Shot Put Specs – Cheat Sheet

16 lb 6 kg 12 lb 5 kg 4 kg 3 kg 6 lb 2 kg
Age M Open/ M30-M45 M50-M55/ Junior HS boys/ young men/ Int. boys M60-M65/ Youth W Open/ M70-M75/ W30-W45/ HS girls/ Y women/ Int. girls/ Jr/ Youth  M80+/ W50-W70  Midget boys/Bantam boys/ Youth girls/ Midget girls/ Bantam girls  W75+/ sub-bantam boys/ sub-bantam girls
Imperial Weight 16.00 lb 13.23 lb 12.00 lb 11.02 lb 8.82 lb  6.61 lb 6.00 lb  4.41 lb
Metric Weight 7.26 kg 6.00 kg 5.44 kg 5.00 kg 4.00 kg 3.00 kg 2.72 kg 2.00 kg
Max Diameter 130 mm 130 mm 117.5 mm 130 mm 110 mm 110 mm  90 mm
Min Diameter 110 mm 105 mm 98.4 mm 100 mm 95 mm 85 mm  80 mm

It can be difficult to track down official implement specifications when you don’t have a rule book in your hands.  So I’m posting this more for my own reference, but I’m sure others will find it helpful as well.

Please note that there are no age groups in the USATF, IAAF, or NFHS that use an 8lb shot put.  I still see quite a few of them turning up at indoor high school meets.


Selecting a Shot Put

Recently I was asked by a master’s thrower for advice in selecting and purchasing a 5kg shot put to practice and compete with.  Here are my thoughts:

Shot selection for indoor shots is pretty limited, the only real choice anymore, is hard shell or soft.  I prefer the hard shell shots as do the majority of my throwers.  They hold up much better.  I think Dominator makes the best indoor implements on the market right now.  If you want to spend significantly more, you could opt for a tungsten filled indoor shot instead of lead.  This makes the diameter of the shot nearly the same as an outdoor shot.  I haven’t found this to be practical, as we simply don’t have the budget to buy multiple tungsten shots, and I have seen multiple times now where athletes get used to training with the tungsten and then it does not certify at a championship meet for whatever reason and there is not another available to throw, forcing them to throw a larger diameter shot that they are unaccustomed to.

As for outdoor shots, I try to only order turned steel in the largest diameter allowable.  The maximum diameter for the 5kg shot put is 120mm, 4kg is 110mm and 7.26kg is 130mm.

Turned steel means that it has been turned on a lathe versus poured in a mould.  That means that turned shots are always round and generally free from pits or mould marks.  They also generally have a plug that can be unscrewed so that if the shot were ever to become light, it can be opened up and have some additional weight added.

I don’t pay attention to practice vs competition shots or brands nor would a pay more for stainless steel.  The turned steel shots are more expensive, but knowing that it will be round and certifiable at meets for an extended period of time is worth the added expense to me.

Turned iron shots are acceptable, but are more prone to rust and there are often surface imperfections that are covered with the paint.  The paint will wear off after a week or so of throwing.

Brass shots are smaller diameter, but the brass is much softer so it is very prone to dents and scratches.  Cast iron are cheap and it is shown in the quality, they are often not very round and it is not uncommon for a cast iron shot to not certify at a meet even right out of the box.

The larger diameter generally gives you more surface to push against, which saves some wear and tear on your fingers, and makes the transition from the indoor to outdoor implement somewhat smoother.

If you are looking for portable circles to throw your shots or the weight throw, Jon Kruchoski is the best craftsman of throwing circles and other custom fabricated equipment.  He makes a great discus circle as well.  Check him out at JonySport.comshot put.


Masters Throws Championships Recap

Athletes competing in USATF ultraweight pentathlon championshipsSubmitted by Masters Correspondent, Mike Matteson

The weekend of August 3-4th proved to be outstanding in every way for throwers competing in the 2013 USA Masters Throws Championships, held at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.
Both days were warm and sunny, and throwers aged 30 to 86 showed up primed for action.
Hosted and run beautifully by Sue Hallen and Ruth Welding, one hundred seventy-seven throwers produced a total of 14 American records in the three events: THROWS PENTATHLON (hammer, shot put, discus, javelin, weight throw), ULTRAWEIGHT PENTATHLON (weight, superweight, super-superweight, and 2 ultraweights), and the SUPERWEIGHT THROW (age-graded individual throwing event). To clarify the ULTRAWEIGHT PENTATHLON, for example, a 60 year-old man throws the following weights: 20, 44, 56, 98, 200 lbs. These weights vary by age and sex.

