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Shot Put

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Shot Put is a high intensity, anaerobic sport. To be an effective and accomplished shot putter, there are many techniques that you have to master and apply to your own specific technique. Identify the important components/skills/techniques needed for a successful performance in the shot put. To achieve a good technique for shot putting firstly you will have to master 4 instrumental phases. Firstly, the grip. The shot should be placed at the base of the three middle fingers of your hand, with the little finger and thumb free to support the shot.

Then the shot is placed under the chin, and you have to remember to keep the elbow in a raised manner. Secondly, the stance. The athlete should take up a position of his entire weight over his right foot, and also should be thinking of “chin-knee-toe” being vertically in line with each other. The feet and hips should be facing the side of the shot putt circular arena, and should be at a direct right angle to the shoulders. The width of the stance will of course, vary due to the height of the athlete, but the feet should always be aligned behind each other.

Thirdly, the movement into the basic put. There are several ways to achieve this movement across the circle, but some movements are more effective than others are. There are two widely used techniques in this, the shift and the rotation. The Shift – Stand at the back of the circle, facing in the opposite direction to where the put will finally land, the hips and shoulders should be parallel. The athlete’s entire bodyweight will then be placed on the right foot and the body position should be a crouching, low one.

The athlete will then hop backwards towards the stop board and when in this process, the hips will rotate in a complete 180-degree turn, so that they are at a right angle to the shoulders. The left foot will then be placed against the stop board, to achieve balance and make sure that you do not unintentionally exit the circle, as this will cause a no throw. During the six-week training course we will be using the Shift technique. The reason for our decision was that the shift suited both our techniques and was the most effective during competition.

Finally, the put. From this stance position, you will be ready to execute the putt. The movement will be initiated by which leg you are putting all your weight on; in this case the right leg. You will then drive the right leg and drive the hip to the front, transferring all the bodyweight of the athlete from the right leg onto the left leg. The left arm will then come up and point along the trajectory line that the shot will take (usually 45 degrees to the horizontal).

During this action all emphasis should be put on a fast right hip, and concentrating on bringing the hip round to face the front of the circular shot putt arena, remembering to keep the elbow up high above the shot. As the hips have rotated round, the right shoulder is driven to the front and the left arm will swing round and help the athlete maintain balance. When the chest is facing forwards, the right arm punches the shot out in a rapid movement, hoping to gain as much power and precision as the athlete can, remembering always to keep the elbow high.

There are many components of fitness needed to perform the shot put. It is essential to have speed whilst performing the shot put. Speed is the ability to move the body and limbs quickly. The athlete will need speed because if the shot put were not done in a rapid movement, then maximum distance would not be achieved. As the shot put is high intensity, the athlete needs to use lots of speed. Another component of fitness that is required for the shot put is Muscular Strength and specifically Explosive Strength. Explosive strength is when we use our muscles to produce a very rapid movement.

This is sometimes known as power, and is a combination of both speed and muscular strength. Explosive Strength is vital for a shot putter because the athlete will need to throw the shot to the maximum distance possible and an athlete with a lack of muscle bulk (e. g. marathon runner) would not be able to execute the shot put effectively. This would result in not achieving a good distance. A good way a shot putter can prepare for this intense strain on muscles is by doing Dynamic or Ballistic stretching. Dynamic or Ballistic stretching is stretching that involves rapid movement into the required stretch position.

This is important in shot put as the movement is very rapid and therefore will put a lot of stress on the muscles, and may antagonise them. It is therefore important to prepare your muscles for such event by doing this. To do this start the stretches at half the speed you would do the activity at, then gradually getting faster to ease your muscles into the movement, to get the muscles used to it. Co-ordination is another component of fitness that a shot putter requires. Co-ordination is the ability to carry out a series of movements smoothly and efficiently.

Without co-ordination the shot putter would find it difficult to execute the throw at the high level it is required. Without co-ordination the shot putter would be off balance and may cause the shot putter to step outside of the circle. This would cause the throw to be a no throw. Also another reason a shot putter would need co-ordination is that if the shot putter is doing the “Rotation” technique, then he would be unable to keep balance. If he finally managed to throw the shot then the shot may end up going out of the arena, causing the throw to be disqualified.

It is important that all shot putters use the free arm to help them balance during throwing the shot. Analyse and identify in detail the strengths of competitor/participant or self. I have been working with partner Grant Pugh over the last 6 weeks. He has many strengths in executing the putt and also some weaknesses. His strengths are firstly that he always keeps a high elbow when executing his putt. This helps him have optimum trajectory of the shot. If the elbow lowers, the shot will come out of the neck, which will cause the throw to be a “no throw”.

It is vital shot putters keep a high elbow at all times. Also he has a good hip movement, he swings the hips round rapidly and effectively, this also helps him execute the shot putt in an effective manner. Another strength that Grant has is that he punches the shot out with maximum effort and velocity. This helps him achieve maximum height and length on how far he putts the shot. This is key in achieving a good distance. Another strength that Grant has is that he moves through the shift phase with good speed. Speed is vital to any shot putter.

Using speed, this helps him achieve momentum, speed and therefore distance on the shot. Also another key strength that Grant has is that he always remembers the “chin-knee-toe” combination. This is when the chin, knee and toe are vertically aligned whilst leaning back and putting all of the weight on the leading foot. This is important because you may become unbalanced if the chin, knee and toe are not in line correctly. Analyse and identify in detail the weaknesses of competitor/participant or self. Although Grant has many strengths, he also has many weaknesses, which hinder him in throwing the shot.

This is to be expected, as we do not have much experience in the event of shot putt. Firstly, he does the movement too quickly, and looks rushed. What Grant would need to do is take time over executing the shot, make sure that his chin, knee, and toe is all vertically aligned to each other, prior to the throw. Also he may have to make sure he is transferring all of his weight from back to front of his body, to achieve maximum power in putting the shot. Also another weakness that Grant has is that he doesn’t swing his arm round to achieve balance when executing the shot.

This could prove costly in competition as if he does not have appropriate balance, he could end up going out of the circle, and then the throw will not count. He should make sure that his free arm (the arm he isn’t using to throw the shot) is out horizontally to help him achieve good balance after throwing the shot. Another weakness is that Grant varies in his release angle. Sometimes it is below 45 degrees, sometimes higher, and sometimes directly on it, this is when he achieves his furthest distances.

To make sure that he throws the shot at a direct 45 degree angle he could maybe practice this, holding his free arm up in the air at a 45 degree angle to make sure he knows how high or how low he needs to throw. The focus of the shot putter must be on speed and not the projection angle. For elite shot putters, like Great Britain’s’ Carl Myerscough, the optimum release angle lies between 30 and 40 degrees. Over the last six weeks my partner and me have completed a six-week training programme. We did this so we could evaluate each other’s performance, before and after the programme too see how much we had improved.

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