Shot Put: How to Lock It In Right From The Start

Cues to Teach Young Athletes How to Position the Shot Against Their Neck

An effective and legal shot putting action begins with the starting position of the shot. When teaching young athletes how to effectively position the shot against their neck in preparation for the put, the following cues can be helpful:

1. “Squash the Shot In Next To Your Windpipe”

Demonstration of holding the shot against the windpipe


This cue helps the athlete to understand that they need to firmly place or “lock” the shot in against their neck so that it is:

  • Under their jaw.
  • In front of their ear.
  • Next to their “windpipe”.

Common Faults:

Many young athletes incorrectly hold the shot:

  • On their cheek or above their jaw.
  • Against their neck behind their ear.

2. “Elbow Up, Thumb Down, Palm Forward”

Side view of an elbow up, thumb down, palm forward position


This cue encourages the athlete to:

  • Hold the elbow of their throwing arm up and away from their body.
  • Point their thumb down towards their collarbone.
  • Point their palm forward in the direction of the throw, from a position behind the shot.

Common Faults:

Many young athletes incorrectly:

  • Hold the elbow of their throwing arm close to their body. This causes their elbow to point down and their thumb to point up – a position from which it is very difficult to effectively push the shot.
  • Place their hand under the shot, with their palm pointing up “towards the sky”. This is often because the athlete is afraid that they will drop the shot. Again, this position can lead to an ineffective putting action.

Teaching an athlete to correctly lock the shot in right from the start will increase the likelihood of a strong, effective and legal putting action.

What coaching cues have you successfully used?

I would love to hear if you know of any other coaching cues that can be used to teach the shot starting position. Let me know by leaving a comment/reply or by using the below contact details.

Further reading

E- Book:

How To Teach Shot Put To Young Athletes E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet) 


10 Biggest Mistakes Young Athletes Make in the Shot Put

Use Ice Cream To Help Young Athletes Learn The Shot Put Grip

The Shot Put Slam Drill For Young Athletes

Games That Young Athletes Love: Shot Put Asteroids


Complete Book of Throws from Amazon US Store

There are links on this page from which Coaching Young Athletes can earn a small commission. This adds no cost to you but helps to keep this blog sustainable. I really appreciate if you do purchase through my links. Thanks for your support. Darren

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If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

Darren 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, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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