Shot Put Techniques: Glide vs Spin

The Shot Put Techniques: Glide vs Spin article provides a comprehensive comparison of the two primary techniques used in shot put, namely the glide and spin techniques. Shot put is a track and field event where athletes throw a heavy metal ball as far as possible. By examining the advantages, disadvantages, and key differences between the glide and spin techniques, this article aims to assist athletes, coaches, and enthusiasts in understanding which technique may be more suitable for their individual needs and goals. Whether you are new to shot put or looking to improve your performance, this article offers valuable insights into selecting the right technique for optimal results.

Overview of Shot Put Techniques

What is shot put?

Shot put is a track and field event in which athletes compete to throw a heavy metal ball, called a shot, as far as possible. It requires a combination of strength, technique, and explosive power. The shot put event has been a part of the Olympic Games since ancient times and is also a popular event in high school and college athletics.

Importance of shot put techniques.

Shot put techniques play a crucial role in the success of an athlete in this event. While raw strength is important, without proper technique, an athlete may not be able to maximize their throwing distance. Proper technique allows the athlete to generate more power, maintain balance, and release the shot at the optimal angle for maximum distance.

There are two primary shot put techniques used by athletes: the glide and the spin. Both techniques have their advantages and are employed by athletes based on their individual strengths and preferences.

By mastering shot put techniques, athletes can improve their performance, increase their throwing distance, and compete at a higher level. Proper technique also helps in preventing injuries, as it allows the athlete to distribute the forces generated during the throwing motion more effectively.

In the following sections, we will explore the differences between the glide and spin techniques, their advantages, and the key elements that athletes need to focus on while executing these techniques.

Glide Technique

Description of the glide technique

The glide technique is one of the two primary shot put techniques used in the sport. It involves a linear movement across the throwing circle, with the athlete starting from a stationary position and pushing off with their dominant leg. As the throw progresses, the athlete transfers their weight from the back leg to the front leg, generating power and momentum to propel the shot put forward.

Key elements of the glide technique

The glide technique incorporates several key elements that contribute to a successful throw:

  1. Starting Position: The athlete begins with their back facing the throwing direction, holding the shot put close to their neck or chin. The feet are positioned shoulder-width apart, with the non-dominant foot slightly ahead of the dominant foot.

  2. Power Position: As the thrower starts the glide, they shift their weight onto the back leg and lower their center of gravity. The shot put is held close to the neck, with the elbow pointing backward.

  3. Power Push: The athlete forcefully pushes off with their back leg, transferring their weight forward while maintaining a low body position. The non-dominant foot drives forward, extending the hip and generating power.

  4. Glide and Delivery: During the glide, the thrower slides their front foot across the throwing circle while keeping their body aligned. As the front foot reaches the final position, the shot put is released with a controlled and explosive motion, using the force generated from the glide.

Advantages and disadvantages of the glide technique

The glide technique offers distinct advantages and disadvantages for shot put athletes:


  1. Stability: The glide technique provides a stable base throughout the throw, allowing athletes to maintain better balance and control throughout the movement.

  2. Consistency: With its linear motion, the glide technique is easier to replicate and repeat consistently, which can lead to improved accuracy and precision in shot put throws.

  3. Power Generation: By utilizing the transfer of weight from the back leg to the front leg, the glide technique enables athletes to generate significant power and momentum, resulting in longer throws.


  1. Limited Rotational Power: Compared to the spin technique, the glide technique may not generate as much rotational power. This can restrict the distance achieved in throws, particularly for athletes with greater strength and explosiveness.

  2. Learning Curve: Mastering the glide technique requires time, practice, and proper technique. It can be more challenging to learn compared to the spin technique, which might deter some athletes from adopting it.

  3. Transition to Advanced Levels: While the glide technique is suitable for beginners and intermediate shot put athletes, many elite throwers tend to transition to the spin technique for its potential to generate greater distances.

Overall, the glide technique offers stability, consistency, and power generation, making it a valuable choice for shot put athletes, especially those in the early stages of their training. However, as athletes progress, they may explore the spin technique to unlock additional rotational power and maximize their throwing distances.

Spin Technique

Description of the spin technique

The spin technique in shot put is a throwing technique where the athlete rotates in a circular motion before releasing the shot. It involves a series of coordinated movements that enable the thrower to generate power and momentum for a strong and accurate throw.

Key elements of the spin technique

  1. Footwork: The spin technique requires precise footwork. The thrower starts with their back facing the throwing direction, then takes a series of quick and small steps in a circular path. This footwork is crucial for creating rotational momentum.

  2. Pivot: As the thrower moves around the circle, they pivot on the ball of their foot, allowing their body to rotate smoothly. The pivot acts as a central axis for the thrower’s movement, enabling them to transfer energy from their lower body to their upper body.

  3. Upper body coordination: While the lower body generates rotational power, the thrower’s upper body plays a vital role in the spin technique. The thrower extends their non-throwing arm for balance and stability while keeping their throwing arm close to their body. This coordination ensures proper alignment and maximizes the transfer of energy from the lower body to the shot.

Advantages and disadvantages of the spin technique


  • Increased power: The spin technique allows the thrower to generate more rotational power compared to the glide technique. This increased power can result in longer throws and improved distance.

  • Greater distance potential: With proper technique and training, the spin technique offers the potential for greater distances compared to the glide technique. The rotational momentum generated by the spin can result in a more explosive release of the shot.


  • Complexity: The spin technique is more technical and complex compared to the glide technique. It requires a higher level of coordination, timing, and practice to execute correctly. Beginners may find it challenging to master the intricate movements involved.

  • Injury risk: Due to the rotational forces involved, improper execution of the spin technique can put strain on the lower back, hips, and knees. It is crucial for throwers to have proper technique and conditioning to minimize the risk of injury.

In conclusion, the spin technique in shot put offers advantages such as increased power and greater distance potential. However, it also requires more complexity and carries a higher risk of injury if not executed properly. With proper training, practice, and attention to technique, athletes can harness the benefits of the spin technique to enhance their shot put performance.

In conclusion, both the glide and spin techniques are effective methods for mastering the art of shot put. While the glide technique emphasizes a smooth and controlled approach, allowing the thrower to generate power from the legs and hips, the spin technique focuses on utilizing rotational forces to increase speed and distance. Ultimately, the choice between glide and spin depends on individual preferences and strengths. By understanding and practicing these techniques, shot put athletes can enhance their performance and achieve optimal results in competitions.