Braemar Approach

This is a surprisingly complicated subject:

  • The athlete is not allowed to make an approach toward the trig in the Braemar event.
  • The Braemar throw is a PUT from a standing position with 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).

Plant-Foot = the foot nearest the trig; the foot that is opposite of the throwing hand.  a.k.a pivot-foot or non-drive foot

Drive-Foot = the foot farthest away from the trig

What is an Approach? What is a Standing Throw?

The Braemar event has no set rules on whether foot movement is allowed and when it is allowed, let alone what type of foot movement is allowed.

  • A judge should understand some of the arguments for and against allowing certain types of foot movement.
  • If judging an event with throwers from outside the region or if the interpretation of approach/movement is not standard for a given region, or if tighter definitions of foot movement is used, the judge would be wise to explain what is permitted and what would justify a scratch before the event begins.
    • This may save you some grief and is fair to all.

Sample of Rules

  • Borges based (SHA & SAAA)No approach is allowed, the competitor must make a standing throw. The competitor is allowed to reverse (switching the feet upon releasing the stone).
  • NASGAThe same rules apply in the Braemar Stone Put as in the Open Stone Put except there is no approach allowed. The stone must be put from a standing position. Reversing the feet after (I believe the rule means “during” not after) the release is allowed
  • USAD: No forward movement of the foot closest (plant-foot) to the trig is allowed. The front foot (drive-foot) can be raised as long as there is no forward movement toward the trig. Forward motion does not preclude pivoting of the front foot or sideways movement. Movement of the back foot is allowed. Reversing the feet upon the release is allowed.
  • Braemar Games RulesBoth feet must remain on the ground the whole time, no reverse is allowed — (NO SOURCE HAS BEEN FOUND FOR THIS RULE – is it an urban legend?)

Some Common Interpretation of Approach:

  • Advancing the drive-foot prior to the release motion is generally considered an approach.
  • Lifting the pivot-foot is generally not considered an approach.

Some Non-Standard Interpretation of Approach:

  • A thrower, upon reversing cannot have his drive-foot land in front of his plant-foot‘s initial position.
  • A thrower cannot step away from the trig toward the back of the box with his drive-foot and “bounce” to get a “rebound” in the throwing motion.
  • A thrower cannot raise the plant-foot, stomp it down in the process of throw, even if the plant-foot is against the trig.

If one of these interpretations are used, a good judge will inform the throwers of his interpretation of the rules under which the event will be judge.

Common Clarifications Used by Different Judges:

Three different but commonly used clarifications

  • The plant-foot can come up as long as it is planted behind where it originally was or in the exact same spot, other wise it is an advance.
    • This allows throwers who lifts his plant-foot, to drive it down into the side of the trig.
    • This also allows throwers to sweep his plant-foot along the trig, which some believes open up the hips while throwing.
  • If you move the plant-foot without moving the drive-foot you are not advancing toward the trig.
  • There is no advantage in moving the plant-foot, so do what you like with it.  However, moving the drive foot-forward (towards the trig) will be considered an approach,

Tradition Vs Throwing Mechanics

On one end of the spectrum is an interpretation that does not allow foot movement at all, which is (often defended by the statement that this the Braemar Games rules.  At the other end of the spectrum is an interpretation that allows almost all movement but forward movement of the drive foot based which is defended by throwing dynamics.

No matter wear you are on this spectrum, a judge should pause to consider why foot movement is or is not important in their interpretation of the rule.  If certain movement is not important, perhaps some of the illogical judges practices for this event will slowly fade from existence.  This of course is tempered with tradition, which should not be ignored.

Commonly Used Throwing Techniques with Foot Movement

Throwing Styles that move the Plant-Foot

  • Placing the plant-foot against the trig and during the throwing motion, the thrower rocks forward onto his drive-foot, raising the plant-foot. Followed by rocking back during the throwing motion, driving the plant-foot into the trig.
    • The believe is that this movement will get a longer push on the stone.
  • Placing the plant-foot against the trig and sweeping it across the trig.
    • The believe is that this will lead to opening up the hips during the throwing process.

The following counters the argument that these movements of the plant-foot give an advantage:

  • The drive in the throw comes from the front or drive-foot not the plant-foot. If longer distances occur, it is because the thrower is tricking his front leg (drive foot) to push harder to drive the plant-foot down.
  • When a thrower sweeps the plant-foot, he/she risks bringing the hips across rather than up. The result being a line drive with your head down as opposed to a powerful lift.

Source is 2004 NASGA post by McSantoli

Throwing Styles that move the Drive-Foot

Some throwers move their drive-foot away from the trig at the start of the throwing motion. If the plant-foot does not follow, this is not an approach.

  • Bounce effect
  • Some judges allow this movement others do not.


The following video contains examples of foot movements in the Braemar stone throw (harvested from various YouTube videos).  It attempts to show a variety of foot movements, which often are accepted but have been called approaches by others.  The video shows throwers stepping away from the trig, lifting of the plant foot, and forward movement of the plant foot.

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