Floating effortlessly out to the horizon
February 7, 2013 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Men throwing rocks with the other hand.

If that's not enough rock throwing action, here's a short behind the scenes video.
posted by 2bucksplus (30 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Very nice. And good demonstration that throwing is not a gendered gift but a trained skill.
posted by Miko at 8:48 PM on February 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

It would give me great pleasure to see a film of Tom Brady doing this, over and over.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:51 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

One great thing about playing handball for a few years, the off-hand throwing is a little less embarrassing.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:52 PM on February 7, 2013

I like these guys.
posted by amanda at 8:52 PM on February 7, 2013

Miko: which is to say that the phrase "throwing like a girl" really means "not knowing the mechanics of throwing," basically having your feet wrong, facing your destination rather than turning mostly sideways, lifting your front leg, and planting it toward your target as you release, etc.
posted by msalt at 9:01 PM on February 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Very nice. And good demonstration that throwing is not a gendered gift but a trained skill.

True. I can imagine that being practiced at throwing a baseball (or whatever) with your dominant hand de-trains you for throwing with the off hand, because it's not just arm motion, but mechanics of feet placement and so forth. You might be able to get the correct elbow-first motion right, but if your feet are flipped it's still going to go all wonky.
posted by axiom at 9:05 PM on February 7, 2013

And... no lefties that I saw. Any lefty knows how to not look totally pathetic when doing something with their right hand.
posted by aspo at 9:13 PM on February 7, 2013 [7 favorites]

I can't throw anything worth a damn even with my right hand. I wouldn't know that the mistakes msalt mentioned were mistakes. I still chuckled like a bastard throughout.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:21 PM on February 7, 2013

I was thinking about this earlier this week, after making a post on the lengths the filmmakers of Pride of the Yankees had to go to, to present righty Gary Cooper as a convincing lefty Lou Gehrig. Apparently they were able to train him to swing lefty and catch lefty, but throwing with the wrong hand they just couldn't train (even just to the "looks convincing on film" level, forget "actually making your target")... it's cool that that skill is so much more complex.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:22 PM on February 7, 2013

I like this so much because you can tell, sometimes before the rock even leaves their hands, that the men know it's going to be a terrible throw.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:36 PM on February 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Something about this made me grin like an idiot from start to finish.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:43 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like that they all seem to find it hilarious.

I broke my dominant arm when I was a kid and was in a cast from fingertips past my elbow for almost two months. I learned to do pretty much everything with my left hand at least passably, including being able to write legibly, but I couldn't throw worth a damn.
posted by rtha at 9:55 PM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sometimes at water polo we practice throwing left handed. It looks like this, except more silly because we're in the water.
posted by andoatnp at 10:24 PM on February 7, 2013

I can imagine that being practiced at throwing a baseball (or whatever) with your dominant hand de-trains you for throwing with the off hand...

This. In the martial artish thing I do there is a blow I can throw with my right arm that, if I try to do with my left, I strike with massively insufficient force while making these guys look graceful and elegant. Except for twice. In both cases people who were more skilled than I were pushing me hard and the part of my brain where I keep things like personality and rational thought just threw in the towel. And then my hind brain kicked in and I threw beautiful off-handed wrap that, in both cases, hit hard enough for my opponent to tell me I was being a bit excessive.

Do it on command? Don't be ridiculous.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:35 PM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Saw a commercial just the other day (I think it was a car commercial?) where an obviously maladroit father was "teaching" his son to step forward with his right foot (when throwing with his right hand) and it instantly sounded wrong to me. Then upon seeing his throw, it suddenly dawned on me that *this* is what "throwing like a girl" means.

I'd always known it looked awkward and wrong, but could never quite parse what it was that made a "girlie throw" look so.

There's a similar effect that happens with beginner hockey players trying to shoot the puck. There are two main types of shots: wrist and slap shots. For a wrist shot, you lean your weight forward on the same leg as your shooting side. But for a slap shot, you quickly step forward with the opposite leg, thus making it quite easy to identify the type of shot from a still photo of the follow-through. But until they learn which leg goes where, many new hockey players look darn awkward. (Even the ones who can skate well)
posted by ShutterBun at 10:45 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

And... no lefties that I saw.

The third man is throwing with his right hand.
posted by arm's-length at 10:46 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I never realized you had to get a running start when throwing with your other hand.
posted by orme at 1:56 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

So this is a fetish video, amirite?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:59 AM on February 8, 2013

Ha! Many years ago my friends and I had a competition to see who could throw furthest and most accurately using the wrong hand. We all expected to be bad at it but we were genuinely shocked at exactly how bad at it we were. So much so I actually spent some time teaching myself to be better at it. I thought carefully about how I threw with my good arm and simply worked on mirror-imaging every movement with my left. Sounds simple; wasn't. But I got so that I could throw adequately with my left arm.

