Shot Put Drills





Teaching Progression
Technique is most successfully taught and coached from the front of the circle to the rear of the circle (from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock).

1. The Shot Put Hold

The first step is to grip the shot in a manner that facilitates the application of force during the delivery phase. The shot is placed on the pads of the center three fingers in the palm of the hand. The thumb and fifth finger stabilize the shot in that position.

Carrying Position
Once a comfortable grip is achieved, the coach and athlete must determine the correct carrying position for each thrower. The shot is positioned on the neck to permit release with the thumb pointing down and the fingers fully extended. A starting point is on the neck under the right jaw. Through experimentation, the optimum position is determined and is programmed into the athlete's muscle memory. Keep in mind that the position points for the indoor and outdoor shot will differ and must be determined by experimentation. Start with the proper hold of the shot: The rhythm for shot placement is:
up, turn, down, squeeze.





Pick up the shot from the floor.

In the up position, the athlete balances the shot on the base of the fingers. The thumb will be the under support.  Also, raise your left arm above your head.

In the turn position, the athlete faces his or her palms to the ears. In that position, lower the arms and rest on shoulder to prepare for squeeze..

In the squeeze phase, the ball is nestled against the neck. The left arm is then released to become an extension of the left shoulder









2. The Front of the Ring


Control and kinesthetic awareness of the legs and right side of the body in the power position is critical. The power position is established with the heel of the right foot aligned with the toe of the left foot. The feet are approximately shoulder­ width apart. This position permits maximum generation of torque and application of force by the largest muscle group in the body, the legs.
To progressively train the athlete, drills at the front of the ring are critical.



Crunch Drill
Left foot in front facing the direction of the throw (12 o'clock), right foot shoulder-width behind the left at a 45-degree angle (1:30) with a slight bend in the right knee, shoulders facing 3 o'clock, left arm high, shot behind hip. The thrower places the shot into the neck and holds the left arm straight and toward the center of the throwing sector. The athlete then drops the right side of the upper body down so the right elbow below the hip. The athlete drives the right side up to complete the throwing drill; the throws are completed without a reverse.
2. The next progression in the crunch drill the athlete places the left hand to the forehead.
3. The final progression: the shot putter places the left arm down over the right knee to create some separation from the upper and lower body.
All the crunch drills can also be done with a medicine ball.    

Tap and Turn
From the power position, the athlete taps the left foot to ensure that the weight is over the right leg. Tap, then grind the right foot so that the knee turns into the direction of the throw, keeping the shot down and back behind the hip. Drive the right leg up and deliver the shot from the right leg (the left leg will be in the air). The shot should stay behind the hip until the right leg is extended and the throw should be high and short. Don't try to throw the shot far. Great drill to work the turning and lifting of the right leg.    

Double-Pivot Drill (No Reverse)
The athlete assumes the power position on the balls of both feet. Pivot the feet towards the front and lift the shot with an extension of both legs. The thrower must concentrate on keeping the shot back behind the hip and driving the legs up. The result should be a high throw. Cues: Pivot, crunch and lift toes to shoulder.    

Power Position Hip Pop
From the power position the thrower delivers the shot by driving the legs and popping the hips without using the arm. Concentration should be focused on keeping the shot back and creating separation

It might be okay to get started with the Crunch Drill, the Tap & Turn etc., but the thrower should progress quickly to the following drills.

Stand Throw with a Reverse

To Learn the Right-to-Left Transition and Timing, it might be better not to do stationary left-foot­ grounded double-support phase from a standing position. This sets up an unequal amount of weight distribution between the right and left leg and puts the center of gravity too far forward and prevents the right hip from properly finishing. Doing this from a stand does not look bad to the eye, but will be a disaster during a moving full glide. The following standing throws are designed to mimic the right-to-left transition of the full movement.     

A.) Standing throw starting from a left-foot toe­ touching position from a stationary power position. When doing the stand throw, bounce on the right foot and tap his left foot in the power position to make sure you are  balanced with the weight on the right leg. The bounce also helps get the shot moving (law of inertia).

B) Standing throw with feet together and walking back into a power position with left toe touching and immediately shifting back to front foot while the throw is being made.

C) Standing throw with feet together, walk back into power position, left foot comes 4-8 inches off the ground, initiate the right leg and hip forward then up when left foot contact is made. I call this a teeter-totter standing throw, and this will get an athlete familiar with the right-­left rhythm. The width of the base will depend on the type of technique used (see long-short).


3. Teaching the Glide

Rhythm and Speed
The final phase of the teaching progression deals with initiation of the glide from the back of the ring. The athlete faces 6 o'clock, glides to the center of the ring, pauses, and releases the shot using the double-pivot, non reverse, and full-reverse stand throw drills. Once the thrower has achieved consistency of foot placement, the pause is eliminated. The focus becomes rhythm and speed in transition to one of the three throwing drills.
The glide remains the foundation for shot-putting. For a successful glide, the grip, implement position, singular line of power, and active right side must maximize velocity from the rear of the ring to the middle. The block by the left side cannot be neglected if shot acceleration is to occur and maximum velocity achieved.

