Weights for Distance

Standard Field LayoutWFD-Box

A Trig is a 4’-6” long 6” x 6” timber

The Throwing Box measuring 4’-6” by 9′-0” rectangle abutted to the trig.

How the lines are painted determine In and out of bounds, which is discussed below.

The Weights

    • The Official length of an implement used in weight for distance events is its total length, including the weight, handle, chain, and any attaching devices. All weights shall be 18” or less in total length measured from top of the handle to the bottom of the weight.
      • Track and field measure from the bottom (not the top) of the handle to the bottom of the implement.
      • Track and Field’s way of measuring the implement length is logical as the diameter of the handle does not influence the implement’s length.
    • The weight shall be made of metal and shall consist of a spherical, box, or conical shape
    • The handle may be triangle, ring, or “D” shaped.

Men’s Weights:

As a judge, part of your responsibility is to educate the public on the events.  When answering questions about the implement weights, a judge should first give the weight in stones (1 stone  = 14 lbs) than in pounds with a little explanation of the history (The weights are most likely agriculture scale weights which used the imperial weight system).  This adds to the mystic and history of this event — the judge is selling heavy athletics as a cultural as well as athletic event.

Men’s Pro & Amateur Heavy-Weight at least 56lbs 4 Stones
Men’s Lightweights & Masters Heavy-Weight at least 42lbs 3 Stones
Men’s Light-Weight at least 28lbs 2 Stones
Women’s Pro & Amateur Heavy-Weight at least 28lbs 2 Stones
Women’s Masters Heavy-Weight (1)
at least 21lbs 1.5 Stones
Women’s Light-Weight at least 14 lbs 1 Stones

(1) The age group in which Women Master’s heavy weight is used for records kept by Scottish Masters Athletics International is defined as age 45 and above.  Some AD’s are using the 21 lb Master’s Women heavy-weight for all Master’s Women divisions (40 and above) as that parallels their male counter parts.

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 weight, but only one hand may be used. 

“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 worded, 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-bound (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 announcing 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.

An example of where the rules can be standardized without losing anything.

Foot Fouls

      • A competitor may start with one foot outside of the sidelines but neither foot may be over the back line.
      • A competitor may end with one foot outside of the sidelines as long as it is behind the back edge of the trig.
      • 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 and 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 touchIn this area, one of the competitor’s feet may touch as long as the other foot is completely within 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 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 judging 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 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.

Possible safe styles you will see other than the single and double spin are:

      • Discus Spin (on the light weight)
      • Side throw
      • Irish Sling in which the thrower has a motion similar to standing Weight over bar but throws the implement for distance.

Safety – Where should the Judge Stand?  

The best judges position in the weight events is directly behind the box, where the judge can clearly judge foot fouls, and scan the impact zone,

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.


      • 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 can trip someone leading to an 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

What is wrong with the judge in the below picture?

what not to do2


        1. He is talking on a cell phone well judging!
        2. He is not standing directly behind the trig, which is an ideal position to view all foot faults.

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.

What is your view and the ADs view about the Consumption of Alcohol before and during the competition?  Should it be prohibited? Smoking on the field?  This is a family event and are these two actions say to the audience?