If you ask Joe Kovacs, there is always one sure-fire way to work out who is on top in a shot put competition. "Whoever yells the loudest is doing the best," says the two-time world and Wanda Diamond League champion with a wink. "Or at least that's what the crowd thinks."
In reality, of course, the shot put is about more than just a big yell. A highly complex event which relies as much on technique and flow as it does on strength, you need more than a good set of vocal chords to propel a 7.26 kilogram ball more than 20 metres.
Kovacs is more qualified than most to explain what the event is about. A world champion in 2015 and 2019 and a silver medallist at both of the last two Olympic Games, the 33-year-old American has been among a cohort of shot put legends who have pushed the discipline to ever more dizzying heights - or lengths - in recent years.
Alongside compatriot Ryan Crouser and New Zealand rival Tom Walsh, Kovacs has also been one of the stand-out stars the Diamond League over the last decade. Having grabbed his first title back in 2015, he had to wait seven years before getting his hands on the Diamond Trophy again. When he did so, he did so in style, waltzing to four back-to-back victories before he smashed the series record with a title-winning 23.23m at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich last September.
That is no mean feat. With the likes of Walsh and Crouser breathing down his chalk-covered neck as he takes to the ring, the pressure is always on. Kovacs admits that a lot of the shot put is in the mind: "7.26 kilos is the weight of a bowling ball or two gallons of milk, but some days it weighs a lot heavier than others."
The key, he explains, is to remain as relaxed as possible, especially during the set-up. "The important thing when you get set up is to take all your intensity and make sure you're not tense. The more relaxed you are at the start, the more whip you're going to have at the finish."
That whip is crucial for the modern rotation technique which Kovacs, like most of his fellow shot putters, tends to favour. The throwing style involves the athlete spinning around within the ring before launching the ball with a two-footed hop at the moment of truth.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Kovacs draws a comparison with the high jump. Though the two events might look very different at first glance, the basic rhythm is not dissimilar. "Think of the rotation like a high jumper running on a curve," says Kovacs. "We're taking all this momentum, and when we land it turns into a vertical jump. We're landing, arching back with our chest and throwing the ball as far as we can."
Once you've done that, the only thing left to do is yell your lungs out.