How to Do the Shot Put Glide Technique

Track and field athlete holding shot put
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The shot put is one of track and field's four basic throwing events. It requires strength and sound footwork during the approach.

For the approach, you can choose between two basic methods for throwing the shot put, spin or glide. The more complex method is the spin or ​rotational technique, spinning as you move forward to generate momentum for the throw.

The glide technique is more commonly used. With its linear movement through the throwing circle, the glide technique is easier for beginners to learn. The following guide offers the basic elements of the glide technique.


Nigel Agboh.

The first step of the shot put glide technique is to pick up the shot. Place the shot on the base of your fingers – not in the palm – and spread your fingers slightly.

Holding the Shot

Nigel Agboh.

Push the shot firmly against your neck, under the chin.

  • Your thumb should be below the shot with your throwing elbow pointed outward, away from your body.
  • Your throwing arm should be at about a 45-degree angle to the ground.


Stand at the back of the circle, facing away from the target.

A right-handed thrower should place the right foot near the back edge of the circle, with the left leg extended forward.

Seated Position

Keeping most of your weight on the right foot, bend your knees as if you were moving back into a seated position while drawing your left leg back so the toes of your left foot line up with the heel of your right.


Extend your left leg toward the target area and push off with your right foot, “gliding” to the front of the circle while keeping your center of mass low.

Your feet should land simultaneously, with your left foot in the front of the circle, just behind the toeboard and slightly left of center, and your right foot in the middle of the circle.

Your weight should be on your right leg and your right knee should be bent approximately 75 degrees.

Power Position

You should now be in the “power position,” with your feet shoulder-width apart, the left arm extended from the body and your knees bent.


Keep your right elbow up as you shift your weight to the left.

Straighten your left leg as you rotate your hips so they’re square to the target.

Throw the Shot

Keeping your left side firm, punch your arm upwards and complete the throw with a flip of your wrist and a strong follow through.


Remember, your throw’s power begins in your legs and flows upward through your hips, back, and arm.

Most beginners will learn a basic approach at first, as simple as stepping up to the line and throwing from a stationary position. After mastering that, they may then be taught to start turned 45 degrees to the target, rotating and putting the shot. Finally, the shot putter can learn the glide and possibly the rotational technique.