Welcome To Coaches Education




Train Light Throw Big

Article By: Patrick Wyatt,
Sweet Home HS, Amherst, New York

The method of training for the shot put I am going to relate to you now, was developed and used for over 30 years. It has been used by national champions and beginning throwers with equal success. It has given as much as a improvement in one season. Most increases in distance are anywhere from 5 to 10 feet, and this is with veteran throwers. It has been the basis of our program and has never failed to improve distance, with the exception of injury, in over 30 years of use. I first used this program while attending Indiana University in the early 60's. My friend and I were trying to come up with a method of training with the shot that would bring continuos improvement in a progressive manner. Using weights was just coming into vogue and we were into progression in a big way. One day I said, What if we could do the samething in the shot? Take a light shot and throw it our goal distance and then add weight to it until we could throw the regulation weight the same distance. But how could we do this with a solid shot? We hit on the idea of drilling a hole in the shot to make it lighter. Well we finally got one drilled an machined out the middle and it weighed about 12 lbs. Now we both began to use it, throwing our 20 lb. shot to warm up and the throwing the light one trying to go over our goal distances. It worked! After 5 weeks of work we were up to a 14 and 1/2 lb. shot and we both threw over 50 ft. Since then I have developed and refined this program and used it many times always with great results.


There are three factors that determine how far the shot will go. First is speed of the shot at release. Next is the height of release, and finally the angle of release. Now to throw a shot 60+ ft. you must release it at a certain angle, at a certain height and at a certain speed, NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT WEIGHS. So why can't we throw The 12 lb. shot as far as the 8 lb. Shot? If technique is constant the angle and height of release would be the same, but the speed at release would be the reason. So if I can throw an 8 lb. shot 60 and I add 2 oz. of weight to the shot I will slow the action but only a little bit. Essentially the technique will remain constant. As I train it will take only a little bit of increased speed to throw 60 with the heavier shot.


To run this program you will need the following equipment:
1. A shot that weighs about 2 kilos (4 lbs.) more than your regulation shot. (Ex. Reg .12 lbs ,heavy 16 lbs.)
2. A shot that weighs about I kilo (2 lbs.) more than your regulation shot. (Ex. Reg. 12 lbs , heavy 14 lbs.)
3. A light shot that is the same size as regulation but weighs about 3 to 4 lbs. less. It should have a hollow center so you can add weight to it. We had to drill holes in a regulation shot, but today they are available from any number of track and field equipment suppliers.


With this as our premise, we developed a workout that would give us strength as well as maintaining our technique. Now you must realize at the time we were at I.U., weight training was just coming into general use, so we did not have a weight room. So we used heavy shots to gain specific strength. Here is how it works:

1. General warm-up (jogging stretching) 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Standing throws with heavy shot (20lbs college-16lbs. high school male thrower) 6 to 8 throws (we use a 12 lb shot with female throwers).
3. Throws across circle with full technique, hard with heavy shot, 6 to 10 throws.
4. Throws across circle with full technique, hard with light shot, 20 to 25 throws (we start with the 8 lb shot in high school and 12 lb in college for male throwers, we use a 6 lb. shot with female throwers).
5. Throws across circle with full technique, hard with heavy shot 10 to 12 throws (we use a 14 lb. shot with male high school throwers and 18 lb. with male college throwers, we use 11 lb. shot with female throwers).
6. At this point we go to our drills which consist of finger flips with the heavy shot (overhead standing), then medicine ball work (our biggie is the two handed chest pass against a wall for 60 sec. 2 or 3 sets). We have a medicine ball which is rubber and bounces off the wall and line drills (sometimes called shadow drills) where we go though our glide technique repeated over and over down a line so we can check foot and body position in the power position in the center of the circle. These are done with shot both heavy and light.
7. We mark all our best throws with each weight and measure them. Now we will have a lot of coaches say that throwing for distance every workout is not good. Our feeling always was you practice the way you compete. How do you learn to throw all out if you go half speed in practice? It was always my experience that the timing and feel of the full speed throw is much different than a 1/2 or 3/4 throw. We also need this information to signal us when to increase the weight of the shot.

Now how does the system work? Let's say that we have established a reasonable level of technique after About 2 to 3 weeks of training. We now establish our goal distance by throwing the light shot (6, 8or 12 lb.) hard for a workout. Lets say we throw it 61 for the best distance and have 5 or more over 60 we would make 60 our goal distance. If we had less than 5 over 60 we would go for 59 or 58 depending where we had 5 over that distance. So lets say 60 is our goal distance with our light shot. Our next workout we would add 2 oz of weight to the shot and go through our workout as stated above. Now if we did not throw 5 throws over 60 with the light shot then we would use that shot again next workout and every workout until we had 5 over 60 ft. We have found with a 2 oz. jump you usually improve that workout. So you would add another 2 oz and repeat the process. This continues until you are 12 oz away from the weight of the regulation shot. At this point you should be throwing your goal distance in competition. You should use this workout 4 or 5 times a week out of season, and 3 to 4 times a week in season.

You will probably ask why only 2 oz.? The answer is simple: the smaller the jump the easier to make the improvement. John Powell says about progression Inch by inch it's a cinch, yard by yard its hard! This is true, be it the discus , shot, weight lifting etc. Two ounces makes the shot just a hair heavier. It does not take too much to throw it just as far as you did with the lighter shot. It doesn't change your technique at all because the added weight means very little. This makes improvement easier and more consistent. My dream is to convince the number 4 or 5 thrower in the world to use this and throw a worlds record to validate the method. Not that I haven't done it with lesser athletes, but it would be great to see.

Would you still lift with this method of training? Yes, of course! This is an adjunct to the weights not a substitute. As I stated earlier when I develop this years ago weights were still not fully accepted as a form of training. Heck ,I even had my college coach tell me not to carry my gym bag or books in my right hand because I might get muscle bound. When he heard we were training with weights, he threatened to take our scholarships away! We used it to gain strength. That's why the heavy shots are in there. As we have used this method, we have found that the heavy shots play an important part in our training. First, it develops specific strength in the technique. Secondly, it makes the light shot feel so light you think you could throw the light one away. The mental aspects of this method are great!!! Now we have experimented with adding 4 oz. each time, and in fact we buy indoor shot of different weights at 4oz jumps. It works alright, but you hit sticking points faster and stay with the longer. But we can't afford, even with fund raising, to get them at 2 oz. jumps. It has also been our experience that you really do not have to go to the full weight to throw your target distance. When you get to 10 to 14 ozs. away from regulation weight, you should be able to throw your goal distance with the regulation weight. We have seen this with almost every thrower we have use the method on. At this point you might say that's a lot of shots my athletic director won't go for it! Well, my previous Athletic Director did question me but my response was, Why do we have 30 footballs? We only use one to play the game? He got the point.

In closing, I would like to say that this concept is not original, and has been used by others before. We did it in the 60's and after, but not in this particular manner. We found out that others had used something similar before we devised our plan. That's OK; if it works who cares who was first to think it up as long as we throw longer distances. I know if the big dogs used this method, the current world record would be broken in a season. Try it and reap the rewards, it works!! If you have any questions on this method, please feel free to e-mail me at pgwyatt@yahoo.com. *LSTJ*

International Copyright © of CoachesEducation.com. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission
CoachesEducation.com is strictly prohibited.