Why Do Girls Throw Like.....Um, Girls?

Not to be sexist or anything, but I’ve noticed that even athletic girls like my girlfriend still throw a ball in that stereotypically “girly” way.

How come?

Maybe it has to do with different anatomy/centre of gravity? i.e. those silly breasts keep getting in the way!

Long and complicated reason cut short - girls were not the hunters.

To my mind, “throwing like a girl” means throwing by using the wrong plant foot. For people who are not used to throwing balls or other objects, it makes sense to step forward with the right foot when throwing with the right arm. Problem is, that diminishes the body’s torque and makes for an awkward-looking, shoulder-only throw.

So to answer the OP: lack of repetition and learning the proper plant foot.

(And I am guessing that your girlfriend is fit but not a team sports player.)

A secondary answer would be the size of the ball thrown. Men’s hands tend to be bigger and therefore better able to throw large balls. If the ball is too big for your hand, your wrist bends too much.

I am not sure. I am a guy and I throw like a girl with my left hand. My throwing with my right hand is fairly respectable under the standards of guydom. The difference, strangely enough, seems to be with the range of motion I have with each arm. My right arm can complete a windmill motion, much like an overhand pitcher in baseball. My left doesn’t naturally do the same thing. It is left akimbo with my forearm doing most of the work to move the ball.

I have always been mystified as to why this is. I have worked on changing it with little success.

I would think it is largely a matter of training. There are female baseball players and javelin throwers aren’t there? Do they typically throw like girls?

Try throwing with your non-dominant hand. Odds are, unless you are ambidextrous, you will “throw like a girl”. After a bit of training, you can throw almost equally as well with both hands. It’s just lack of practice. ( I discovered this at age 10 or so and quickly set about rectifying it. :stuck_out_tongue: )

I agree with Cher3. I have 4 sisters, and one of em taught me how to throw (and I throw ‘normally’) - all of them played softball, and all of them throw ‘like guys’. In fact, I don’t know too many women who throw ‘like girls’. I would assume that with sports being less a male only thing these days, less and less girls/women throw like that. Thowing like a girl simply means that the thrower hasn’t mastered the very unnatural motion used to throw a ball overhand. Go check out a women’s Varsity level high school softball game and tell me how many of the players throw ‘like girls’

There was an article in the Atlantic of all places that examined this issue.

Females usually don’t learn to throw objects by holding their arm up and making sure that their wrist is OUTSIDE their elbow.

If you take your non-dominant arm and try to throw you will notice that your wrist is INSIDE the elbow when you throw.

I noticed when I went to several baseball games in Japan and there were numerous instances when women were throwing baseballs before the game started (contest, first pitches, etc.) that nearly every woman threw the ball well and with the proper form. It could be that there is better PE training in Japan for this skill.

In just five minutes, I once taught a teen-aged girl how to throw ‘like a boy.’ It’s just a matter of learning the correct form.


Yeah, but can you throw a match like a professional wrestler?

I’ve watched a decent amount of NCAA softball, though, and while those girls can all out throw me (a man), and can throw much harder and more accurately than MOST men, there is still something about their delivery that is “throwing like a girl.” Maybe I’m just observing it wrong?

What I’m saying is that they throw perfectly well, but with a different style.

It’s all about training.

I never learned to throw a ball. My dad never taught me. Not because I’m a girl, but because he’s just not into that kind of sport. I don’t think he taught my brother how to throw either.

I didn’t learn in gym class, either. No physical education happened in physical education class. We just played games and sports, and if you didn’t know how to throw a ball, then you were just considered unathletic, and you got picked last for teams. I suppose it never occured to the gym teacher to actually teach us something. High school gym was better in the sense that they did teach us how to do things, like fencing. But they didn’t teach how to throw. I guess they thought that we would know how already, and if we didn’t, we were just hopeless.

I finally learned to throw when I was training to be a whitewater raft guide. I had to be able to throw the rope bag accurately. For the first time in my life, throwing well a) was important, and b) someone bothered to show me how. I’m still not very good at it, but a little instruction and some practice went a long way.

