施法者的美国学名来自阿兹特克语Nahuatl。当他们抵达墨西哥并发现阿兹特克人拥有可以刺穿金属盔甲的石头武器时，西班牙征服者记录了这一事件。该术语首先由美国人类学家Zelia Nuttall [1857-1933]注意到，他根据绘制的图像和三个幸存的例子撰写了关于1891年中美洲atlatls的文章。全球使用的其他术语包括喷枪，woomera（澳大利亚）和propulseur（法语）。投掷者使用的动作类似于上手棒球投手的动作。投掷者用手掌握住atlatl手柄，用手指捏住飞镖杆。她在她的耳朵后面平衡，停下来，指着她的另一只手指向目标;然后，随着一个运动，好像她正在投球，她向前挥动轴，使其在飞向目标时滑出手指。 atlatl是一块略微弯曲的木头，象牙或骨头，长度在5到24英寸（13-61厘米）之间，宽度在1-3英寸（2-7厘米）之间。一端钩住，钩子装入单独的矛杆的轴端，其长度在3到8英尺（1-2.5米）之间。轴的工作端可以简单地被削尖或被修改以包括尖的抛射点。 Atlatls经常被装饰或涂漆 – 我们拥有的最古老的雕刻精心雕刻。在一些美国的情况下，在长矛上使用了横幅石头，雕刻成蝴蝶结形状，中间有一个洞的岩石。学者们一直未能发现增加横幅石的重量会对操作的速度或推力产生任何影响。他们认为横幅石头可能被认为是飞轮，稳定了长矛投掷的运动，或者在投掷过程中没有使用它，而是在atlatl静止时平衡矛。 atlatl的技术是杠杆技术，或者更确切地说是杠杆系统，它们一起组合并增加人类上手的力量。投掷者的肘部和肩部的翻转动作实际上增加了投掷者手臂的关节。正确使用atlatl使得长矛辅助狩猎成为有效的目标和致命体验。在整个运动过程中，atlatl保持水平并且飞镖在目标上。与棒球一样，手腕在末端的按扣赋予了大部分速度，并且距离越长，距离越长（尽管存在上限）。正确抛出的5英尺（1.5米）长矛的速度为1英尺（30厘米），每小时约60英里（80公里）;一位研究人员报告说，他在第一次尝试时通过他的车库门放了一个atlatl飞镖。经验丰富的atlatlist达到的最高速度是每秒35米或78英里每小时。有关atlatls的最早安全信息来自法国的几个洞穴，可追溯到旧石器时代晚期。法国早期的atlatls是艺术品，例如被称为“le faon aux oiseaux”（Fawn with Birds）的神话般的例子，一个20英寸（52厘米）长的雕刻驯鹿骨头装饰着雕刻的北山羊和鸟类。这个atlatl是从La Mas d’Azil的洞穴遗址中回收的，建于15,300至13，300年前。在法国多尔多涅河谷的La Madeleine遗址中发现了一个19英寸（50厘米）长的atlatl，有一个雕刻为鬣狗肖像的手柄;它是在大约13000年前制造的。 Canecaude洞穴遗址的历史可以追溯到大约14，200年前，其中包含一个以猛犸象形状雕刻的小型atlatl（8厘米或3英寸）。迄今为止发现的最早的atlatl是一个简单的鹿角钩，可以追溯到Solutrean时期（约17，500年前），从Combe Sauniere遗址中找回。 Atlatls必须由有机材料，木材或骨头雕刻而成，因此该技术可能比17000年前更早。用于推力或手抛矛的石头比用于atlatl的石头更大更重，但这是一个相对的尺度，尖锐的末端也会起作用。简单地说，考古学家不知道这项技术的年龄。
The American scientific name for the spearthrower is from the Aztec language, Nahuatl. The atlatl was recorded by Spanish conquistadors when they arrived in Mexico and discovered that the Aztec people had a stone weapon that could pierce metal armor. The term was first noted by the American anthropologist Zelia Nuttall [1857–1933], who wrote about Mesoamerican atlatls in 1891, based on drawn images and three surviving examples. Other terms in use around the globe include spear thrower, woomera (in Australia), and propulseur (in French). The motion used by the thrower is similar to that of an overhand baseball pitcher. The thrower holds the atlatl handle in the palm of her hand and pinches the dart shaft with her fingers. Balancing both behind her ear, she pauses, pointing with her opposite hand toward the target; and then, with a movement as if she were pitching a ball, she flings the shaft forward allowing it to slip out of her fingers as it flies towards the target. An atlatl is a slightly curved piece of wood, ivory, or bone, measuring between 5 and 24 inches (13–61 centimeters) long and between 1–3 in (2–7 cm) wide. One end is hooked, and the hook fits into the nock end of a separate spear shaft, itself between 3 to 8 feet (1–2.5 meters) in length. The working end of the shaft may simply be sharpened or be modified to include a pointed projectile point. Atlatls are often decorated or painted—the oldest ones we have are elaborately carved. In some American cases, banner stones, rocks carved into a bow-tie shape with a hole in the middle, were used on the spear shaft. Scholars have been unable to find that adding the weight of a banner stone does anything to the velocity or thrust of the operation. They have theorized that banner stones may have been thought to act as a flywheel, stabilizing the motion of the spear throwing, or that it was not used during the throw at all, but rather to balance the spear when the atlatl was at rest. The technology of an atlatl is that of a lever, or rather a system of levers, which together combine and increase the force of the human overhand throw. The flipping motion of the thrower’s elbow and shoulder in effect adds a joint to the thrower’s arm. The proper use of the atlatl makes spear-assisted hunting an efficiently targeted and deadly experience. The atlatl stays level and the dart on target throughout the motion. As with baseball, the snap of the wrist at the end imparts much of the velocity, and the longer the atlatl, the longer the distance (although there is an upper limit). The speed of a properly flung 5 ft (1.5 m) spear equipped with a 1 ft (30 cm) atlatl is about 60 miles (80 kilometers) per hour; one researcher reported that he put an atlatl dart through his garage door on his first attempt. The maximum speed achieved by an experienced atlatlist is 35 meters per second or 78 mph. The earliest secure information concerning atlatls comes from several caves in France dated to the Upper Paleolithic. Early atlatls in France are works of art, such as the fabulous example known as “le faon aux oiseaux” (Fawn with Birds), a 20 in (52 cm) long carved piece of reindeer bone decorated with a carved ibex and birds. This atlatl was recovered from the cave site of La Mas d’Azil, and was made between 15,300 and 13,300 years ago. A 19 in (50 cm) long atlatl, found in the La Madeleine site in the Dordogne valley of France, has a handle carved as a hyena effigy; it was made about 13,000 years ago. The Canecaude cave site deposits dated to about 14,200 years ago contained a small atlatl (8 cm, or 3 in) carved in the shape of a mammoth. The very earliest atlatl found to date is a simple antler hook dated to the Solutrean period (about 17,500 years ago), recovered from the site of Combe Sauniere. Atlatls are necessarily carved from organic material, wood or bone, and so the technology may be much older than 17,000 years ago. The stone points used on a thrust or hand-thrown spear are larger and heavier than those used on an atlatl, but that’s a relative measure and a sharpened end will work as well. Simply put, archaeologists do not know how old the technology is.