Monthly Archives: July 2015

The “Shot Put Slam” Drill for Young Athletes

Coach Young Athletes to Perform an Effective Shot Putting Arm Action

One of my favourite shot put drills to use when coaching young athletes is what I call the “shot put slam”: This simple drill has proven more effective for me than any other in assisting young athletes to learn how to drive the shot away from the neck and propel it off the fingers.

Starting Position:

Image of the Shot Put Slam Starting Position

The Shot Put Slam Starting Position

  • Hold a soft training shot next to the jaw or under the chin using the correct grip.
  • The elbow of the throwing arm is held high and out to the side.
  • The hand of the non-throwing arm can be placed under the shot for support.
  • Lean over a hoop that is placed on the ground.
  • The feet are placed either side of the hoop.


An image of the shot put slam mid-way through the action.

The Shot Put Slam Action

  • Take the supporting hand away from underneath the shot.
  • Push or “slam” the shot down towards the middle of the hoop, keeping the elbow of the throwing arm up and out to the side during the movement.

Finishing Position:

An image of the Shot Put Slam finishing position.

The Shot Put Slam Finishing Position.

  • Finish with a full follow-through.
  • The throwing arm, wrist and fingers should be fully extended.
  • The athlete should feel the shot propel off their fingers.

Additional Tips:

1. Some young athletes perform this drill too tentatively, dropping the shot rather than “slamming” it into the ground. If this occurs, try telling the athletes to:

  • “Stretch” their throwing arm and fingers fully towards the ground.
  • Try to “bury” the shot in the ground.
  • Pretend that their shot is a “meteor crashing into the desert”.

2. Some young athletes will drop their elbow or tuck it into their side during the movement, resulting in a throwing action rather than a push. Instruct the athletes to:

  • Keep their elbow up and above the shot as they push.
  • Keep their elbow away from their side.


  • Use soft training shots in preference to the real thing in case of a misdirected push.
  • Use a hoop on the ground as a target and also to keep the athlete’s feet out of the way.

Let me know how you go using this drill!

I would love to hear feedback from those of you who try this drill with young athletes. Let me know how it goes. I am also happy to answer any questions about it.

Further reading


5 Posts That Will Help You Teach Shot Put.


Complete Book of Throws (from Booktopia)

Complete Book of Throws (from Amazon)

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20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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