View Full Version : SUMMARY: sex differences in throwing

Brad Wright
07-11-1998, 01:09 AM
Many thanks to all who have responded to the question on sex
differences in throwing. Below is a summary of all informative
responses, including those that have already been posted directly to
the listserv.

Brad Wright

University of Chicago

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For sex differences in throwing do a search for the following


L E Halverson, M A Roberton, J R Thomas, K E French, K M Haywood,

K Williams.

You might also want to check out some of the literature on related

topics such as rapid movement differences in males and females

(e.g., Ives, JC et al. Res. Quart. Exerc. Sport, 64:274-283, 1993)

Jeff Ives, Ph.D.

Dept Exercise and Sport Sciences

Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY 14850


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I have looked at a few females under 3D high-speed videography and
compared them to a large database of collegiate pitchers (male) in
overhand throwing of a fastball. The differences I saw seemed to be
related to lack of technique due to lack of experience throwing
overhand and not so much with the sex of the person throwing the ball.
In addition, total body lack of strength and poor timing of body
segments in the throwing progression contributed to the effect of
"throwing like a girl". To be more specific, I found that females (or
inexperienced throwers) not acustomed to throwing overhand tend to keep
the elbow about about 40-60 degrees more flexed approaching release of
the ball. This increased flexion near release gives an observer the
impression that the inexperienced thrower is almost pushing the ball
("throwing like a girl"). This may be partly due to the insecurity of
wanting to allow the elbow to approach max extension while moving at
top speed near ball release as college male pitchers do (155-165 deg at
release). The inexperienced thrower will tend to keep the ball and
hand closer to the ear approaching release hence the elbow flexion.
This increased flexion state severely decreases the body's ability to
apply force to the ball therefore, ball velocity is dramatically
reduced. Other gross differences between an experienced and
inexperienced thrower are in the amount of shoulder external rotation
during the cocking phase and the internal rotation velocity approching
ball release. Timing issues involving first-stride leg placement,
second-pelvic rotation, third-torso rotation, fourth-shoulder ext
rotation, fifth-elb extension, and sixth-shoulder int rotation (in that
order) are all screwed up in the inexperienced thrower.

My opinion is that differences in throwing techniques between males and
females are more related to lack of experience (as measured in # of
balls thrown during childhood, teen years, adult hood) rather than to
differences in anatomy and/or skeletal mechanics associated with
different genders.

Patrick Castagno


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Patrick W. Castagno, MS

Manager/Biomechanist - duPont Hospital for Children

Gait Analysis Laboratory

1600 Rockland Road

Wilmington, DE 19899



"The Victory lies in the struggle."

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Interesting question.

I can't help you with data, but would agree that the differences are

mainly due to environmental reasons; such as experience, training, and


I saw highlights this morning on ESPN of a female pitcher from the

leauge. She definitely threw 'like a boy'.

Take Care,


Erik E. Swartz, M.A., A.T.,C

Doctoral Student

Applied Biomechanics

Health Promotion and Human Performance

2801 W. Bancroft

University of Toledo

Toledo, OH 43606

(419) 530-2753


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I did my biomechanics dissertation on gender differences in technique

intercollegiate javelin throwers (1997) - if you are interested in

type of throwing data, I could fax or e-mail to you. I investigated

peak angular acceleration, and timing of the peak acceleration for the

knee, pelvis, shoulder, and elbow joints. Let me know if you would
like to

see it.


G. Monique Butcher PhD ATC

Barry University

11300 NE 2nd Ave.

Miami Shores, FL 33161


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And here are some responses to a similar question posted a few months
ago by Gary Chimes:

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Date sent: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 12:31:11 +0900

To: Gary Chimes