Teaching the Shot Put

1.  Holding the Shot:

         Place the shot on the base of the three longest fingers.  Spread the fingers slightly.

         Place the shot firmly against the neck and slightly under the chin.

         The elbow should be pointing outwards with the arm at a 45-degree angle to the body.

2.  The athlete then puts both feet against the toeboard-shoulder width apart and puts using only the arm.  Mark the distance.

3.  The same stance as #2 above, but now add a trunk twist. Mark the distance.

4.  The same as #3 above, but bend the knees, stand up fast, unwind and throw. Mark the distance.

5.  Feet parallel to throwing direction with the left toe in line with right heel.  The feet are pointed 90 degrees away from the direction of the throw.  Assume power position (as discussed in shot put technique) and throw!

         Movement is initiated nearly simultaneously by the right leg and trunk.

         The left leg must provide firm resistance by staying in contact with the ground.  The thrower should feel as "tall" as possible as he or she comes up and over the front leg.

6.  The next step is teaching the glide across the circle.   The purpose of the glide is to arrive in an efficient power position from which the putter can achieve maximum release velocity.

         The "O'Brien Shift":

o    The athlete stands at the back of the circle with the weight on the right foot.

o    From this position, the putter drops down on a bent right leg until the back is horizontal.

o    The athlete next extends the left leg and foot to the toeboard - keeping it close to the ground - and drives off the right leg.

o    The right foot and hips are turned as the athlete is driving across the circle.

o    The athlete lands in a "X" position:  shoulders closed and back with the hips open or to the side.

o    The right foot lands in the center of the circle with the left foot   offset near the toeboard.


Shot Put Technique

A.  Preliminary Position:

1.      Gripping the shot:

         Shot should rest on the base of the fingers.

         Spread the fingers out.

         Push the shot against the neck, close to the chin.

2.      Stance:

         Right foot flat.

         Free arm closed.

         Shoulders and arms parallel.

         Eyes focused 10 feet to the rear.

B.  Crouch:

1.      Conventional:

         Lower body weight onto right leg.

         Keep left knee inwards next to right.

         Achieve a strong, low and closed position.

C.  Glide or Shift:

1.      Imbalance or unseating:

         Sit back towards the toeboard.

         Delay leg thrust for an instant.

2.      Right leg drive:

         Drive hard with the whole right foot.

         Extend the left leg in a vigorous manner with a slight diagonal movement towards the board.  This is done at the same time the right leg extends.

         Right leg is fully extended, then pulled under.

         Final contact is from the right heel.

         Open hips, but closed shoulders.


D.  Throwing or Power Position:

1.      Landing:

         Left toe and right heel

         Hips to the side, shoulders closed in a torqued position.

         Right foot between 45 and 90 degrees at or near the center of the circle.

         Left foot near the toeboard.

         Bodyweight on a bent right leg with the body canted to the rear.   Center of gravity over the base.

         Each throw is a summation of forces:  from the slower and stronger muscle groups (legs and pelvis) to the faster and weaker muscle groups (shoulder, arm).

2.      Throwing phase:

         Right leg pivots and pushes the hips to the front, as the weight transfers from the rear leg to the front leg.

         After the drive starts, the blocking action of the left leg, combined with an extension of the right leg, causes the needed lift.

         Left arm bends, drives downward and back.  It can stay up level with the shoulders and still aid in blocking.  Along with a straightening left leg, the backwards moving left arm forms a "block" on the left side.

         Throwing arm pushes at the last instant, as a result of the leg and hip action.

         The release angle is approximately 42 degrees.

         Velocity of the implement at release, angle of release and height of release are the three most important factors in the effectiveness of the throw.   Velocity is the most important component.

         Keep eyes focused on elbow of the throwing arm to prevent "pulling away" of the head.


E.  Delivering:

1.      Release:

         Elbow high and in line with the shot.

         Vigorous wrist snap with right hand whose thumb is pointed downwards.

         Punch with the arm and flip with the wrist.

2.      Recovery:

         After release, the right leg shifts to the front to check the forward motion.

Shot Put Training Drills

1.      Use the light shots with all beginners.  Boys:  6 or 8 pounds; Girls:  5 pounds or even a softball.

2.      Practice the drive off the right heel by holding onto a post and repeating the straightening and bending action of the leg.  Then practice a small hop in this position, while still holding on the post.  However, now have the right leg turn to the side in its correct position.

3.      Place a medicine ball near the center of the circle.  Kick the ball while extending the left leg in practicing a glide.

4.      Do repeat glides in the ring as the athlete works on a solid position in the center.

5.      After #3 above is mastered, the athlete can throw after the stop.   Hit the position, then finish the throw.  Always finish with a few non-stop throws.

6.      Towel drill.  Place a towel three (3) feet into the ring.  The thrower has to land on the other side to get his or her right leg under themselves properly.

7.      With one end of the towel in their left hand, the coach holds the other end as the thrower glides.  This helps to ensure that the left shoulder stays closed and towards the back of the ring.

8.      No-arm drill.  Throw from a stand without extending the right arm.   Keep it near the shoulder.  Use the legs and hips to power the shot.   This is also an excellent drill for teaching the standing throw.

9.      Use a piece of surgical tubing on the right ankle.  Coach holds other end as athlete practices glides with resistance.