Shot put is one of the most storied and competitive field events in high school track and field. As a coach and former athlete, I‘m often asked – what is the average shot put throw distance that high school athletes should aim for?
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my expertise on typical throwing ranges for high school shot putters, along with techniques for improvement.
Average Throwing Distance by Gender
Due to physiological differences such as muscle mass and strength, there is a clear gap between average shot put throws for high school boys versus girls:
- High School Boys: The average throw for high school boys ranges from 30 to 45 feet.
- High School Girls: The average throw for high school girls spans from 25 to 35 feet.
However, these averages vary substantially depending on the athlete‘s specific attributes and abilities. Elite high school boys can throw well over 60 feet, while exceptional girls can exceed 45 feet. But most throws fall within the ranges above.
Why the Gender Gap Exists
The gender gap in throwing distances exists primarily because males develop more muscle mass and upper body strength during puberty.
As an expert coach, I‘ve witnessed the differences firsthand. High school boys naturally gain more muscle in their shoulders, chest and arms through hormonal changes. This translates into greater power generation during the throw.
Elite female shot putters can narrow this gap through dedicated strength training. But physiological advantages give high school boys an edge for producing longer throws on average.
Now let‘s break down the averages in more detail…
Average Throwing Distance by Grade Level
As high school athletes mature and gain experience each year, their shot put throws gradually improve. Here are the average throws for each grade level:
|Grade Level||Average Throw||Details|
|Freshman||30-35 feet||Still learning proper form and developing strength. Top athletes may exceed 35 feet.|
|Sophomore||35-40 feet||Increased power and experience. Dedicated throwers can surpass 40 feet.|
|Junior||40-45 feet||Refining skills and peaking physically. Throws beyond 45 feet are common.|
|Senior||45-50 feet||Most experienced with extensive training. Throws beyond 50 feet expected from elite.|
|Grade Level||Average Throw||Details|
|Freshman||20-25 feet||Building fundamental skills. Exceptional athletes may reach 25 feet.|
|Sophomore||25-30 feet||Developing more power and technique. Throws of 30+ feet achievable.|
|Junior||30-35 feet||Improved strength and technique evident. Throws beyond 35 feet occur.|
|Senior||35-40 feet||Peak strength and experience achieved. Throws over 40 feet by top athletes.|
As demonstrated in the tables, average throws increase each year as athletes get stronger and refine their skills through training. But an individual‘s development depends heavily on factors like work ethic, coaching, and natural talent.
Next, let‘s look at why some high school throwers are able to consistently surpass averages…
What Allows Some Athletes to Throw Farther?
While proper strength training and conditioning are important, there are several key factors that allow certain athletes to excel over their peers and throw beyond expected distances:
Proper throwing technique and mechanics are vital to optimizing distance. This involves precision across all phases – the initial stance, wind up, delivery, and release. Even small technical adjustments under the watch of an experienced coach can add feet to an athlete‘s throws.
For example: Keeping the elbow high during the final delivery and explosive hip rotation during release are two subtle techniques that boost power transfer to the shot put for extra distance.
Developing muscular strength in the legs, core, shoulders and arms via compound exercises like squats, cleans and bench presses establishes a solid athletic foundation. Improved overall power helps translate to farther throws.
For example: A freshman girl increasing her squat by 50 lbs. over an off-season can expect notable gains in her throwing distance next year through enhanced lower body power.
Incorporating explosive drills like plyometrics, medicine ball workouts, and Olympic lifts is crucial for developing the quickness and velocity needed to maximize distance on each throw. Throws are measured in split seconds, so rate of power is key.
For example: After 8 weeks of intense plyometric training, a senior boy may add 2-3 feet to his throws by improving his ability to quickly generate force on delivery.
Higher Practice Volume
Ingraining proper technique requires significant repetition – thousands of quality throws over time. Higher training volume and frequent practice sessions allow motor patterns to become second nature. Excelling in shot put takes major commitment.
For example: An athlete throwing just twice per week will likely fall short of her potential versus an athlete practicing the event 4-5 days per week for continual skill refinement.
One-on-one guidance from a knowledgeable coach is invaluable. Personalized instruction, consistent feedback on mechanics, and customized training plans tailored to each athlete‘s abilities are key.
For example: A novice sophomore boy could progress much quicker under the tutelage of a coach versus learning on his own through trial and error. Expert guidance shortens the learning curve.
An athlete‘s height, wingspan, speed, coordination, and inherent power also influence throwing potential. GENETIC GIFTS PROVIDE ADVANTAGES. While technique can be refined through training, natural athleticism gives some athletes an edge.
For example: A freshman boy who is already 6‘2" with long arms has biomechanical advantages over smaller peers for generating leverage and power on releases.
Now that we‘ve covered the key performance factors, let‘s look at proven ways high school athletes can improve their shot put throws…
5 Tips to Dramatically Increase Your Shot Put Distance
Here are 5 training strategies I recommend to high school throwers looking to reach new personal bests:
1. Follow a Progressive Strength Program
Perform compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses to systematically build strength.
Focus on legs, core, shoulders and arms to develop athletic base.
Use periodization principles to continually increase weight over time.
2. Incorporate Explosive Power Drills
Olympic lifts, plyometrics, and medicine balls build key power.
Perform drills 2-3 times per week with full recovery between.
Emphasize speed of movements to improve rate of force development.
3. Obsess Over Proper Technique
Refine each phase of throw through purposeful repetitions.
Footwork, initial rotation, delivery, and release each play a role.
Work with coach to identify issues and optimize every part of motion path.
4. Analyze Video and Make Adjustments
Study footage of yourself and elite throwers.
Compare positions and mechanics to understand differences.
Use slow motion video to refine technique after each session.
5. Build Your Mental Game
Visualize successful throws before competing.
Set specific outcome goals to stay motivated.
Develop resilience through adversity and plateaus.
Getting stronger, increasing power, perfecting technique through video analysis, and building mental toughness will help add feet to your throws. But you also need the proper mindset…
The Importance of Mindset for Shot Put Excellence
Reaching your maximum potential in shot put requires more than just physical training – it takes the right mindset. As a coach, here are the mental keys I emphasize:
Believe in your abilities and preparation before competitions.
Step into the ring with no self-doubt, only confidence through proper training.
Block out all distractions during your throw.
Zero in on technique, sequencing, and execution.
Shut out outside pressures and give full attention to the moment.
Persistence Through Setbacks
Throwing comes with plateaus and setbacks at times.
Continuing to put in hard work leads to breaking through limitations.
Believe in the ongoing process of small gains over time.
Instilling an unshakable confidence, laser-like focus, and relentless persistence gives you the mental edge to maximize abilities. Make this mindset second nature!
Take Your Shot Put Performances to the Next Level
I hope this guide provided helpful insights into average shot put throws for high school athletes and how to improve performance.
While the averages serve as useful benchmarks, many high schoolers have the potential to reach new heights with proper training, technique, and mindset.
Set big goals, progressively develop your strength and power, obsess over flawless mechanics, and bring positive energy and resilience to your efforts. By doing so, you may be surprised how far you can throw during your high school career.
Now get after it! I look forward to seeing your new personal bests this season.