Let’s Start at the Back of the Ring


When you reach this phase of the teaching process, don't make it complicated. You are simply preparing to give the athlete more speed and power to add to his or her already fine punch technique. At the top of the ring, stand with your back to the toe board. At this time the athlete should be balanced and comfortable. Have the athlete go down several times to pick up an imaginary weight. This will set up good balance at the top of the ring.Your feet should be under the shoulders with the toe of the left foot even with the heel of the right foot.    At this time, to develop comfort, have the athlete do the following drills:
a. Run backward five yards with shot on neck.
b. Hop back quickly on right leg for five yards.
c. Long jump backward several times.
d. Hop backward with bar or broken cross bar on the neck.

You need the athlete to move quickly and to assume the excellent position to explode his punch or cannon. The term cannon will enable the athlete to focus on the importance of solid leg position. Most huge cannons are mounted on huge sturdy foundations. 







Make sure shoulders are square. Focal point is straight ahead. Knees are even. Left toe even with the heel of right foot.

Make sure athlete is in balanced starting position; a sound weight lifting position. Left toe equal with right heel. Knees even.

Lift your left leg up to a T position.
Check the  start position. Make sure shoulders are square, hips are square and left arm long and slightly to the right.

Bring it Back!
bring back immediately

Fall A!

From the start position fall backward into an A position.
Make sure the left leg is driven back low in the final drive. Work harder at staying back and snapping the right foot under.

Fall A!

Shoulders are still facing the back of the ring, Keep eyes focused on a point seven to ten feet in back and slightly to the right of the ring.

The next teaching point which will actually get the athlete moving across the ring is the

Snap Drill.         

The athlete assumes the starting position and begins to snap the right foot while in place. The foot is simply snapped so that instead of facing back, it now is parallel.


 Snap A! 

drills19Ok!!!  drills20


Some Drills to Help in the Movement to the Center and Some Things for the Coach to Look For.

1. As the left leg moves out to form the letter A, make sure it is low to the ground.
2. The right foot and the left foot should land approximately at the same time.
3. The laces of the left shoe should be facing down as it comes across.
4. Eye focus is always back.
5. Stress that the shot is over the right heel in the power position.
6. Right foot should be parallel in middle of ring.
7. Left foot when down begins to point to the throw.

The Drills:





Base of Wall Drill
Here the athletes stand seven feet from a wall and begin the shot technique. Hopefully the athletes will arrive at the base of the wall with their left foot firmly against the wall.

They should be in a sound power position.

Ball drop drill

After the base drill is done over and over you can begin the same drill with shots in hand. When they reach the power position they are asked to drop the ball to the ground. If their position is good, the ball will fall at least a foot beyond the right foot.

From the power position without the shot­ put, the athletes simulate the drive of the shot. The wall helps the athlete stand high on release.


1. Unseat into wall
The athlete gets into the starting position about one foot from a wall; the thrower lets the body fall back into the wall. This drill teaches the first movement in the glide, the unseating or falling back of the hips.

2. Unseat with left-leg stretch
            The shot putter unseats the body, and then stretches the left leg slowly across the ring. The right stays in the back of the circle, and the right heel will remain on the ground. The upper body stays down and over the right leg.

3. Unseat with left-leg stretch and right-leg step
The thrower executes the previous drill then pauses and picks up the right leg and places it near the center of the circle.

4. Step-across throw
The thrower gets into the starting position and instead of gliding steps in the power position. The thrower will unseat, and then step back with the left leg to the center of the circle. The right leg is brought up next to the left leg then the left leg moves toward the toe board to the power position.
This drill can be executed slowly at first with a stand throw, and then the thrower can progress to a step back, with the athlete constantly moving forward, and execute a put.

5. The Two Hop Drill helps you bridging the gap between the standing throw and the right-to-left rhythm full glide movement

The two-hop throw drill will set up the working mechanics of the right-to-left rhythm glide

A)  Dynamic Start Drill without Transition
       This drill starts with a normal upper body over the power leg starting position. The athlete will balance over his right leg with his left leg off the ground. From this position he will bring his left thigh next to his right thigh and extend the left leg out but not down. Extending the left downwards will cause the thrower to stand up. As the left leg extends out, the athlete will push off the ball of the right foot, or flat-footed, 2-3 feet forward, and land in a 10:00-11.00 0' clock foot position on the ball of his/her right foot and then repeat the process. After the second hop he will use the right-to-left rhythm and ground the left side and throw-similar to what I describe in the standing throw. What is great about this drill is if a thrower doesn't stay over his right leg, he cannot make the second hop because his body weight is falling to the front of the ring prematurely. Besides being great specific plyometric work, this drill teaches the critical element of constant ball movement, which is so important to the performance of a throw.
             You do not want to teach a heel takeoff from the starting position because this drives the center of gravity too far forward. This makes it very hard for most throwers to pull the leg under in time to reinitiate the right leg and hip throwing action before the body weight slides forward. In most cases the ball comes to a stop and the weight slides forward and the athlete makes the throw with his rear end hanging out. A flat-footed or ball-of-the-foot start is preferable. You do not teach a pre-rotated foot. It is recommended for throwers to land on the ball of the foot at a 10:00-11:00 o'clock foot position. You do not teach a simultaneous landing of the right and left feet in the glide shot put. This for sure will bring the ball to a stop and usually will yield only 12 feet on standing throw-to-full throw differential distance.

