The Spin Technique

For beginning throwers, a wind up can cause problems with balance and consistency; therefore, a static start is recommended for novice throwers in the spin technique.

Static Start

The athlete should go into a slight squat straddling in the center of the ring at the rear of the circle, with the flat feet about shoulder width apart. The thrower’s body weight is evenly distributed or has slightly more weight on the left side.

The shot is raised over the head; the wrist is bent facing upward, the ball rest at the base of the fingers. The shot is then placed on the neck, most spinners hold the shot closer to the ear then the chin, and the ball is further back on the neck when compared to elite gliders. The left arm is straightened and held out near the mid-line of the body.  The torso inclination can vary, however most beginners have only a little forward lean. As the thrower develops, a deeper squat at the start and more upper body slant may be adopted.

The Wind up

The wind up should be with the upper body turning to the right, with little weight shift of the lower body. The athlete executes the wind up with the feet flat or slightly up on the toes.

During the early development of the spin, a big wind up was used by many of the top throwers, similar to the discus wind up in the 1970’s when the spin shot put technique was starting to evolve. It is more common today to see a minimal wind up with little to no weight shift in the back of the circle.

Out of the back

At the back of the circle the thrower’s weight is shifted to left leg, then the right leg is picked up. As the right leg is picked, the thrower sinks or drops onto the left leg.

Mike Turk in his article “Building a Technical Model for the Shot Put“ states “As soon as the thrower is facing 3 o’clock, I want him to sink on the left leg and drive the right leg ahead by lifting the right hip and knee over the left side to the middle”.

Into the middle

The right foot leads the sprint to the middle and an active push from the left leg helps to speed up the lower body. As the right foot makes contact, it should land just past the centerline and land between 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock and the left leg will be airborne near the 3 o’clock position. In addition, the knees are brought close together in the middle of the circle to help speed up the throw and help create more torque in the power position. Some advanced throwers wrap the left arm across the body as the right feet lands, creating additional separation.

Once the right foot has made contact just past the middle of the circle, the right foot must continue to rotate and the shot should remain behind the right hip until the left foot touches in the front of the ring, with the same heel to toe relationship as in the glide technique. Once the right foot touches down the main acceleration phase of the throw begins.

Shot Put and Discus - The Delivery

Teaching Progression for the Spin

Stand throw-Spin

In the stand throw for the spin shot, the thrower gets into the power position with a narrow base; usually the feet are within the front half of the circle. The shot-putter focuses on turning then lifting with the feet, which is the opposite of the glide technique.

Shot Put and Discus - 1/2 Turn Throws

Slow full throws

The athlete executes the full technique but a slower pace focusing on body positions, usually with lighter implements.

Non-throwing drills for the spin shot put

Step-out

Without a wind the thrower steps out with the right leg, tapping it on the ground at the 3 o’clock position.  The left side should point at 3 o’clock with the shoulders level, the left leg will support most of the body weight (90%+).

The wind from the full throw can added after the drill is mastered.

Turn to the middle

The athlete executes the first half of the throw, but the left leg remains in the back of the circle. The shoulders and left arm face the center of the sector (12 o’clock) and the right foot lands at 9 o’clock near the middle of the circle.

Step out, turn to the power position

The thrower performs a step out, and then works on sprinting from the 3 o’clock position, landing in the power position. The drill should simulate the actual body position in the full throw, keeping very little weight on the right leg on the step out.

Turn to the power position

The athlete executes the initial throwing motion, landing in the power position. The emphasis is on balance and landing in a good throwing position with most of the body weight over the right leg.