This Will Make You Smile And A Better Shot Put Coach

What This Little Blue Figurine Can Help Us Learn About Shot Putting

This may be first-ever article that has analysed the shot put technique of a Smurf.

Look at the image below.

What is good about the technique? Can you pick any major faults?

Smurf Shot Put Blog

What did you come up with? Let’s see if we match.

The Good

Weight Distribution

In the image below, you can see that the shot is held over the Smurf’s back foot. It’s a not perfect position, but at least the Smurf is leaning back away from the throwing direction, giving him the chance to develop some drive from his back leg.

Smurf Shot Put Blog Good

The legs are important in the throws, and if used effectively can generate a lot of power that will eventually transfer to the implement.

The Not-So-Good

Back Foot Position

Here we are see a fault that is common amongst young athletes – the back foot is pointed away from the direction of the throw and the upper body is leading the throwing action.

Smurf Shot Put Blog - Foot Position Error

This fault will most likely make it more difficult for the Smurf to drive its hips around to the front during the shot delivery, leading to an upper-body dominated delivery action.


Ideally by this point of the throw, the back foot should have pivoted around to the front. The foot and lower body should lead the throwing action ahead of the upper body and throwing arm.

Coaching Cues

  1. Lower body before upper body.
  2. Point the back foot to where you want the shot to land.
  3. Turn the back foot to point at an external target. The target may be something in the natural environment (e.g. a tree) or something positioned by the coach (e.g. a witches hat).
  4. Throw the money out of your pocket. For further explanation of this cue, click HERE.

Elbow Position

A “dropped” elbow, seen in the image below, is a common error amongst novice shot putters. Many kids attempt to “throw” the shot, rather than “put” it. In other words, as they attempt to propel the shot forward away from their neck, they drop the elbow of their throwing arm under the shot, and even allow their elbow to get in front of the shot.

Smurf Shot Put Blog Elbow Error

A “dropped” elbow places the athlete’s arm in a very poor position to impart a forward force on the shot. In fact once the elbow gets in front of the shot, it will cause the athlete to pull or drag the shot forward rather than push it.

The other problem is that once the elbow is under or in front of the shot, it is likely that the shot will fall away from the athlete’s neck, leading to a foul throw.


An athlete’s elbow should “stay up behind” the shot.

Coaching Cues

  1. Keep the elbow up.
  2. Keep the elbow behind the shot.
  3. Keep the elbow away from the body.
  4. The elbow is the engine. For further explanation of this cue, click HERE.

Shot Position

It appears that the shot is being held away from the Smurf’s neck. To confirm, let’s have a look from another couple of angles.

Smurf Shot Put Elbow Drop Front View

The Smurf is making an error common amongst young athletes – holding the shot up near the ear. It also appears that the shot is drifting outwards and the elbow is falling downwards under the shot.

Smurf Shot Put - Errors rear view


Ideally, the shot should be tucked under the jaw and against the neck, with the elbow up. For more information, click HERE.

Coaching Cues

  1. Lock it in.
  2. Tuck the shot in.
  3. Elbow up, thumb down, palm forward.

Follow-Up Tasks

  1. The Smurf may be displaying other technical faults that I have not highlighted. Can you identify any? Let me know if you do!
  2. Watch a young novice athlete perform a standing shot put. Does the athlete turn their upper body ahead of their lower body? How is their elbow position? How is the shot positioned? I would love to hear about what you see. You can let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.

Other “Smurf-related” articles

This Will Make You Laugh And Learn About Javelin

A Crazy Way To Learn About Crouch Start Mistakes

E- Book:

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

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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.

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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