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How do I throw a shot put?

shot put athletics
File photo credit: wikimedia


By Benedict Yeo

No human resembles a cannon more than a shot putter. In fact, soldiers in the middle ages competed by tossing cannonballs. Today, we compete by putting the shot. The shot is simply a spherical object. It is propelled by way of pushing, rather than by throwing. The men’s shot weights 7.26kg and the women’s shot weighs 4kg. This sport is definitely not for wimps. Here are some pointers for any soul who wishes to put his or her strength to the test:

How to throw a shot put


 Step 1: Holding the shot

Place the shot at the base of your fingers, not the palm. Spread your fingers slightly apart and use your thumb to prevent the shot from rolling off. 

 Step  2: Starting position

Press the shot to the area of the neck beneath your jaw. Keep your elbow high, so that it appears horizontal to your shoulders. If the shot drops below your shoulder during the put, it will be considered a foul throw.

Stand with your left shoulder pointing at the target and your body facing the direction perpendicular to your shoulder (for right-handers). Keep your feet wide apart, and bend the right leg, so that you tilt backwards. Twist your body so that you face the opposite direction of your target. This is your starting position.

Step 3: Putting the shot

When you are ready, push off with your back foot and twist your hips, and then your body to face the target direction of your put. Extend your arm and propel the shot into distance at a 45 degree angle. When you shoot the shot, flick your wrist in a way similar to how you would shoot a basketball or netball.

All of the above takes place in an instant. But it really begins from the back foot, then hips, then the arms, and finally the wrist. Keep practising. You never know how far you can go, until you give it a shot.

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