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Rotational Shot Put: Stance and Start

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The rotational shot put technique involves a single flowing movement from one position to another. It’s possible for some throwers to overcome an early technical glitch, but more often an early mistake will ruin the throw. The following advice is adapted from John Godina’s presentation at the 2012 Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association track and field clinic. Godina is a four-time World shot put champion and two-time Olympic medalist. Godina is currently an owner and coach at the World Throws Center.

Posture:

There’s two ways to go about it, and then you can go any variation in the middle. An upright posture is kind of what we call a front squat position. It’s easier to balance when you’re upright, and there’s also an advantage in that, because the balance really does change when you drop your head. Not just because you’re moving the center of mass around, but because all of your balance is in your inner ear. If you’re not upright when you turn you’re perceiving a lot of motion, but if you’re upright when you turn you’re perceiving very little motion. So it’s a lot easier for beginners to start upright. As they get better, then we start letting them have some freedom to drop that chest.

There’s also reasons why we like to have the chest lower and wider. We call it the back squat position. It is harder to find positions and it is harder to balance. But you’re going to get more power creation. If you can tighten them up at the right time you’re going to create more power and a lot more flow. But they have to earn it. As they find their positions and move through them properly, as they start kind of naturally getting into that type of movement pattern, then we let them use the back squat position, as they prove that they can be on balance.

Stance:

Feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, weight 70-30 on the left leg (for right-handed throwers). Left arm’s relaxed and reaching to the back of the ring. You get into, why do you keep so much weight on your left leg? If you want to do your right leg, and then you go back to your left leg, you’ve got a lot of moving parts there and there’s a chance you’re not going to get on top of it. And now all of the sudden you’re out of balance. Especially young athletes, there’s a very good chance that they’re not the best athletes in the world, and that they’re going to have a harder time finding that spot of balance on the left side. So why not just start them closer to it, if we can.

First double-support position:

The left side of the body is wound back. So we don’t just wind the arms, we pull the whole left side of the body in – everything on the left side comes in. Right foot’s flat on the ground. When we’re pushing off the back of the ring, we’re turning on our left toe – to be on two toes is hard to balance, and also, if you’re going to push off the back with your right leg, it’s a lot easier to do with a full foot on the ground because you can get a full hamstring into the movement.

Keep the elbows high coming down. That’s something I never have to really worry about with our elite athletes. But you’re going to have those kids at the high school level where, just the awareness to keep their elbow up is a struggle.

Entry:

At entry we load the left leg. It sounds simple; it’s not that simple. We have to get a lot of weight over there and the athletes don’t want to do that because the really easy way to do it is, you just avoid the left leg and dive to the middle of the ring. We’ve got to take some time to get some weight over there.

We begin the entry by pushing the right hip forward. We passively rotate the left leg and upper body as a unit. Everything goes together. We don’t want to drop that left knee way out. We keep everything together as we’re pushing through. You can get away with a little bit of that left side opening up in the discus because you’ve got this long delay and a long pull on your right arm. In the shot, everything’s tight and happens too fast. You’re never going to get everything caught up again. Keep everything in line and turn.

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

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