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ESPN Coverage of BAS Trainer

By · April 21, 2012 · Filed in Product News & Development · No Comments »

ESPN Coverage BAS Trainer

POCATELLO, Idaho 2/19/2012 – Chris Vogel will readily admit he’s not sure what the future holds for the weighted shoulder throw.
The throws coach from Spokane, Wash., developed what amounts to an indoor event for javelin athletes  minus the arm and the spear  and owns the patents on the equipment.

But it is the Simplot Games that is helping to legitimize it as a competitive event. After two years as an exhibition event, meet director Greg Burch added the weighted shoulder throw as a full-fledged event.

Stephan Smith and Tiler Heiney, both of Roy, Utah, won the boys and girls titles, respectively. And neither one of them had any experience with Vogel’s event until 15 minutes prior to Thursday’s competition.

“I thought it was going to look stupid, but it was fun,” Heiney said.

The weighted shoulder throw takes elements of the javelin and uses the force created in “blocking” to fire a projectile called a “stone” from the athletes’ shoulder.

Vogel said the idea behind the weighted shoulder throw goes back to 1992, when he was coaching a javelin thrower who was having a difficult time learning how to block. Vogel devised a contraption from an old GM seatbelt and a plastic cup, and attempted to teach his thrower the fundamentals of throwing without involving the arm motion.

In the years that followed, Vogel’s device underwent a series of upgrades. The equipment used today is the fifth generation.

There is a strap, like a tight-fitting sling, that goes around the athlete’s upper torso and shoulder. And on the shoulder there is a mounted a small cylinder. Into that is placed a white capsule called a “stone,” about the size of a salt shaker. The stone is a 3.25-inch, 1.1-pound capsule filled with No. 8 shot. It looks like an oversized Tic-Tac.

The thrower uses the same footwork that they would in the javelin, and then at the moment of blocking, the stone flies out of its holder.

Burch said he was skeptical about adding the new event two years ago but did a little research and decided to give it a try. “It’s cool for the javelin thrower who doesn’t get to do anything indoors,” he said. “I looked into it and thought ‘this is a great deal.’ It teaches a kid everything (about javelin) but using their arm.”

Vogel said a study conducted by Eastern Washington University revealed a 98 percent correlation between the mechanics of the javelin and the weighted shoulder throw.

Vogel’s company, BAS Throwing Systems LLC, manufactures and sells the equipment. So far, the Simplot Games is the only track meet to offer weighted shoulder throw as a competitive event. The BAS (the wrap device, pronounced “base”) might find its greatest application as a training tool. It may also find a useful application as a way for amputees to participate in a javelin-like event. And if it has found a home at the Simplot Games, maybe it has a future as an indoor replacement for the javelin.

“I think the greatest (use) is as a training device,” Burch said. “But what does a javelin kid have to do indoors? Nothing. It doesn’t take a lot of space. It’s nothing for us to put that (event) on.”

Meet organizers were able to carve out a much smaller sector on the infield and conduct the competition without any logistical problems. Smith’s winning throw in the boys competition was 47 feet, 8 inches. Heiney’s best throw was 37-3.

“I was hoping I’d have fun with it. It was sort of strange to me. It’s just missing the arm and a long stick,” Smith said.

The competitors Thursday were quick to catch on to the BAS Throwing Systems slogan about throwing “sticks and stones.”

Vogel said he realizes weighted shoulder throw has its skeptics and a long way to go in order to gain widespread acceptance. “I know how badly I’m swimming upstream on this,” he said, referring to the track and field community’s strict adherence to tradition.

Burch, for one, thinks there is a place for it. “As it gets more exposure, I think the value of it will come out,” he said.

BAS Trainer In Action at the Simplot Games

By · March 13, 2010 · Filed in Product News & Development · No Comments »

A Proposal for the Indoor Javelin Event

By · March 11, 2010 · Filed in Product News & Development · No Comments »

“Weighted Shoulder Throw”

A proposal for the Indoor Javelin event

Christopher A. Vogel

BAS Athletics

USATF National Convention



The javelin, as an event, has been functionally limited to outdoor venues during spring and summer. Assorted attempts at winter javelin implements have met with limited success. Essentially, the javelin event is dormant during winter. To complicate and reinforce the issue, throwing javelins at competitive levels for extended periods nearly guarantees injury. The “Weighted Shoulder Throw” has the potential to both act as an indoor javelin event and, using javelin-correct kinetic motor patterns that remove the throwing arm from the throw, the WST offers an extended 100% training effort that significantly curtails the injury rate of javelin athletes.


Given the acceptance of the Weighted Shoulder Throw as a viable indoor javelin event by the USATF, the Weighted Shoulder Throw will be given exhibition status allowing the event to further develop, expand and to be examined by the track and field community.

Questions to be answered

*What is the “Weighted Shoulder Throw?”

*Is an indoor javelin event necessary?

*Is the WST a relevant skill to outdoor javelin?

*What is the opinion of coaches involved in the WST?

* Is there objective data supporting the skills taught by the WST?

*Can the WST fit into an indoor T&F facility?

History in short

In 1992 I was a first year teacher and coach at North Central High School. I had a thrower who was not able to “block”. He would leap off the ground instead. To solve this I mounted a plastic cup on seatbelts that I sewed together. In the plastic cup I placed a ceramic ball. If he jumped off of the ground the ball would go nowhere. If he “blocked”, the ball would be thrown from the cup. I realized I had created a good tool to train throwers and I promptly hid it in the basement.