Saturday’s THROWS PENTATHLON saw incredible distances. Neni Lewis, W-50, threw the Hammer 50.35 meters. Myrle Mensey, W-60, hit 17.78 meters in the 12 lb Weight Throw.
On the men’s side, Mark Landa, M-40 hurled the Javelin 51.40 meters. Ron McConell, M-50, hit 55.53 meters with the 700 gram Javelin. George Matthews, M-70 threw the Hammer and Weight 46.99 and 18.15 meters, respectively.
Sunday’s Ultraweight Pentathlon got off to a fast start as Joseph Benoit, M-55, set an American record in the 25 lb Weight Throw at 19.01 meters on his first throw. Neni Lewis, W-50, hurled the 25 lb Superweight 10.95 meters. Mark Landa, tossed the 56 pounder 11.04 meters, and George Matthews, M-70, donned his Superman cape, hitting 10.58 meters with the 35 pounder. Mark Landa, M-40, topped his class swinging the 300 lb ultraweight an astonishing 1.61 meters.
Salutes are in order to our seven octogenerian throwers – one woman and six men.
Amid all the outstanding performances, Myrle Mensey and John Goldhammer stand out. Myrle broke her own record in the 12 lb Weight Throw by over a meter, with 17.78m, missing the world record by 6 cm. She also set point records in both the THROWS PENTATHLON and the ULTRAWEIGHT PENTATHLON with 4447 and 5188 points, respectively. Myrle is looking ahead to next year’s National meet as a 65 year old.
Goldhammer, a multiple world champion thrower, dominated the THROWS PENTATHLON by winning all five events, culminating with a 21.12m throw in the 20 lb weight. His 4708 point total lands just 19 points shy of the American record, held by the legendary Tom Gage. That would also rank him #1 in the world for 2012 (2013 rankings are still being tabulated).
The thrill of competing with some of the best throwers in the world, including those who have carved their names in Track & Field history – Mensey, Lewis, Goldhammer, Cedrone, Matthews, Muller, Landa and many more – is equalled only by the grace and humility of this group. The principle of Sportsmanship, with its many facets, is the brilliant light that shone down on each of the throwing sectors. It is an honor to be a part of this noble sport and to throw beside its gentle warriors.

* Special thanks to the great crew of USATF officials who donated their time and performed professionally throughout this meet.

New Year Resolutions for Throwers

new year resolution image
photo by aussiegall

This post was contributed by our Masters Correspondent, Mike Matteson.  If you would like to contribute content to be posted, please email me at or message me on the CoachTheThrows Facebook fan page.

As the holiday season approaches, gratitude once again becomes a prevailing thought.  Gratitude can be felt and expressed in any number of ways.  For any thrower, the ability to train, drill, practice and compete is a privilege.  Masters throwers have not only spent decades of work earning a living, raising a family and serving in various capacities, we also face the reality of an aging body, sore joints, debilitating conditions, and the realization that, one day, we will step into the ring for the last time.

These realities drive our psyche in two opposite directions.  One can be a sobering sadness, realizing that our best throws may be behind us, leaving us to joke “the older I get, the better I was”.  But  adversity can also inspire.  We may pursue our training with renewed vigor.  As my wife and I like to say, “I’m going to work out, and my head and my body will just have to come along”.  Workouts and drills become victories in themselves.  Just as we always feel better after a workout than we did before, we begin to take a bit more pride in our efforts.  Even the hammer drills on the driveway on a cold winter day can strengthen our resolve as the cold wind fails to make us back down.

Another advantage of our age and experience is an enhanced  appreciation for the efforts and accomplishments of our fellow throwers.  A great throw is an inspiration to all, and it is with a sense of profound camaraderie that we congratulate great efforts, even when they put us in 2nd place.

So as we enjoy the Christmas season and look ahead to the coming year, let’s remember to be thankful for the opportunity to sweat, to groan, to nurse aches and pains.  And yes, to encourage our good friends and build on one another’s strengths.  Every time we enter the ring, we are blessed.

2012 Midwestern Regional Throws Pentathlon Recap

Track and Field Throws PentathlonThe following is a recap written by Mike Matteson, our Masters correspondent.

The 3rd annual Wisconsin Throws Pentathlon was held  Sunday, June 10th at the beautiful track & field facility of UW-Whitewater.  Eight masters level throwers and 7 open competitors took part in the meet, which included five throwing events: shot put, discus, hammer, javelin and weight throw.

This USATF sanctioned meet produced three all-American performances: Sue Hallen and Ruth Welding scored 2,996 and 3,720 points, respectively, while Mike Matteson scored 3,271 points. Diane Matteson surpassed the all-American standard in two individual events: Hammer – 23.71m and weight throw – 10.03m.  Other hammer bests in the masters group included Martha Green (18.74m), Sandra O’Brien (15.49m), Neal Schuster (28.50m) and Dave Arndt (22.71).  Dave was also the most ‘seasoned’ competitor, at age 73. Great job, Dave!

The open division saw impressive hammer throws by Amy Miskowitz – 44.36m , Pat Dubois – 46.15m, and Brent Verhyen – 46.67m.

Following the Throws Pentathlon,  elite throwers took to the ring.  Olympic discus hopefuls Jessica Maroszek and Brian Bishop threw the discus 56.73m and  61.20m respectively.  Patrick Hauser, masters 60-64, spun the discus 44.58m, well above the all-American standard of  42m.

Ben Bishop threw an incredible 61.35m in the hammer.  Greg Theologes, a USATF official who also doubled as an official in several events, threw the hammer 35.53m.

Sincere thanks go to the following individuals: Krista Hasselquist and Matt Oldenberg for organizing and managing a great meet.  Dave Hahn, UW-Whitewater throws coach, who measured all implements and helped keep the meet running smoothly.  Greg Theologes, who officiated the entire meet when he wasn’t throwing.  All those who volunteered whenever the need arose. And finally, the throwers who gave their best in 90 degree heat.  Next year can’t come soon enough!