Shot Put

Grip, Stance, and Approach

Warm-Up Building leg strength, building arm strength, stretching
Skill Development Guidelines for shot put, grip, stance, approach (standing shot put, three-step shot put)
Wrap-Up Game In the hole!
Cool Down Light jog, static stretching
Printable PDF of this session

Safety Considerations

Please note that the shot puts we use are made with rubber or softer materials. Mastering shot put technique is crucial to prevent injuries. Before teaching shot put, remind your students that they should not throw the shot like a baseball; the motion will be more like a push. For beginners, it is best to use a shot or ball light enough that you can focus on technique. Regulate throwing and retrieving and be sure to rope or fence off the landing area. Never turn your back on an athlete about to throw.


Building Leg Strength (5-10 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you, and lead them in leg strength exercises.  

See the Supplementary Topic on Muscular Strength and Endurance for appropriate activities.

Building Arm Strength (5-10 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you, and lead them in leg strength exercises.  

See the Supplementary Topic on Muscular Strength and Endurance for appropriate activities.

Circle Dynamic Stretching (5-10 minutes)

Have the students form a circle around you, and lead them in dynamic stretches.  

See the Supplementary Session on Stretching for appropriate activities.

Guidelines for Shot Put

Track and field standards call for a circle seven feet in diameter. The "throw" is made from behind a 4-foot-long toe board. Demonstrate proper technique for the grip, stance, approach, and release. Show students how a "throw" is measured from the toe board to where it first lands. During practice, estimate distances using a measuring tape. Make sure to demonstrate a foul, which happens when the thrower steps past the thrower's line. It is best if each kid gets two or three "throws" per turn during practice.


You will need cones and/or boundary markers and shot puts (4.4-8.8 lb., depending on age and gender). Rest the shot in the hand at the base of the fingers. Wrap the thumb and fingers around the shot. The middle three fingers should be spread out slightly and serve as a force in the "throw." The pinkie and thumb are used for lateral support. Angle the wrist so the palm faces up. Have your athletes line up and practice the grip. They can watch one another to analyze proper technique.


You will need cones and/or boundary markers, and shot puts (4.4-8.8 lb., depending on age and gender). The thrower stands sideways, with feet shoulder-width apart, in the direction of the "throw," with the throwing arm furthest away from the toe board. If you do not have a toe board, you can mark the area with chalk or cones. Place the shot close to the chin so it rests against the neck under the jaw, with the thumb touching the collar bone. Lift the elbow of the throwing arm so it is parallel to the ground. Bend the knees slightly in preparation for the approach. Have all athletes line up and practice the grip and stance. Students can watch one another to analyze proper technique.


For beginners, progress from a standing put to a three-step (or shuffle) approach. During practice, you can place a cone in the landing area as a target for students to "throw" past. Other cones can designate new goals or to show the longest put for the day. Give athletes five to 10 attempts depending on ability with the standing throw before progressing to the three-step approach.

Standing Shot Put

  1. Bend at the knees, leaning back to put most of the weight on the back foot.
  2. Raise the non-throwing arm up for balance while keeping the throwing arm parallel to the ground.
  3. Drive forward with the legs and body as the put is made.

Three-Step Shot Put

The thrower starts a few feet behind the thrower's cone. For added power, the thrower takes three sideways steps toward the throwers' cone, keeping the shot as far back as possible until the actual "throw." The thrower will then be in the basic standing shot put position and can complete the "throw." This should be a smooth, continuous motion.

All throwers begin in the proper stance. Right-handed throwers will stand sideways with the left side of their body facing the landing area; they will put weight on the right foot. To step sideways, they will start with their left foot, take their second step on the right foot, and take a third step on the left foot, sliding it to the thrower's cone while shifting weight back onto the right foot. Give athletes 5 to 10 attempts.

Wrap-up Game

In the Hole!

You will need chalk, cones, bean bags, hoops, and a stopwatch. In partners, athletes start behind a cone with hoops or chalk circles one, two, and three yards away. Place the hoops one behind the other and align them with the cone. Each team gets three bean bags. One at a time, partners aim their three bean bags at each circle, using the shot put motion to "throw". To make the game more difficult, increase the distance or introduce a time limit.

Cool Down

Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Static Stretching (3-5 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you and lead them in static stretches.

Please see the Supplementary Session on Stretching for additional stretches.

Youth and Schools

New York Road Runners Mission