Female softball players, you might want to stop reading now. Researchers say that girls are indeed inherently worse at throwing than boys, reports the Washington Post. The gap in ability starts at a young age and gets progressively bigger. Some say it's all about nurture, because boys are usually encouraged to throw early and often. But a Texas professor tested that theory by looking at the throwing velocity of Australian aboriginal girls growing up in a culture where both men and women did the hunting, and thus the throwing. The aboriginal boys were still better.
Much has to do with rotation of the hips, says the professor, which is a crucial part of the throwing process that many girls don't do, or do poorly. He argues that as humans evolved, male hunters needed to throw well to get the meat (and the girl). Women may have had to do their throwing while holding a baby, limiting their range of motion. Harvard's women's softball coach, Jenny Allard, agrees that girls often throw like girls (her words), and says overhand throwing techniques are the most under-taught skill in her sport. But with practice, she argues, girls can overcome the gap. Read Tamar Haspel's full piece here. (Read more girls stories.)