Regulation Shot Put Rules

Shot Putter

The shot put was first introduced in 1896 and is still used today as a traditional field event at the Olympic, college and high school levels. This sport combines strength, form and technique. Like all events, there are many rules and regulations participants must follow to ensure a fun, challenging and competitive atmosphere.


The shot put event focuses on hurling a heavy metal ball as far as possible. The athlete holds the "shot" close to his neck with his elbow parallel to the ground. The thrower then uses one of two techniques that helps him gain inertia and momentum to propel the shot. The two techniques are known as the glide and spin. With the glide technique, the thrower faces 180 degrees away from the position they will be throwing and swiftly kicks while simultaneously rotating until reaching the throwing position. The spin is a glide that requires more rotation and is one of the most popular techniques used during competitions.

Equipment and Playing Area

According to the USA Track & Field 2010 Competition Rules Handbook, the put circle must have a diameter of 2.135 meters or 7 ft, the construction of the shot should be a solid spherical shape of brass, iron or any other type of metal that is as hard as brass and the finish must be smooth. The weight of the shot for high school athletes is between 11 and 13 pounds for boys and 8.8 pounds for girls, and for college and Olympic athletes, it is 16 pounds for men and 8.8 pounds for women, according to Brian Mac Sports Coach. There is also a wooden toe board at the front of the circle that can not measure higher than 10 cm and should be painted white.

The Put

The shot must be placed on the shoulder with only one hand, and once the thrower takes a stance in the circle to start a put, the shot should be touching or very close to the chin and neck. Do not drop your hand once in this position, and make sure you do not bring the shot behind the shoulder. Each shot putter has a certain number of throws to complete; once the athlete's name is called, he has one minute to complete his throw. Any improper technique will result in a foul for that throw.


After the throw, the thrower must stay in the circle and wait for the measurement. The judges must determine if the throw landed inside the designated boarders, and the thrower's shoes must not touch the outside of the circle or the toe board. The distance of the throw is measured from the circumference of the circle along a line to the nearest mark made by the fall of the shot.