How to Throw the Shot Put for Beginners
For those who are just beginning to lean how to throw a shot put, the key is to develop proper technique in the throw itself. Advanced competitors use techniques such as the glide, slide and spin to increase their distance, but beginners should focus only on the power throw, which many refer to as fronting out. The power throw is made up of four parts: the gather, the explosion, the release and the follow-through.
Avoid tossing anything out of the ring once you're in the ring. You may not wear a hat or sweatpants during the throw, but if you make a mistake and forget to remove them, simply take them off and drop them inside the ring to avoid a foul. Once you throw, you must also exit from the back half of the ring. If you exit from the front, or your momentum causes you to touch the top of the toeboard or fall out the front of the ring, you will foul on that throw no matter how far you threw the shot.
Press the shot into your neck cheek. Keep your elbow perpendicular to your neck. All four of your fingers should be together behind the shot, with your thumb to the side of the shot, not wrapped around it. During the gather, you will stand with feet together at the front of the ring. If you are right-handed your left foot will be against the board. Step back with your back foot, bending at the hips and knees to lower your center of gravity and gain momentum. Your non-throwing arm should be hanging down almost to the ground as you prepare to explode from the ground up.
Drive off of your back foot, rotating your lower body as you drive up into a standing position. Your legs and hips should rotate first, while you keep your upper body twisted away from the throwing area as long as possible. Just before your legs are completely extended, throw your non-throwing arm behind you, rotating your upper body violently, keeping your chest up at approximately a 45-degree angle.
Push the shot straight out from your cheek as your head turns and moves out of the way of the field. The shot should travel up at about 45 degrees if your chest was up and your arm was perpendicular to your neck. Extend your arm violently and flick your wrists and fingers to gain a few more inches. You know that your release was correct if your palm is facing out to the side of your body, as in a chest pass in basketball. If your palm is down, as in a jump shot, you have dropped your elbow and put yourself at risk of elbow injuries.
Switch the positions of your feet as your body continues to rotate in the follow-through. You cannot get max distance if you stop your momentum. If you exploded correctly you should jump forward slightly. To avoid stepping on or over the toe board, your back foot should land where your front foot began, with the toes pointing the opposite direction. Your front foot should not touch the ground again. As your momentum slows, pivot or hop on what was your back foot, turning your toes each time to slow your momentum. It is not uncommon to spin in a circle after the throw to maintain balance.
Perform strengthening exercises two to three times per week to the necessary strength to throw the shot put. Include upper-body exercises such as chest presses and pushups.
Always perform a warm-up before practicing or before weight training. This prepares your muscles for the task and can prevent injury.
- Complete Book of Throws; Jay Silvester
- 101 Shotput Drills; Rob Lasorsa
JR Landry began writing professionally in 2010 for various websites. He has extensive experience in sports writing, most notably on football and strength training. Landry began a teaching career after earning his Bachelor of Arts in English from Austin College.