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Why do girls throw like, well ... girls?

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  • Why do girls throw like, well ... girls?

    During softball tryouts a couple of weeks ago I was talking to one of the other coaches about why a large percentage of the girls (12U level) throw the way they do.

    A lot of them tend to push the ball, almost in a shotputting fashion. Many of them have the glove leg forward as they should, but they don't use the arm motion of baseball players or advanced softball players. Quite a few also stay squared up to the target instead of turning to throw. I only noticed maybe 2 or 3 that actually threw like a ball player.

    My 9 yo son, on the other hand, without me ever telling him how to throw, just throws it in a pretty natural baseball way.

    Any ideas on why this is? Is it a boy/girl thing? Any ideas on how to teach proper throwing technique. We talk a lot about hitting "cues", how about throwing "cues"? Does anyone have any that would help? Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by patsox View Post
    During softball tryouts a couple of weeks ago I was talking to one of the other coaches about why a large percentage of the girls (12U level) throw the way they do.

    A lot of them tend to push the ball, almost in a shotputting fashion. Many of them have the glove leg forward as they should, but they don't use the arm motion of baseball players or advanced softball players. Quite a few also stay squared up to the target instead of turning to throw. I only noticed maybe 2 or 3 that actually threw like a ball player.

    My 9 yo son, on the other hand, without me ever telling him how to throw, just throws it in a pretty natural baseball way.

    Any ideas on why this is? Is it a boy/girl thing? Any ideas on how to teach proper throwing technique. We talk a lot about hitting "cues", how about throwing "cues"? Does anyone have any that would help? Thanks.
    1. Poor instruction.
    2. Less practice.
    2. Less upper body strength.

    I just finished updating my piece on...

    - Proper Throwing Mechanics
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

    I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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    • #3
      Even in this day and age the expectations are lower for girls. They aren't worked with as much or held to a high standard. I never say "throw like a boy!" I say "throw like a ball player!".

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      • #4
        I think that the "wrong leg stride" is pretty natural for trying to move something that you're just not quite strong enough to really handle...they're trying to push something with their whole body instead of using rotation. I think that boys being a little stronger has something to do with it. The girls in softball having to use larger balls can't help either...they may be shotputting it because they can't grip a softball well. My wife STILL throws like that.
        I coach an 8U team and constantly remind the girls to point the glove at what they want to throw at and bring the ball back the other way, then step and throw. Probably not ideal for teaching really good mechanics, but it does keep them from stepping with the wrong foot.
        I have one girl who must be able to throw a baseball 45-50mph, saw her playing catch with her dad. She's small, but has a beautiful motion. I hope that she doesn't seriously bean one of the other gals!!!
        "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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        • #5
          I'd say you aren't watching good softball. I don't see that in even low level travel/select and rarely even in LL softball in our area.

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          • #6
            [QUOTE=Chris O'Leary;1195612]1. Poor instruction.
            2. Less practice.
            2. Less upper body strength.QUOTE]

            I agree, to a degree.

            Poor instruction, yes. Less practice, probably. Don't know about the upper body strength, though. If you watch really young kids (3 - 6 yr. olds) MANY players do that "push" thing...girls AND boys.

            Either way, all three points can be worked on.
            "There is no logical reason why girls shouldn't play baseball. It's not that tough. Not as tough as radio and TV announcers make it out to be ... Some can play better than a lot of guys who've been on that field." ~ Hank Aaron

            "Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing." ~ Warren Spahn

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            • #7
              It's all a part of the coddling by most parents and some coaches. Girls are treated completely different than boys of the same age. The game is different. There are face guards, large balls, singing, dancing, no pressure on the young girls. When the game is over there are snacks and drinks. There are tents placed over the bench to keep the sun off the girls. None of this is bad per say but it tells the girls that they are different and perhaps not accountable to the aggressive and demanding style of the boys.

              I don't coach my daughter's team but I do my son's; though, I've inserted myself from the beginning. The girls' coaches don't tell them much at all. They just tell them how great they are and lavish praise. I'm the only one who will even remotely mention or perhaps berate (if it's a continual issue) the girls for all the things listed in post #1 - trying to get them into proper mechanics.

              It's been my experience that the boys have always been told what is expected of them. But, the girls have never been given that push.

              The coaches don't expect a thing. They even refuse to tell the girls the score. Whenever they ask, the coach always says it's tied. The base coaches don't push the girls and they definitely don't coach them (but that's just parents - most are timid and say next to nothing).

              The girls aren't coaxed to be aggressive. Some never, never swing and are given compliments when they come back to the bench. I understand the desire not to upset the girls but spark some competiveness for Christ's sake.

