Glide and Spin Technique for Shot Put

The effectiveness of the glide versus spin/rotational technique is an age-old debate in the track and field world. However, athletes at all levels have found success implementing either method. The glide and the spin models each have their positives and negatives, which are important to understand when training. The primary objective of each approach is to move across the circle to get into power position. This position is key for any thrower, as success will only be attained if the full force of one’s body is behind the throw.


The glide technique is usually taught in initial training stages because it is simple and produces consistent and effective results. Gliders typically tuck the shot under their chin and on their clavicle. The position begins at point farthest away from the pita with his or her back facing the direction of the throw. In this phase, the glider will push off the weight-bearing leg back towards the center of the circle while the supporting leg thrusts vigorously towards the toe-board. The supporting leg comes down near the front of the circle, causing acceleration as the thrower is put into power position. Gliders find an advantage in that power position is emphasized, allowing them to consistently throw in a straight line.

Spin/Rotation The spin involves a slightly more complex movement around the circle. This method requires the same grip as the glide throw, but sliders tend to hold the shot back, closer to their ear rather than their neck. The putter starts in the back of the ring with his or her back to the throwing area and then executes a series of pivoting motions on the foot that will end up closest the toe board, while the other leg stabilizes the body. Simultaneously, the athlete will use a whipping motion to run, step, then pivot, to transfer his or her center of gravity from one side to another. This motion with drive the putter into power position. Although the spin method requires more movement, it generates more force behind the shot, if executed properly.

Finding the method best for you There is no end-all be-all for shot put methods. Elite putters have used both the glide and the spin methods to secure world championships as well as Olympic gold. Choosing which technique is best depends on the physical abilities of the athlete in tandem with a coach’s ability to instruct.

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