The Stones

Field Layout

A Trig is a 4’-6” long 6” x 6” timberStone-Box.

The Throwing Box is a 4’-6” by 7′-6” rectangle abutted to the trig.   

How the lines are painted determines In and out of bounds (lines are in or lines are out), which is discussed below.


The Stones

There is no standard shape, size, or weight of a throwing stone. The following are suggested guidelines for the stones:

  • Men’s Braemar Stone suggested weight: 20 to 30lb
    • 22 lbs seems to be the minimum used for records and Pro database but their are records for lesser Braemar stones.  Suggest using 22 and above.
  • Women’s Braemar Stone suggested Weight: 12 to 18 lbs
      • RMSA and USAD rules suggest minimum weight of 12 lbs, others use 13 lbs.
  • Men’s Open Stone suggested weight: 16 to 20lbs
  • Women’s Open Stone suggested Weight: 8 to 12lbs

Throwing Motion

  • Any throwing style maybe used by the competitor, as long as it is deemed safe by the judge.
  • The competitor may use either hand to “throw” the stone, but only one hand may be used. 
  • The athlete is not allowed to make an approach toward the trig in the Braemar event.
  • The Stones throw is a PUT using one hand.
  • PUT requires the stone to remain against the neck or shoulder throughout the throw until the release.
  • At no time during the PUT may the stone be brought behind the line of the shoulders (as in a baseball throw) or brought below the shoulders (no underhanded throws).

Judging The Braemar

The Braemar event is a standing stone throw.  No approach towards the trig is allowed. What is considered or not considered an approach for the Braemar stone is a surprisingly complicated subject.  Please refer to Braemar Approach for more details.

Often the Judge positions himself opposite the release side of the thrower to get the best advantage for judging whether there is an approach or not, while still maintaining a view of the impact zone.  An alternative judging position is the corner of the box opposite the release side of the thrower as this provides a good view to judge whether an approach occurs while providing a view of the plant-foot (for plant-foot measuring) and the throwing field (for safety).

“Under Control” – Its a regional thing!

Not all rule sets have an “Under Control” clause:

the competitor will complete the throw under control as decided by the judge or the throw will be ruled a foul.

for more info, see < Under Control >

The Box

How the box is painted determines how the rules are interpreted, but it does not change how the rules are in-forced.

  • Regional or AD preferences will cause the throwing box to be painted so that the Lines are in-bounds (the outside edge is 4.5’ apart) OR the Lines are out-of-bounds (the inside edge is 4.5’ apart).
    • An inspection on where the lines meet the trig will give you an indication of whether the side lines are in or out.
    • A good judge will announce to the flight whether the lines are in or out of bounds.
  • When the lines are in-bonds, a fraction of the foot over the outside edge of the painted line causes the foot to be out of bounds.
  • When the lines are out-of-bonds, a fraction of the foot touching the painted line causes the foot to be out of bounds.

This is an example of where the rules can be standardized without losing anything.

Foot Fouls

  • A competitor may start with one foot out of bonds but neither foot may commit a back line foul. 
  • A competitor may end with one foot out of bonds as long as it is behind the back edge of the trig (the side facing the throwing box).
  • One of the competitor’s feet must always remain in the throwing area either on the ground or in the space above the throwing area through out the throw.
  • These fouls will rarely come into play for the Braemar stone or hammer throw.
  • If in doubt, the foul should not be called.

More Foot Faults



notouch In this area, no part of the competitors body can touch.

OneFoot touch In this area, one of the competitor’s feet may touch as long as the other foot is completely within or over the throwing area

AllCanTouch In this area, any part of competitor may touch and may require the competitor to be in control.

A throw will be a foul if the competitor touches the ground as defined in Figure 1 or any surface of the trig other than the edge facing the throwing area.

  • If the thrower steps over the trig, the throw is scratched.
  • If the thrower steps behind the back line, the throw is scratched.
  • If the thrower touches any part of the ground in front of the back edge of the trig with any part of his body, the throw is scratched.

