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Rotational Shot Put: Spinning Toward the Power Position

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Before the rotational shot put competitor reaches the power position, he or she spins in the middle of the ring. This includes a non-support phase in which both feet are briefly off the ground, followed by a one-foot landing. 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.

Non-support phase:

In our non-support phase the upper body does not rotate. The left arm stays long, because if you bring it high you spin. We don’t want you to spin, we want you to hold. So we need that left side to stay long. The chest stays up until the landing. That’s a hard one. So when you have these athletes up in the air, they’re coming up and now they’re coming down, and you’re telling them, ‘Leave your chest up until you land,’ that’s not normal. When you start coming down to the ground, lowering the chest is normal. We’ve pushed the hips forward, we’ve created this axis, so we have to stay back until we land and keep that chest up to maintain that axis.

And then the last point is, we have to squeeze the knees. The reason why we want to squeeze the knees is the exact same reason why we want to keep the left arm long, which is, to create rotational force in the lower body. The great part about our spine is, it’s a bunch of parts and they all go independently, so we can create rotational acceleration in the lower body without doing it in the upper body, because that’s what we’re looking for. Then we create a stretch reflex off of the torso, and then you get more power.

Landing:

If the knees are together when we land, we know we’re already rotationally accelerating. If you land on that right leg and your left leg’s still way back there at the back of the ring, now what are you going to do? Because you’ve got this super-wide radius that you’ve got to work. So the only thing you can really do to solve it is just pull the crap out of your left side to get it there. The other way that we get stuck with a wide left knee is if we’re bent over. We want to be chest-up when we land. The whole body’s like a teeter-totter. If I drop my chest, now I’ve got wide knees, too. Problem number two. So everything kind of works together.

The knees are together, left arm crossed over the right leg. That’s a pretty good cue right there, because they can actually think about doing that when they land. If you’ve done everything right to this point – landing with the hips forward, chest up, knees together, you were on your left when you pushed off properly – everything’s going to be on balance.

Stay on the ball of the right foot. Keep your right elbow high. Be patient on the left side, meaning, the left side’s just hanging back. And then it’s just a waiting game for that left side to get to the ground. It really isn’t about rushing to the ground. You just want to wait until we get there and then we can starting acting again.

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

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