Shot putters have a choice between two techniques, the glide and the rotational (or spin) style. Young competitors, other than beginning shot putters
, will naturally gravitate to the more direct glide technique
. Most world class male throwers, including 2009 World champion Christian Cantwell, employ the rotational shot put technique. But other competitors, including 2008 Olympic champs Tomasz Majewski and Valerie Vili, do quite well with the glide.
The spin technique is similar in principle to the basic discus throwing technique, but there are key differences. For example, the shot put throwing circle is smaller, requiring a tighter turn. But the major difference involves the implement itself. While the discus is held at the end of an extended throwing arm, the shot remains close to the thrower’s neck – near the center of the rotation – making balance more difficult.
While the rotational style may be tougher to master, quality shot putters should at least learn the technique to discover whether the acceleration generated by the spin leads to greater throwing distances.
The following description assumes a right-handed thrower.