Consistency and Warnings

  • Although it is not required, part of the honor and sportsmanship embedded in Heavy Athletics leads to Judge’s warning competitors that they almost committed a foul.
  • This allows competitors to make adjustments on the next throw to avoid that foul.
  • Consistency is important to avoid the appearance of favoritism.  In other words, if you warn one thrower, you should warn them all.

Stopping the Throwing Motion – Two Versions

  • Judge’s Permission (USAD and RMSA are modification to NASGA based Rules): With the Judges approval, a competitor may stop during a throw and re-start the throw as long as no foul has occurred.

Comment: In many ways, it is impossible for the judge to respond fast enough to grant the thrower permission to stop.  A possible reason why a rule-set would require Judge’s permission has to do with determining whether a fault has occurred.  When permission is asked, the judge has a point in time to determine if a foul has occurred.  This allows the competitor to use means of stopping his motion that may other wise be considered a foul such as driving the hammer into the ground.

This is another judge’s training issue.

  • Thrower’s Right (Borges Based Rules): The competitor may start and stop their throw provided that no part of the implement has made contact with the ground or the trig board during the aborted attempt. If the implement has made contact with the ground or the trig board after the attempt was initiated and prior to receiving permission from the judge, then the attempt will be a foul.

Judge’s training issue: What happens when a hammer head grazes the ground at low point of swing?   The rule did not take this into consideration, However, commons sense applies and touching the ground would preclude grazing but would include bad-form where the head nails the ground effecting the throwers ability to complete the throw.

Once the throwing motion has stopped:

  • The Judge may allow the setting of the throwing implement down.
  • The Judge may allow or disallow the competitor from leaving the throwing area before re-starting
  • The time of day, order in event rotation, and the number of other flights waiting for the throwing pit factor in the judge’s decision

Is the Throwing Style Safe?

The Judge determines whether a throwing style is safe and whether the athlete can perform that style safely.  This comes into play for those show-off cartwheel shot putters??

Safety – Where Should a Judge Stand?  

The best judge’s position in the open stone event is directly behind the box, where the judge can clearly watch for foot fouls, scan the impact zone, and determine the plant foot position (when plant foot measuring is used).  For the Braemar stone, many judges stand opposite of the release side of the thrower or the back corner to better determine whether an approach was made.

  • Before each throw, the field should be scanned for those foolish enough to cross. Throwing should be halted until the field is clear of those not involved in the event.
  • Before each throw, the judge should clear the “kill zone”.


  • Never stand or allow others to stand on the thrower’s release side as this is one of the most dangerous place to observe an event, even when a cage is used.  There is a reason why it is called the kill zone.

Safety – Where should the Competitors Stand?  

Even though each and every thrower is responsible for his/her own safety, the judge has the ability set the tone by emphasizing safety issues before each event.

The Judge may want to remind those in the field, especially volunteers and novice throwers, to step to the side rather than moving backwards to avoid implements.  It is more likely that divots will trip someone when stepping backwards leading to a preventable accident.

  • In the field beyond the impact zone is a safe area for throwers waiting their turn to shag or throw.
    • This of course is only true if they are not standing in the landing zone of another event!
  • Inform those in the field that it is safer to step to the side than step backwards to avoid flying implements
  • If a thrower is heads-above the others in the flight, a simple heads up to those in the impact zone is wise.
  • If the the thrower is a lefty, a simple heads up maybe wise as they release from the opposite side and the implement usually lands in a different sector of the impact zone.

There is no guarantee safe place and the implements can take strange bounces depending on the surface — As a Judge, emphasize Safety

Other Safety Practices

The Judge and competitor are not equipment experts.  However, the judge and competitors should periodically inspect the implement for damage that would compromise its integrity.

  • The tightness of the shackle or other connecting devices.
  • PVC hammer handles with kinks by the head indicating imminent failure.

An announcement that a left hand thrower is up maybe prudent.

  • They release on the opposite side than most, which  may dictate observes to move.
  • This alerts those in the field as the implement tends to land in a different segment of the field.

If a noticeably superior thrower (pro throwing with Ams) is up, a simple heads up call to those in the field maybe in order.