Do you remember that "Like A Girl," ad that captivated the world during the Super Bowl and for weeks afterward? It's the one where the men, women and young boys who were asked to run or throw "like a girl," responded by performing the motion in mock parody. Of course, when the young girls were asked to run, jump or throw "like a girl," they gave it their all. As one little girl expresses, running like a girl means to "run as fast as you can."
Does the insult have any credence? That question was tackled in an episode of "Mythbusters." On the show, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman attempted to determine whether the phrase "throws like a girl" has any real basis. In other words: Do girls throw more poorly than boys? The team was looking for an experimentally provable difference between the way that men and women throw a ball.
Using eight test subjects from four different age groups, the "Mythbusters" team analyzed each participant's technique, speed and style while throwing a ball. In the initial round of testing, they found that the throwing technique was slightly different for young girls and women than it was for boys and men, with the male participants throws more closely resembling those of professional pitchers.
But, Savage and Hyneman wondered, is this because boys are naturally better at throwing a ball, or is it a cultural basis that has developed around the notion that boys and men simply practice this technique more than girls? In other words, are boys genetically better at throwing a ball than girls, or is this a learned behavior that could apply to both girls and boys equally?
To test this theory, the mythbusters asked their eight participants again to throw a ball — but this time using their left, non-dominant hand. This test, they reasoned, would cancel out any additional practice that boys might have throwing a ball than girls. Because no matter how many times you have thrown a ball with your right hand, that skill won't automatically transfer over to your left hand without additional practice.
And that is the meat of the matter — without practice, are boys naturally better at throwing a ball than girls? The answer is no. The experiments showed that the while the boys' throws were slightly more accurate than the girls, the girls' throws were actually faster than the boys. And when males and females throw with their non-dominant hand, their form is almost identical:
Just ask Little League baseball star Mo'ne Davis: