Science Questions

Is there such a thing as a "girl's throw"?

Sat, 28th Apr 2012

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Question

Slack, Steve asked:

Why do girls all "throw like girls"? Is there something in their physiology that prevents the fairer sex from throwing a ball properly?

 

Steve Slack

 

Answer

Diana -   I had a little think about this and first of all, we probably need to define what a girlís throw is.  I think itís probably when you try and throw something overarm and you just use perhaps the lower portion of your arm; So, the upper portion where your humerus and bicep and all that is, doesnít really move and itís just your forearm thatís doing the throwing, and your hand of course.  So, the question is, why would only a girl be throwing in this manner and I think itís actually probably something that's a bit more cultural than necessarily anatomical because...

Chris -  Learned helplessness.  Is that what you're saying?

Diana -  Yeah, learned helplessness(!)  But I think a few decades ago, perhaps not so much now, the practice was to take your daughter and give her dolls and make her do girly exercises, and then with your boys, you take them outside and play football with them or play catch and throw, and that kind of thing.  So, I think for a lot of girls, they probably just didnít learn the techniques of throwing properly and so, the sort of automatic response to throwing something is to kind of do it in this funny over arm way and perhaps not underarm or using the proper sort of baseball throw.

Dave -  I was not a very outdoors boy and it took me until I was about 11 or 12 to learn how to do that throw which seems to involve throwing your elbow forward, storing energy in your elbow, and then flicking your hand over...

Chris -  You do a physicistís throw.  So do you analyse this in a sort of physics way and go, ďHow can I impart the maximum kinetic energy to the ball by adopting the following anatomical posture?Ē

Dave - It was more that I noticed that when I did this anatomical thing that it seemed to be working rather well both kind of sideways and upright.

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