              I took this girls aside and did some drills with her because she souldn't swing. Then, I walked up to her father and started talking about what she needs to do. All I got from him was that he was trying to build the girl's confidence by teaching her to get on base - by walking. She simply would not swing and hadn't done so in four games. He was teaching her to be a lump and applauding (he is the first base coach) when she was given the gift of a walk. What are you to do with that? I just walked away -- and the coddling continues.
              Last edited by Brian McKenna; 05-21-2008, 09:30 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                It's all a part of the coddling by some parents and coaches. Girls are treated completely different than boys of the same age. The game is different. There are face guards, large balls, singing, dancing, no pressure on the young girls. I don't coach my daughter's team but I do my son's. The girls' coaches don't tell them much at all. They just tell them how great they are. I'm the only one who will even remotely berate the girls for all the things listed in post #1. The coaches don't expect a thing. They even refuse to tell the girls the score. Whenever they ask. The coach always says it's tied. The base coaches don't push the girls.
                Wow, that totally takes away all competition. What would be the point of playing if you don;t get to experience every aspect of the game.
                See ball, hit ball.

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                • #9
                  Upon thinking about it...it MAY just be the size of the ball.

                  Just watched some videoes...the look in my 9 yr. old daughter's eyes the first time she even saw a softball (only a week ago)...PRICELESS! LMAO But anyway, throwing them...my 3 older girls (9, 6 and 4 currently) all had more of the natural motion when throwing a baseball, but when throwing the softball, all 3 of the girls - AND my 12 yr. old son - did that "push" thing.
                  "There is no logical reason why girls shouldn't play baseball. It's not that tough. Not as tough as radio and TV announcers make it out to be ... Some can play better than a lot of guys who've been on that field." ~ Hank Aaron

                  "Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing." ~ Warren Spahn

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 5LilPlayers View Post
                    Upon thinking about it...it MAY just be the size of the ball.
                    The size of the ball does matter. I much prefer a baseball. My daughter is in a 10U league (she's one of the two 10 year olds on the team). They use an 11" softball. It's not all that bad to throw. I've inserted a 12" ball into some of out practices and it's a huge difference (throwing and hitting) from the 11" ball. Next year they use the 12" ball.

                    She much prefers to throw and hit a baseball with me and my son in practice but she couldn't handle a baseball in game situations (off the bat).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PhilliesPhan22 View Post
                      Wow, that totally takes away all competition. What would be the point of playing if you don;t get to experience every aspect of the game.
                      I think you've touched on a key point. Speaking in generalities, boys play sports because they enjoy the competition. Girls play sports because they enjoy the social interaction. The genders are just wired differently. Understanding that motivational difference is, IMO, one key to successful softball coaches (at the rec level).

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                        I don't coach my daughter's team but I do my son's; though, I've inserted myself from the beginning. The girls' coaches don't tell them much at all. They just tell them how great they are and lavish praise. I'm the only one who will even remotely mention or perhaps berate (if it's a continual issue) the girls for all the things listed in post #1 - trying to get them into proper mechanics.
                        Why don't you coach your daughter's team? I notice many dads will go coach their sons but not their daughters. I fell I'll have a greater impact on my daughter's team then I did on my sons team for most of the reasons you listed.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 5LilPlayers View Post
                          Poor instruction, yes. Less practice, probably. Don't know about the upper body strength, though. If you watch really young kids (3 - 6 yr. olds) MANY players do that "push" thing...girls AND boys.
                          I don't think upper body strength differences really come into play until 5th or 6th grade. Then boys really start to bulk up.

                          Up through 3rd grade or so, the physical differences between boys and girls really aren't that major.

                          I do think the large size of a softball does make a difference. A softball is much bigger, and I know many of my 2nd grade boys have grip problems with standard-sized baseballs. I am sure they would have problems gripping a softball and that would affect how they threw the ball.
                          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                          I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Freestate View Post
                            I think you've touched on a key point. Speaking in generalities, boys play sports because they enjoy the competition. Girls play sports because they enjoy the social interaction. The genders are just wired differently. Understanding that motivational difference is, IMO, one key to successful softball coaches (at the rec level).
                            I have coached all of my kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, in most of their sports and I can tell you that this is completely true, at least when it comes to regular kids. The more competitive girls are more like the boys, but even then they are still different. Just watch women's college softball.
                            Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                            I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Freestate View Post
                              I think you've touched on a key point. Speaking in generalities, boys play sports because they enjoy the competition. Girls play sports because they enjoy the social interaction. The genders are just wired differently. Understanding that motivational difference is, IMO, one key to successful softball coaches (at the rec level).
                              I could not agree with you more.
                              See ball, hit ball.

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