Training Talk: Shot Put With Justin Rodhe

Bondarchuk is most well known for his legacy as both an athlete and a coach in the hammer. But his greatest success since he began coaching Western athletes has been in the shot put. His star pupil Dylan Armstrong increased the Canadian record to 21.58 meters and placed fourth in Beijing, just one centimeter off of the podium.

Often hidden in the shadow of Dylan is Justin Rodhe, and that’s something he hopes to change in the future. When Justin arrived in Kamloops in 2007, he had just graduated Division 3 Mt. Union College, where he was a consistent 16 to 17 meter thrower. During his last meet for the school, he threw 18 meters for the first time and won the NCAA D3 title. Since joining the group he has made quick progress: last year he threw 19.52 meters and this year he expects to be in the 20 meter range in 2011. Rodhe also married Megan VanderVliet in 2009, a Commonwealth Games participant for Canada in the hammer throw and is deciding whether to compete for America or Canada in the future. The two recently launched Justin has been kind enough to share some of what he has learned about the shot put from Bondarchuk and others.


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7 replies
  1. Joe Donahue
    Joe Donahue says:

    Good article with a lot of substance.I would also add that the pool of American shot putters available at the high school level is quite large.It includes those who are top athletes in our major sport of football where training for athleticism is year round.Some of these who achieve success in the shot put change their sport future by bypassing football and continuing shot put development. By comparison to most countries the pool of available shot putters is quite large. The other factor and there are many, to consider, is that there has always been a large degree of experimentation by individual athletes with technique. There really has never been an enduring ‘American Technique’ and this breeds experimental breakthroughs. The success in American shot putting are bottom up energized by athlete experimentation even if the coaches don’t admit to it and I am an American coach.I welcome this collaboration.

  2. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    Nicely done guys! Well stated Justin….I totally track with everything you said…but then again, I trained with Bondarchuk and get it =)

  3. Zach
    Zach says:

    I was wondering if I could get some more clarification on the inactive right key. I’m confused because Justin said that Dr. Bondarchuk isn’t looking for an active rotation of the right foot in the middle of the ring.

    Can you help distinguish between the right turning vs. doing work?

    When I look at the big 3 and others I specifically note that their right foot comes to the middle of the ring on the toe and doesn’t ever stop rotating through the power position and the throw. They are generating power from the ground up.

    Do I have that wrong? Again, please help me with clarification. I was a collegiate shot putter turned part time coach and love to learn more about the sport that has given me so much.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Obviously the right foot will not stop rotating, but there is a difference between active and inactive rotation. In the hammer throw, it is impossible to stop the feet from moving since the hammer will turn them as it goes around. But there is a difference between trying to turn the feet faster on the one hand and just letting the hammer turn them naturally on the other. Maybe Justin can provide some comments, but I think it is similar in the shot put. Letting the momentum turn the feet and not having the foot be the main driver. Take a look at some slow motion video I took of Cantwell, Hoffa, and Nelson from last summer and I think you’ll see that the right foot isn’t as active as we all think it is: Cantwell, Hoffa, and Nelson.

  4. John
    John says:

    Isn’t this a contradiction with respect to the right foot/hip leading the throw? Last sentence in the paragraph after the 1-3. You don’t turn the right foot you slide the CG which results in a poor throw in general. Pushing on the shot early is an effect not a cause. Finger breakers so to speak.

    I will consider the discus and shot put for this question. Dr. Bondarchuk says there are three major requirements for good technique.

    1. A fast entry around left side.
    2. An inactive right foot in power position.
    3. A long finish forward and around the left foot.
    He most often critiques an athlete for pushing and actively rotating their right foot in the middle position. When an athlete uses their right foot, the right side of the body rises in the middle of rotation, causing a deceleration of body speed and change of implement position in the hand. This leads to a less explosive and off center release of the implement: this is the biggest cause of hand injury in shot put. If you watch the right foot of Nelson, Hoffa and Cantwell in the center position, there is very little movement. Their right side is turning, but the foot and leg is not doing the work.

  5. nik
    nik says:

    I’m interested in if “Average sessions find speeds of 2-2.7mps” is measures as average velocity over the concentric portion or if it is peak velocity during the concentric portion. two totally different things. i believe its peak, but still curious.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Just talked to Justin: “Peak velocity in concentric. The “averages” expression was meant for peak result averaged between sessions and lifts. Of course some lifts never reach these speeds. I.e. squats, plate twist, stepups.”


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