Track and Field Throwing Event - Shot Put
Shot Put is considered a relic of track and field. The sport has been around since the Middle Age, when Scottish soldiers would launch cannon balls as far as they could as a way to pass time. Formal competitions were first recorded in 1866, and shot put would be recognized as an official Summer Olympic sport just 30 years later in Athens.
How to Shot Put
The only equipment you’ll need to shot put is your two hands and maybe some chalk for grip. Shot put is a fairly straightforward sport, seeing which competitor can hurl a 16 pound metal ball (for men, 8.8 pounds for women) the furthest.
The world’s best shot putters are fairly stocky, as they’ll need to use their mass to provide enough inertia behind the ball. Shot putters put most of their workout efforts into core and back for stabilization, legs for torque, and shoulders to help “push” the object faster.
Rules of Shot Put
- Each shot putter will choose from two different throwing techniques: the glide or the spin. The glide is when the competitor has their back to the throwing area, and essentially “glides” their way forward before spinning around and casting their ball. This technique is outdated, but still sometimes used. The more common way to throw is by spinning and gaining momentum before releasing the ball.
- The ball must land within the throwing area -- which is shaped as a 40 degree triangle extending outward for about 82 feet. The competitor throws their ball from within a circle that is about 7 feet in diameter.
- The ball must be placed on the competitors shoulder before being released. Improper technique will lead to a foul or forfeit of throw.
- Each competitor will have one minute from their name being announced to throw their ball.
- Competitors are prohibited from wearing gloves, grip tape, or any other type of wrap on their hands.
- There are three preliminary rounds for competitors to qualify. The final round allows for competitors to have three chances to place their best distance.
Shot puts balls aren’t necessarily regulated, as they can be pretty much any hard metal as long as they’re the legal weight. For example, there can be steel balls, brass balls, iron balls, cast iron balls, and even synthetic polyvinyl balls. The longest shot put ever recorded landed 23.12 meters -- or just over 75 feet courtesy of Randy Barnes in 1990. That’s a lot of strength!
Written by: Devin Pickell