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Re: sex differences in throwing

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  • Re: sex differences in throwing


    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
    __________________________________________________ __
    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."

    Brad Wright wrote:

    It's widely held (among boys, at least) that girls throw balls (and
    punches) different from boys, hence the familiar phase, "throw like a
    girl". Does anyone know (a) whether any significant sex differences
    throwing style have been demonstrated in the biomechanics literature
    (b) what biomechanical differences might account for throwing style
    differences, if they exist?

    Anecdotally, my impression is that very small children show no
    throwing style differences between the sexes; only later do any
    differences become evident, and they may be due largely to differences
    experience or training. However, I've heard it argued that even
    athletically inclined women tend to throw more "like a girl" than the
    typical man. Any ideas (or better yet, data)?


    Brad Wright
    University of Chicago

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