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Rotational Shot Put: Power Position and Finish


The power position is the prize that every thrower seeks. The final goal is a long throw, of course, but achieving the correct power position gives the shot put competitor a chance to achieve the ultimate goal. After the thrower spins in the middle of the ring – the non-support phase which both feet are briefly off the ground – he or she lands on one foot (single-support phase), then puts the second foot down to enter the power position. The following shot put advice is adapted from a John Godina presentation at the 2012 Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association track and field clinic. Godina is a four-time World shot put champion, a seven-time U.S. champ and two-time Olympic medalist who currently coaches athletes at his World Throws Center. See Godina’s website for more information.

Power position:

Our power position in the spin shot – narrow base, weight over the right foot. We want to have the weight on top of the foot. The left arm’s back. And when we say weight over the right foot, when you do this really well and you’re creating tons of power out of the back, your center of mass is actually behind your right foot, because that mass is moving forward. So when they land it’s actually going to be pushing forward anyway, so they’ll end up over the top of the right foot. The left arm is back and relaxed, shoulders are level.

Explode upward with the head back – the head stays over the right foot as long as possible. So as we’re coming through our head’s back over the right foot as we’re coming through the delivery. You don’t ever have to go forward. Forward’s a foul. The left elbow drives up to the left sector. When you see these athletes who look really good and at the last second they’re falling off to the left side, they’re probably ripping that left shoulder and arm up too early.

The last double support position – you can screw everything up on the way there, but for the most part, if you land that last double support on balance and in the right position, you’re going to be fine, or at least, OK. If you keep missing that position, you’re never going to be good.

Throw and recovery:

Pivot the feet, extend the legs until the shot is delivered. Both feet face 12 o’clock at the finish, meaning the direction of the throw. If anything they’re a little farther than that. By the time the knees face the target, the thrower’s legs should already be straight. Don’t turn first, then lift your body.

The emphasis is on ground reaction force. Ground reaction force means, pushing into the ground, which creates lift. But it also pushes the right hip forward, by pushing the right foot into the ground, and it pushes the left hip back, by pushing the left foot into the ground. That’s what we call extension through rotation, just like tank treads. We don’t want to work on the surface of the ground, we want to try to shove our feet through it. Because you’re not going to get through it, so all that force is going to go through the body, and push.

In our recovery phase, the right side extends through the release. Flat right foot landing. The left and right shoulder work back into the ring. We used to coach a full rotation, and stick the finish. No turning off of it. There’s reasons why we do that. It’s usually just a developmental step so we can check their position and balance after the throw. But some athletes that are really good will just take to it and stick with it. You have to be seriously on-balance to pull that off on a full turn of the shot.

With a flat foot landing, heel down and stretching the ribs out – you will never foul. If you can hit that position you’ll never foul. It’s when you land on the toe and your chest drops and you fall away, that’s when you get in trouble.”

See also:
Rotational Shot Put: Coaching Advice
Rotational Shot Put: Stance and Start
Rotational Shot Put: Driving Through the Ring
Rotational Shot Put: Spinning Toward the Power Position

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