B) Dynamic Start Drill with Transition        

This method of gliding is used to teach a proper takeoff using a stretch reflex of the power leg. This enables an athlete to mimic the two-hop glide into a one-hop glide that is competition ­ready.
        Start with the left foot forward in the second half of the ring and the right foot sitting behind the left. The athlete will simply walk his power leg to the back of the ring, go over the power leg, and make a right-to-left rhythm glide in one entire fluid motion. This can be done after a two-hop throw to retain and mimic the central nervous patterns that were developed with the two-hop throw. From this technical teaching of the throw, a regular competition glide can be developed. 

6. Glide-pause stand throw
The shot putter glides and pauses, then completes a stand throw. This a great drill to combine the glide action and the stand throw. As the thrower's technique improves this drill is not used very often because the timing is different than the full throw.

7. Straight-leg glide
The start is the same as a glide except the left foot is placed in the middle of the circle. The left leg is straight and, as the athlete unseats, the left leg is stretched to the front of the ring.

8. Full glide-no reverse
Throwing from a full glide without a reverse is an excellent drill for developing a powerful block and helps the athlete to apply force over long period of time to the ball.     

9. Slow Reach, Short Glide without the Shot­
  From the crouch position, I have the thrower slowly extend the left leg and reach for the toe board until he feels himself being pulled off the right leg. Then pull the right leg under the shot into the power position. The thrower should start out doing glides with this drill so that the right foot only moves about a foot. As he gets more proficient, the tempo gets quicker and the glide gets longer until he can comfortably use the whole circle.     

10. Slow Reach, Short Glide, Delivery without the Shot
      Same as Drill #9 except when the thrower gets to the power position. Slowly work the correct sequence of the delivery. Going slow really helps the coordination and sequence of the delivery and develops strength.       

11. Slow Reach, Short Glide, Hip Pop with the Shot
      Same as Drill #10 except the thrower de­livers the shot from the power position using a hip pop.       

12. “A" Drill
      From the crouch, the thrower un­seats and fires the left leg towards the toe board. The right foot does not leave the back of the circle. You can also do this drill kicking a ball with the left foot. (Also see above)       

13. Glide Stop
      Glide, stop and check the power position. The thrower should have control and balance in the power position.       

14. Glide Stop, Hip Pop
      Same as Drill #13, with a hip pop delivery.       

15. Glide Stop, Stand Throw
      Same as Drill #13, with a standing throw       

16. Glide, Hip Pop       



Check to see if the delivery angle is high enough. Remember the 6' 8" mugger. You need a high release

Is the punch delivered with the thumb down?

Does the lower body beat the upper body?

Does the hip forcefully move to the front?


Are the eyes focused to the rear?

Do the shoulders and hip separate upon delivery?

Is the ball coming from its farthest point over the right heel?

Does the athlete stay on the ball as long as possible?




Premature rotation of the hips prior to the left foot touching the ground

The ball seems to lack velocity at release?

Ball is driven low at the time of release.

Ball usually goes out to the right.


Usually caused by the left leg going into the bucket. Stress the linear event. Do many hop backs on lines. Keep the hips square before the drive.

Usually caused by the lack of separation in the body. Remember, hips come first. The ball is    back over the right heel as long as possible

Usually this means the athlete goes to his left leg too fast. The base is too wide. The ball sits       in the crouch position before release; therefore, left leg plays no roll and ball is driven low.

Usually means left leg is not down in time. Therefore, hip is slow and the upper body beats        the lower body.?



The ball never seems to have a high release.

The athlete turns away from the throw

The athlete seems to fall away from the throw

The shot-putter is constantly fouling out the front.


This usually means the athlete has not achieved a stiff left leg

This problem is caused by the lack of the blocking technique. Remember, the left arm comes back to the left shoulder as the right side punches. Left leg is held stiff to complete the block.

Usually means two things. Either the athlete removes his left leg too early in the delivery or the athlete does not get his right leg under enough so when he begins to drive, the left leg stabs him and he is unable to get over the left leg.

The athlete should be instructed not to watch the shot as it leaves the hand. If the left leg is held tight, the chances of falling are minimal. If the athlete feels as if he is falling out the front, instruct     him to throw the left arm back or break the right leg down at the release.