Simple Keys to the Rotational Technique

Wondering what you can do for a simple fix to any issues in your spin? Have a couple of technical breakdowns within the shot put rotational technique that you are confused by? You are struggling to find that groove and fix your technical errors? Check out the simple keys we focus on to keep the technique simple!


Basics


Before we dive into the keys around the rotational technique, let’s cover some very basic ideas and concepts that will enhance your comprehension of the shot put. For the purpose of this article, we will be referring to all parts of the body as though we are discussing a right-handed thrower. If you are coaching a left-handed thrower or you are a left-handed thrower, just flip the side of the body we are referring to.



The basic technical concept we focus on is based around a rotational movement with a grounded finish. Try to change the mindset and method that you use to think of the spin. Start to view and understand the spin as a side around side movement. In simple terms, the right leg will rotate around the left side out of the back, the left side will rotate around the right side in the middle and the right side will rotate around the left side on the finish!



When this simple concept is reinforced over and over again, the athlete can comprehend how to use BOTH sides of the body and every limb as a major contributor to the entire movement.


The Back


When referring to the back in the rotational shot put technique, we are discussing the starting position all the way to the long leg sweep to the center. The goal out of the back of the circle is to initiate the throw. Start with a basic and simple winding position, the left arm will get in line with the right leg and then open the left shoulder.

As the left shoulder opens long, out past the left leg, the left hip will begin to open. When the left hip and knee and foot open to 90 degrees, 70% of the weight of the body should be over the left side. This is the point when the right leg will be used to push force into the ground and lead to a wide right leg sweep. As the right leg picks up, the high point of the right foot will be very dependent upon the individual.

The goal of the right side is to achieve a long sweep position with a dorsiflexed foot and a knee cap pointing to the sky. This lengthened position will help the groin get lengthened just prior to sweeping to the center of the circle! As the right leg sweeps past the left leg, the left leg will pick up and begin to sweep to the front and that is where we enter the middle of the circle!

The Middle


One concept that is NEVER discussed or taught is the concept of a secondary sweep leg. The secondary sweep leg is the left leg passing the right side in the middle. This secondary sweep leg becomes the primary mover through the middle of the circle. When thinking and analyzing technique from a side around side perspective, the left side becomes active while the right side holds.

When the right leg grounds, the right ANKLE must be stiff and the right knee must be flexed. Ideally, there will be a line from the foot to the knee to the chest while the left arm holds either across the body or toward the back of the circle. By holding strong trunk tension, a stiff ankle and a stiff knee, the right side sets up as a passive point of rotation. This rotation will be guided by the action of the left leg to the front. As the left leg sweeps to the front, the hip will begin to open just prior to grounding.


The Front


The final position of the throw is in the front of the circle. As the left leg is rotating to the front of the circle, the left arm is holding and the right side has massive tension in the shoulder. JUST PRIOR to the left leg grounding, the left arm opens long toward the sector, there is a massive stretch across the chest from the left arm into the right shoulder. The right knee and right ankle will hold tension and flexion into the concrete and when the left foot lands, the shot should still be behind the right hip.

When the left leg grounds, about 70% of the weight will be on the right foot and 30% will be on the left foot. As the left side opens and the right side starts to rotate forward, the percentage will shift where 70-80% of the load will go into the left foot.

The goal is to keep the right side grounded as long as possible while the left leg is semi-bent and the left foot is nearly flat. This creates a perfect point of deceleration as the right side accelerates rapidly. Remember that the side around side movement is key on the finish. The finish also needs to utilize the left arm, the right shoulder, the left leg as a point of deceleration, and a strong tension into a right leg for an optimal rotation!


Recap


By comprehending the throw from a side around side movement, the technique becomes easier to comprehend and the movement is triggered by ALL FOUR limbs in the throw. By using all four limbs to execute a throw, throwers become more coordinated and more precise in their movement. This ultimately leads to greater comprehension of technique and longer throws!


"Our aim is to provide concise and concrete education and training on the throws, helping coaches and athletes learn what they need to do to succeed and become champions."

- Dane and Trevor



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