Basic Shot Put Spin (Rotational) Approach Technique

Tony Dziepak


There are two main approach techniques: the spin and the glide. Both are designed to maximize the real estate in the back of the circle in order to get the thrower into the power position with maximal momentum.


I like to break the basic rotational shot into three phases. In the first phase, the thrower rotates a little more than 180 degree to the South African start position. In the second phase, the athlete drives the right hip across the circle, sprints to the middle with the right leg, then (backward) steps with the left leg to the power position. Finally, in the third phase, the athlete delivers the shot from the power position and follows through.


Phase 1: Stand facing the back center of the circle with toes 3 inches behind the circle edge. Feet are shoulder width, knees slightly bent. Wind up by rotating the shoulder line clockwise while allowing the left toe and knee to point in toward the right knee. Also Let the left arm come across the body. Weight is evenly balanced across both legs. Put the right side (and the shot) back, and forget about it.


Now focus the attention on the left side of the body. During Phase 1, the left side of the body must move in unison. The left toes, knee, and arm must sweep and rotate left 180 degree together, until they are all pointing down the left sector line.


As your left arm sweeps left, you should load the ball of the left foot. That is, put all of the weight on the left foot, and bend the left knee to about 75 degrees (just above parallel). Maintain this 75-degree bend throughout Phase 1.


As you sweep across then rotate left, focus your eyes on the left hand. Follow your left hand around to a high point above the *right* sector line.


Phase 2: Drive the right hip forward across the circle as if you were going to drive it 10 feet out into the sector. Lead with the inside of your right heel. While you are doing this, keep the shot back and forgotton, and keep the eyes focused on a point above the right sector line. This is a "sprint" step, meaning the left foot leaves, before the right foot lands.


Now the line of your hips (imaginary line through your body connecting your left and right hip) should be in front of the line of your shoulders. Maintain this separation throught the rest of Phase 2 into Phase 3.


Place the ball of the right foot down in the center of the circle. Now bring the left foot around stepping back. Pivot on the right foot. Allow the right elbow to come up into the vicinity of the focal point of the eyes.


Hip line should still be infront of the shoulder line, left foot should step down on the left sector line, with right foot fully loaded with a 75-degree knee bend. End of Phase 2.


Finally, Phase 3 is similar to the standing throw from the power position. Please see more on the power position.


Comments: appreciate how natural it is to keep the right (pivot) foot turning in the center of the circle from the final pivot step through the power position and delivery. You don't get this same feeling with the glide.


Drills: After a few standing throws from the power position, work your way back, step by step, through the phases of the spin. First add the last step (second half of Phase 2). I call this the step and throw, although it is commonly referred to as the step and turn. Concentrate on keeping the rightleg loaded and right foot pivoting through the release.


Now do a complete Phase 2 and 3. Theis is called the South African drill. The South African is the complete throw minus Phase 1. It is not a legal throw because you start with one foot out behind. In this drill, concentrate on driving down the sector line and placing the pivot foot in the center of the circle, load the pivot foot, pivot, and deliver.


Now do a full throw, but break before the South African and put your foot down. When you do Phase 1, make sure you load the left leg fully, and the right leg is just touching. Hold for a second. Now rock back on the right leg, then transfer to left for initial momentum for the South African.


Finally, do some full throws. Make sure you turn low and long, with a wide, sweeping right leg to gain momentum. Do not drive across the circle until you are fully turned and facing down the sector line. If you start to lean sideways into the center of the circle before you are in the start of the SA position, you will be 1) off balance, and 2) you will foreshorten the generation of your drive because you didn't sweep the right leg back as far as you could.