BobT description of how to throw properly makes perfect sense. If only someone had bothered to teach me that when I was little.

I think a lot of things that women are supposedly bad at are because they just aren’t taught the proper techniques. Throwing is one of them. Using tools is another. I was taught all about how to use tools by my dad, which seems to be somewhat unusual. I joined a sorority in college, and as part of our activities, we did some pretty elaborate construction projects. It was amazing how many of these girls didn’t even know how to use a hammer when they joined the sorority. The other girls taught them how to do it. A girl would be holding the hammer right up by the head with both hands going tink tink tink and complaining that they were too weak to drive in a nail. So another girl would see this, and show her how to use the hammer properly, and within a couple of minutes, the “weak” girl would be pounding in framing nails like a pro.

Anyway, I think the throwing thing is changing as more girls are actually being taught to throw. When I was growing up (I was born in 1971) it was perfectly acceptable for a girl to be athletic, but it was okay to be unathletic too. These days, athletics are expected from girls, so they are being taught.

For the same reason all black peole are good dancers?

Seriously, dude, all girls don’t “throw like a girl,” plenty of dweeb guys “throw like a girl” and I could strike out every freakin’ guy in my neighborhood.

Ever notice that girls will carry a book by cradleing it, while guys straight-arm it?

OR - try this - draw a line along your spine. Draw another connecting the points of your shoulder blades.
Place your finger on the intersection of those two lines.

If you can do it, or come reasonably close, you’re female. If you fail miserably, you’re male.

(which is why you dont see men’s garments buttoning up the back)

Extraneous: I don’t see how that is remotely related to the topic, if even true…

Like many questions on this site about differences between male/female, straight/gay, whites/blacks, the answer is sociological.

There was another interesting study done in this documentary (it was Battle of the Sexes, I believe). This sort of correlated with what BobT mentioned.

[li]The researchers gathered secondary-school students (a mixed school, so girls and boys) onto their playground. [/li][li]It was organised so that the students were lined up along just one side of the court, and it was done so that the youngest year (form one students) would go first, form two second and so on. Each student was given one of those small beanbags, the ones we used to toss around as kids. Each girl was given a yellow beanbag and every boy received a blue one, and they were instructed to throw or ‘chuck’ them as far as possible.[/li][li]As you can guess, right the way through the school on average the boys threw the beanbags further than the girls.[/li][li]The researchers watched the tapes of the study and tehy concluded that a main factor (besides strength) was that boys would instinctively ‘flick’ their wrists upon releasing the beanbags, whilst most of the girls didn’t.[/li][/ul]

There are many other factors of course and lots of interesting points have been made in this thread.

The explanation I heard (no cite):

There is a subtle difference in the anatomy of female vs. male elbows - the male’s is optimized for throwing and clubbing; the female’s is for nuturing.

Guys - try to cradle a baby for HOURS - it just ain’t comfortable.

And, if it needs to be clearer: the difference in the elbow structure pre-disposes throwing technique.


This reminds me of a sort of “field day” thing we did when I was in first grade. It was basicly like shot put with bean bags. It was co-ed and all the boys were consistently throwing much farther than all the girls. I was the very last to throw and had been analyzing all the kids that went before me. I did the whole wrist-flick thing like most of the boys, but I also sort of instinctually used a technique that nobody else had used. I held the beanbag by the very corner between my thumb and forefinger and kind of just “whipped” the beanbag as I flicked my wrist and swung my arm.

I’ll never forget the reaction from everyone when my throw went over the fence, hit some trees, and still landed easily twice as far as the closest competitor. All the kids thought I was like Superman or something, but it was really just proper technique. I was just a bird-chested little squirt at that time and I didn’t have any type of throwing practice whatsoever.
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My gym teacher in grade ten told me I threw like a girl… Thing is I am a girl…??

I’d guess a lot of girls aren’t taught the “proper” way to throw.