Shot Put Guide

Shot put is a track and field event that requires a great deal of focus, strength, and skill. In order to perform to your greatest ability, it is important to be provided with the right equipment. Sports Unlimited offers quality products that suit all of our athlete?s needs.

How Do You Play Shot Put?

Shot put is a track and field event that involves the throwing of a heavy, spherical object (the shot) as far as possible. Competitors are positioned inside of a 2.135 (7ft.) meter- marked circle with a stop board that is an approximate 10 cm (3.9in) high. Once the toss is complete, the distance is then measured from the inside of the circumference of the circle to the nearest indent made on the ground?s surface, which is typically sand. The distances are then rounded to the nearest centimeter under the rules of both the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and World Masters Athletics (WMA).

How To "Throw" A Shot Put

It is important to understand that the shot cannot be thrown like a baseball, but rather pushed. *Throwing the shot incorrectly can result in disqualification during competition or more importantly, a serious injury. Before the shot is released, athletes carefully hold it in their hand and rest it on their shoulder. This is followed by a few hops within the circle and a forceful push, letting loose of the shot. The stop board allows the competitor to stop before stepping out of bounds of the circle.

Shot Put Styles

Glide - (1951) Parry O?Brien, a former shot put champion, invented the ?Glide? technique in which the athlete would face backwards and would make a 180? rotation across the circle thus releasing the shot.

Spin - (1972) Aleksandr Baryshnikov, a former shot put champion set his first record through the use of the ?Spin? technique. The term is just as it sounds. Just like discus throwers, this technique allows for the athlete to make a complete spinning rotation providing extra force and momentum, as well as a high rotational speed upon release of the shot.

Shot Put Training Tips

Though most people think that shot put primarily focuses on arm strength, most do not realize that the majority of the force comes from your legs and core. Workouts such as squats, leg lifts, and crunches will strengthen your legs and core, which will allow for a faster rotation upon release of the shot.

Rest is very important in between training sessions because overworking your muscles can result in serious injuries.

Find your rhythm: Before throwing the shot, it is important to have a rhythm down that will be beneficial every time you approach the throw.

Shot Put Rules
  1. Once the athlete?s name is called, they have 60 seconds to release the shot
  2. The shot must be placed close to the neck and resting on the shoulder, while keeping it in that position the entire time until it is released. No padding or extra equipment is necessary
  3. The shot must be released above the height of the shoulder with one hand
  4. The athlete is permitted to touch the inside surface of the stop board; however neither the top nor the outside of the circle or stop board can be touched or passed
  5. The shot is required to land within the legal sector (34.92?)
  6. The competitor must exit the circle from the back
Fouls Occur When:
  1. A player does not pause within the circle before throwing motion
  2. A player allows the shot to drop below the shoulder
  3. The shot lands outside the boundaries of the sector or touches the sector line
  4. A player leaves the circle before the shot has landed or the competitor fails to leave the circle from the back
  5. The player touches the top/end of stop board, the top of the iron ring, or steps or touches on/outside of the line of the circle

Each competition has a specific number of rounds and throws. Usually three preliminarily rounds take place and based on those, the qualification of moving on to the finals is then determined. If the finals are reached, three more rounds take place and the longest distance recorded wins, regardless of whether or not it took place in the preliminary or final rounds.

How To Buy For Shot Put
The Shot

Before you buy a shot, first identify the athlete?s sex and age. This will determine where to start and how to narrow down your options. This information will establish which weight you should be looking for.

For Female Shot Put Athletes, we recommend

  • Junior High and under  - 6 lbs
  • High School and above - 8.8 lbs

For Male Shot Put Athletes, we recommend

  • 12 and under - 6 lbs
  • 13 - 14 - 8 lbs
  • High School - 12 lbs
  • College - 16 lbs

Once you have established the size and weight, you can begin to look at what your options are. Shot put has both indoor and outdoor seasons and the shot must follow the IAAF regulations.

  • Outdoor: Padded covering is prohibited
  • Indoor: Padded steel is permitted (softer coating material that encompasses the shot)

The shot ball can be made of various materials and depending on expertise and preferences, the choice is yours. Sports Unlimited offers products from notable brands such as Blazer, Champion and Gill Athletics. The most common materials used to construct a shot put include:

  • Turned steel and stainless steel
  • Brass
  • Iron and cast iron
  • Polyvinyl plastic
  • Indoor rubber

*Typically, steel, especially stainless steel and brass products are more expensive than iron, rubber, and plastic. Some throwers prefer cast iron and turned steel over brass and stainless steel shots because the texture is much rougher and not as smooth, allowing maximum grip.

What Other Shot Put Equipment Do I Need?

Athletic Training Tape: Most, if not all shot put throwers wrap their wrists with training tape to avoid injury and to provide maximum support. *Note: When wrapping your wrists, be sure to wrap with a layer of our Cramer Eco-Flex Stretch Tap or our Mueller Styling Wrap, a softer wrap that provides extra support and comfort, especially when the tape is being removed.

Weight Throwing Shoes: These shoes are specifically designed for weight throwing events so that each competitor can perform safely, comfortably, and effectively. They are constructed with a solid rubber outsole and a centrifugal flex groove that allows for fast rotations and extra support. Additionally, these shoes are tear resistant and durable for all outdoor weather conditions.

Did You Know?
  • Randy Barnes holds the current men's world record for shot put at 23.12 meters
  • The earliest findings of shot put date back to over 2000 years ago in the Scottish Highlands. At that time, stones were used as opposed to metal, which is what the ?shot? is made out of today.
  • The closest findings that resemble modern day shot put date back to the Middle Ages when soldiers would hold competitions in which they tossed cannonballs.
  • Randy Matson was the first track and field athlete to throw over 70 feet in shot put.