaching in Formia on 28-30 October and the European Pole Vault and High Jump Conference in Cologne on 11-13 November.