Your Guide to Finding the Right Stuff
Learn more about this tough and exciting event! Check out our primer to glean tips for maximizing power and becoming a better athlete. Success starts and ends with your hard work, but proper training equipment can make all the difference as you strive for your next PR.
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Taking Your Shot
Like all throwing events, shot put is about a lot more than just the arm—it’s a full-body effort! There are two techniques for harnessing that power: rotational and glide. Here’s what each one looks like for a right-handed thrower.
Note: Athletes must hold the shot properly, whichever method they use. Fingers should be wide, elbow parallel to the ground. Shot should be pressed firmly into neck just below the jawline, with thumb pointing down.
- The athlete starts by facing away from the field, with weight on her dominant leg.
- Athlete steps back with right foot, rotating body a quarter turn to the right and extending left arm to the side to use for counter-balance during spin.
- With shoulders level, she pushes off her right leg and pivots on her left foot.
- She sweeps her right leg around, planting her right foot in the center of the ring, then continues the spin to land on her left foot near the front of the ring. Left arm is fully extended towards the target and left shoulder is lifted.
- The athlete’s throwing shoulder is now lower than her left side. She shifts her weight over her right foot, with right leg slightly bent. She rotates forward, shifting weight to her left foot while thrusting shot upwards at a 45° angle. She pushes up with her right leg (power position) to release the shot.
- Finally, she pivots on her left foot and lands on her right, hopping to maintain balance and avoid fouling.
- The athlete starts facing the side. She keeps weight on her right foot and bends her knees as if she is moving back into a seated position.
- She draws her left leg back until the toes of her left foot line up with her right heel.
- She twists to the left, pushing off her right foot to “glide” to the front of the circle. This allows her to develop more power through momentum.
- Feet land at the same time, with the left foot just behind the toe board, the right foot in the center of the ring. Right leg is bent.
- Athlete pivots, keeping her right elbow up as she shifts her weight to the left. She moves so her hips are square, facing forward.
- To release, she keeps her left side firm and punches her right arm up and out to complete the throw.
- Practice without any weight first. Add the shot once your form is correct.
- If you flick your hand at the end of throw to add some power, don’t overdo it. You’re risking serious wrist injury!
- Be sure to stretch before AND after you throw to warm up and relax muscles.
Shot Puts Terminology
A throw is disqualified when any body part comes into contact with the area outside the ring, or the shot lands outside the throwing sector.
When body weight is transferred to dominant side with a slightly bent knee and opposite arm fully extended (“cocked” position).
The act of “throwing” the shot (i.e. not what you do with a golf ball on the green!).
Upward thrust of dominant arm to propel the shot at a 45° angle into the throwing sector.
(Aka the “throwing circle) area designated for athlete to perform the steps of the throw. Usually defined by an aluminum circle.
The inside of the throwing circle, where the athlete’s front foot ends up at release.
Shot Put Selection Charts
|Women from H.S. through age 49||4.0 kilo.|
|Women age 50 plus||3.0 kilo.|
|Boys H.S.||12 lbs.|
|Men to age 49||16 lbs.|
|Men 50-59||6.0 kilo.|
|Men 60-69||5.0 kilo.|
|Men 70 plus||4.0 kilo.|
What Shot When?
Cast-iron shots are best for practice, as they are more durable. See: Iron Shot Puts
A shot with a smaller diameter will help beginners gain control. Try: Lathe-Turned Iron Shots
Lathe-turned steel shots have the maximum legal diameter. When thrown effectively, this shot will travel further than a smaller piece. See: Lathe-Turned Steel Shots
Soft shell shots are perfect for indoor meets and practice, and safe for wooden gym floors. Accurately weighted and will retain their round shape. Indoor Soft Shell
Hard plastic shell shots work best on dirt or indoor/outdoor track surfaces. Do not use with wood flooring. Accurate weighting. Indoor Hard Shell
Brass shot puts are expertly calibrated to exact weight and are machine-finished for an easy grip. This is the highest quality shot you’ll find, perfect for advanced and highly competitive athletes. Brass Shot Put
Shot Put Pro Tips
- It may be round, but the shot is not a ball; don’t treat it like one! You’re not really “throwing” it. Instead, think of “pushing” the shot forward through the air.
- Remember: the power of your throw starts in your legs and flows up. The reason you pivot is so you can launch off your bent leg and bring that momentum through to your shoulder and arm.
- Strengthen your wrist by practicing wrist flips: hold the shot in your hand and raise it above your head. Flip your wrist to launch the shot forward. Do this only after you’ve got the basics down—and go easy on your wrist as you’re building strength. Your progress should never come at the price of an injury!
- Always cool down after throwing in training or competition. Stretch your shoulder muscles and try loose arm circles to prevent a build-up of lactic acid.
Optimum Projection Angle
The structure of the human body favours the production of putting force in the horizontal direction more than in the vertical direction. According to current literature for elite shot-putters the optimum projection angle usually lies between 30° and 40°. (Attribution: quinticsports.com)