Fast-forward past engineers, attorneys, business plans and false starts to this past year. The Weighted Shoulder Throw, or BAS trainer, has now developed into its fifth generation as a trainer and has also completed its first test run as a competitive T&F event.

Apparatus Description

The implement thrown by shoulder acceleration is a two-pound, capsule-shaped projectile that is inserted into a plate. The plate is mounted directly over the humeral-clavicle area. The cavity that holds the projectile is situated over where the humeral head and the clavicle meet. The plate is held in place by a flexible body-jacket that holds the plate and projectile over the shoulder. Note: The athlete’s throwing arm is immobilized by looping their thumb through a small hoop mounted underneath the throwing arm’s pectoral area. Thus… the only way to effectively throw the projectile any distance… is to use effective javelin motor patterns.

Indoor Javelin: a necessity?

Indoor T&F is a necessary preparation for the outdoor season. It trains and prepares the athletes for the season ahead. Only the javelin event is dormant. Javelin has found no place in the indoor T&F world. Due to this fact, the javelin athlete is arguably the least prepared athlete for the outdoor season.

It stands to reason that to ensure the safety of javelin athletes, there must be a method developed that not only increases their physical preparation, but protects and furthers the javelin event as a whole.

Relevance of the WST to javelin

The javelin athlete is arguably the most injured athlete in T&F. It is a barbaric event that transfers a dead sprint directly into the legs, torso, and arms of the athlete. Moreover, due to the violent forces placed on a javelin athlete during a throw, precious few full speed throws are performed during a practice period in an attempt to protect and safeguard the athlete. Thus… no other T&F athlete is required to do so much… with so little allowable training.

The javelin thrower has perhaps ten 100% effort throws per training day. Throwing more than that number is unwise. So… how do we as coaches increase the training load while protecting the javelin athlete?

The WST removes the wildcard, the arm, from the throw. By removing the arm from the throw, correct, and incorrect, motor patterns of a javelin throw are more clearly seen and thus trained. Since the arm is the most injured point on a javelin athlete, limiting the use of the throwing arm is highly beneficial. To add to this, by being able to quadruple the number of full speed throws, while leaving the arm untouched, we as coaches can increase the training load exponentially… as well as protect the athlete.

Do coaches support the WST?

In the past three years of testing, the involved high schools and universities that have served as testing locations are unanimous in their support. The three high schools that I directly worked with all together share ten top-six medals in the Washington State (WIAA) Track and Field Championships over the past three years. Those athletes are now competing for schools such as University of Montana and Eastern Washington University. Marcia Mecklenburg of Eastern Washington University has also fully implemented the WST into the throws program. Last year her freshman thrower, Michelle Coombs, threw 163’ 1” to break into the NCAAs. Community Colleges of Spokane produced Shae Murray and Ryan Weidman, 15th and 17th, respectively, at the last US Olympic Trials. Whitworth University’s Eloise Cappellano placed Alex Hymel and Joey VanHoomissen 5th and 8th place at the NCAA Div III Championships.  If six local schools have produced that much hardware in the javelin event, something must be working.

Developmental Coaching

I had a skinny kid named Justin Graff whom I mentored as a 6th grader. He became my first WST test pupil at the developmental stage.  Justin’s 7th grade Turbo Javelin went 191… in 8th grade 198’2”.  As a sophomore, Justin took 4th in the 4-A Washington State Championships throwing 179’. As a junior he went 191’ to take another 4th place. In Justin’s senior year of high school he went 203’5”. He is now at the University of Montana throwing for Doug Leffler

Is there data to support the WST?

Dr. Jeni McNeal of Eastern Washington University competed a digital matrix study comparing elite javelin athletes comparing the WST motor patterns and 100% efforts with a javelin. The following is a short quote:

“We did a two dimensional kinematic analysis comparing the two performances (WST throw compared to javelin throw).  We found that the results show that there is less than 2% difference between any of the kinematic variables, velocities, accelerations and angles between the two performances. Within an athlete we can easily expect a 1% to 3% on any given day, multiple throws due to fatigue, lack of attention to certain details… there is going to be some minor variation so the fact that we got a 2% variation between the two performances may, in fact, show that they are extremely similar and that the variation was due to the normal variation in performance and not due to the device.”


McNeal, J. (July 2005).  Digital Comparison of Weighted Shoulder Throw to Javelin. Interview.

Sector Description

Given a standard indoor 200m track, the Weighted Shoulder Throw will be conducted from a standard javelin approach runway or other viable surface. Thrown from a standard toe-board into the standard sector measuring, 75 feet to padded implement stopping boards will offer proper room for throws over 60 feet.   Given a standard indoor setup, the Weighted Shoulder Throw sector requirements will be comparable in area to the Shot Put sector. The runway requirement will be roughly 75 feet, though shorter approaches of 50 feet will be standard. Thus… the compact nature of the WST easily fits into most indoor 200m facilities.

In Summary:

Javelin athletes have no home in the winter months. To accompany their dormancy in winter, they are the most at risk for injury of T&F athletes. These issues are solved by implementation of the Weighted Shoulder Throw.

The WST removes the arm from the throw thereby forcing the athlete to master and correct proper motor patterns. The WST will both honor the throwers and protect them as well. What could be more vital to the javelin event?