Mythbusters takes on "Throws like a Girl"

After coming across the TV show “Mythbusters” segment on “Throwing like a Girl” I thought this should become a separate topic.

Under the previous topic “Genetics vs Hard Work Regarding Velocity” I began a discussion of the phrase “Throws like a Girl” to see if it might shed some light on the relationship between genetics and hard work in the development of the throw.

Are there any reasons why girls should throw differently than boys or is this merely a cultural bias?

Mythbusters took on the question using motion analysis and radar as part of their “Battle of the Sexes, Round 2” segment.

Do you agree with their conclusions?

The show is broken up into several segments. Don’t miss the question and answer in the aftershow portion.


Here is an article that I ran across several months back that you will find interesting.

Thanks, August is reading catch up time…I’ll get to the paper in it’s entirety shortly.

Glancing through, it will be interesting to hear an anthropologist’s perspective….I see the author is at an Australian University, a sports and cultural studies hot spot. I’ve always been curious about the evolution of throwing…when did it first appear…what survival value did it have among primitives….how did it evolve?

Coincidently, in the “The Sports Gene,” Epstein mentions a study of throwing skill among aboriginal Australian children comparing boys to girls. Aboriginal Australians didn’t develop agriculture so remained hunter gathers. Girls from a young age are taught to throw projectiles for both combat and hunting just like the boys. I’ll share the findings later.

Ah, Nicholai Bernstein mentioned…he has done his homework…

Some more, “not so pretty” throws…in Obama’s defense I’ve seen other throws of his which are much better…as for the Dad in the commercial… no excuses as you’ve pointed out.

Here is one of the world’s soccer greats displaying a variety of talents….and then the ball unfortunately found its way into his hands…ouch :cry: :cry:

Below is a link to a David Kaplin WGN radio interview with “the Sports Gene” author David Epstein.

It starts with a timely discussion about PED’s, and then toward the end of the interview Epstein addresses, “throws like a girl” citing the study of Australian aborigine boys and girls who both learned to throw from an early age.

Indeed, the differences between aboriginal girls and boys were not nearly as pronounced as between American girls and boys.

Nonetheless aboriginal boys still threw harder and father than the girls, despite the fact that early maturation made the girls taller and heavier.

Thus, highly trained women may easily out-throw untrained men, but highly trained men clearly out- throw highly trained woman. Male Olympic javelin throwers throw 30% farther than females, despite the lighter weight of the female javelin, and Epstein points out that the Guinness World Record for the fastest baseball pitch by a woman is 65mph.

65 mph seems surprising low to me. I’ll guess that if a girl built along the lines of Jenny Finch or Cat Osterman made only overhand throws from a young age we would see velocities in the 70’s

Would they be able to reach the 90’s? It’s highly doubtful without some additional testosterone which needed to begin in the womb. Testosterone within the womb triggers genes to turn on and off, and is responsible for many physical developments of course. One that appears to contribute directly to throwing prowess is that boys start to develop longer forearms in the womb.

Given all the differences between the sexes that have been documented in scientific studies, the throwing gap has historically been one of the largest. Currently the difference between male and female velocity is about three standard deviations, which is about twice as great as the male/female disparity in height. IOW if you pulled 1000 men off the street 997 of them could throw a ball harder than the average woman.

Yet as we have seen with the female softball player in “Mythbusters” with practice the biomechanical profile of a girl starts to approach that of a male skilled thrower. While girls may lack the physical characteristics to throw as hard as boys their progress reveals just how skill dependant throwing is.

We all come out the womb with different athletic abilities, but nobody comes out throwing…okay, maybe Koufax. :lol: :lol: