Shot Surfaces - Which One Should You Choose?
By Chris Dyrmishi
Picking the right Shot Put implement material can be a tricky process that requires a lot of trial and error. Along with this, the cost of high-quality implements has increased, providing another barrier for aspiring Shot Putters.
A myth within the throwing community amongst (mainly) beginner throwers is that the more expensive an implement is, or the better it looks, the further you will throw. This is certainly not the case. A big mistake is seeing young athletes go straight to stainless steel or brass implements simply due to the aesthetics.
HOW DO DIFFERENT SHOT PUT IMPLEMENTS FEEL?
When a cast iron implement is used a lot over time, larger cracks and chips will develop. This simply feels like there is holes in the implement which can cause a lot of the discomfort and when you release the Shot, can cause cuts.
On the other hand, stainless steel and brass implements are much less likely to have large cracks due to the high tensile strength of the material.
Small cuts will be present all across the implement however which can cause small cuts on your throwing hand and/or neck. This can be somewhat avoided with a kind of chalk.
Turned iron and steel implements will have very become minimally cracked and chipped over a long period of time. This will feel like a mixture of the implements above - but to a less severe extent and make for a good middle range implement.
WHICH SHOT PUT MATERIAL SHOULD I BUY?
CAST IRON SHOT BY NEUFF
First, we will start with Cast Iron. This is by far the most affordable material of implements out of the available range. These implements start at £20 (https://www.neuff.co.uk/collections/shot-put/products/neuff-nelco-cast-shot) and are a good investment for young athletes who are just beginning to throw Shot Put.
On the other hand, these implements will not last long compared to others due to the weakness of the material. Especially when throwing onto stone sectors - the Shot will start developing chips and cuts in it over time.
PROS OF CAST IRON
- Very affordable
- Good investment for beginners starting out
- Can buy in various sizes
CONS OF CAST IRON
- Will chip away heavily over time (weak tensile strength)
- Chips in the Shot can cause cuts in your hand or neck
- Guaranteed to rust over time
Overall, Cast Iron Shots are a wise investment for those just learning to throw, those looking for a budget implement or those looking to test different size implements before committing to a high-quality Shot. It is definitely recommended that you upgrade once you are comfortable with a particular implement to ensure you can put out your best performances!
STAINLESS STEEL AND BRASS SHOTS
Next, let’s look at stainless steel and brass implements. These implements are well known for being some of the most expensive Shots available, but does this mean they are the best?
Of course, it is down to personal experience and opinion, but some of the reasons people go for stainless steel and brass implements are:
a) You can get the smallest diameter Shot
b) The appearance
c) It is believed to be the highest quality available
Here are some of the pros and cons of brass and stainless steel Shots:
PROS OF STAINLESS STEEL AND BRASS
- Well balanced weight
- Unlikely to become chipped when used on appropriate throwing surface
- Unlikely to lose weight (can use competitively for many seasons)
CONS OF STAINLESS STEEL AND BRASS
- Can be expensive
- Grip can be poor (chalk will not stick)
- Not suitable for use on stone-based sectors (will chip)
- Smallest diameter implement can cause injury (see article on how to pick diameter)
Overall, unless you have a very good feeling for this type of implement, you should go with another material due to limiting grip factors and price points.
TURNED IRON/TURNED STEEL SHOTS
Finally, we will discuss Turned Iron and Turned Steel implements. These material implements are generally considered ‘the best’ amongst the throwing community due to a combination of factors.
PROS OF TURNED IRON & TURNED STEEL
- Hold chalk well
- Can get a variety of sizes
- Last longer than Cast Iron
- Less likely to chip
CONS OF TURNED IRON & TURNED STEEL
- Can become smooth after a while
- Turned Iron will last less long than Turned Steel
Overall, Turned Steel and Turned Iron implements are the best choice as they are affordable, will last long, and you can get a variety of diameters.