It's been so long since I did this that I'm pretty sure I'd suck all over again if I tried it now. Just imagining myself doing it... yeah, pretty sure I'd suck. Don't think I care enough to retrain again!
posted by Decani at 4:46 AM on February 8, 2013

I'm left-handed, but only weakly, meaning that I naturally throw right-handed. I was tailgating at a baseball game a few years ago, and the only spare mitt was a lefty (I was with an entire family of lefties). I have no problem catching with a mitt on my right hand--I can do it every bit as automatically as with my left--but it was just impossible to put any mustard on a throw. I just couldn't get my feet set right. I didn't look quite this bad, but it definitely wasn't good.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:36 AM on February 8, 2013

I want to start a baseball league where this is one of the rules.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:15 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

very good post.

I think tennis/throwing coaches may benefit from teaching themselves to serve or throw with their non dominant arm to gain insight into what is needed to teach a novice.
posted by spacediver at 7:35 AM on February 8, 2013

Very cool idea, and fun to watch.

I think it might illustrate another cultural difference, as well. By the third guy I had them (correctly) pegged as "not-from-the-U.S.". This was because every single one of them did a run-up. My hypothesis is that this video would look very different if it featured men whose object-throwing cultures were rooted in baseball (or to a lesser extent, cricket [which is complicated by the fact that it employs two radically divergent throwing mechanics]).

My first-blush (incorrect) assumption was "Australian", because many of them (the first guy is a great example) are mimicking a (cricket) bowler's run-up. But that went out the window when none of them attempted an even plausibly-legal bowling action.

If you did this same test with U.S. men it'd be just as awkward and funny, but I'm pretty confident that vanishingly few would do a run-up -- only the most indoorsiest of indoor kids, really. A few would throw flat-footed; most would take a single, awkward, halting step and throw; some would try to execute some sort of a terrible "crow hop", and almost nobody would do any kind of a run-up.

When your putative "national passtime" -- with more-or-less compulsory participation for at least part of your life -- has as one of its central focuses "throwing a small ball for accuracy", you get this mechanic dialed-in quite a bit better. Football/soccer cultures throw things using fundamentally different methods. One man's opinion, but I've been noticing this for years and it has always fascinated me.

(I feel confident because -- like most men who have played (thrown) ball sports regularly and for any amount of time -- I've often played the "lets throw with our left hands" game. Furthermore, I've had the opportunity to regularly play this with baseballers, cricketers, soccer players, etc. from many varied sporting traditions around the globe.)
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 9:34 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I want to start a baseball league where this is one of the rules.

Okay, but you also have to make the batters spin around fifteen times before they step up to the plate.
posted by echo target at 11:11 AM on February 8, 2013

Nah, make `em bat with their feet!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:20 AM on February 8, 2013

Back before I started running, I used to play racquetball against my wife's cousin, once or twice a week, while my wife was using other equipment at the gym. We both kinda stunk at the game but it was fun. After we got better and were looking for more of a challenge, we hit upon the idea of playing left handed, just to see if we could. It was so much fun that we made it a regular part of the workout - one game righty, one lefty, then we played multibounce (as in, ball is still in play so long as it's moving and hasn't yet hit the back wall) until my wife was done with her routine.

We really, really sucked left handed at first, but by the end of the summer we had some pretty good sustained volleys going.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2013

A good way to learn about this is to teach a kid how to do it. Interesting, throwing a baseball or football, swinging a bat, and throwing a frisbee all have a similar stance and footwork: basically sideways to the target, head turned, lean back onto foot that's away from target, lift foot closer to target, and bring it down toward the target as you release.

The main difference with frisbee is that you face the other way (left if you're right handed, relative to the target).
posted by msalt at 12:06 PM on February 8, 2013

> "Very nice. And good demonstration that throwing is not a gendered gift but a trained skill."
I agree with this almost entirely (and with the sentiment behind it: "entirely"), but there are some bio-mechanical things that muddy the waters a bit.

Culturally (and lamentably) we tend to equate "throwing like a girl" with "throwing poorly". A big part of this reason is because girls/women are dissuaded from honing these skills, of course, and as a result they don't throw as well, as a group.

But there is something different about the mechanics that women use to throw, and you can see it clearly even among the highly-skilled. I've heard it plausibly described by an Australian biomechanics prof. friend (working with their womens' cricket team) as being a result of wider hips, narrower shoulders, and lower center of gravity.

Even among women who throw very well (let's use high-level softball players as an example), you'll see some immediately noticeable mechanical differences. Nobody (credible) would ever say that these women are "throwing poorly" or "bad at throwing" -- they're world-class at throwing -- but they throw very differently, for sure.

For me, the edifying and uplifting takeaway from that conversation was that women/girls can simultaneously "be awesome at throwing" and still "throw like girls". The stigma and the snark behind that epithet is just where our sexist culture has polluted things.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 12:50 PM on February 8, 2013

By the third guy I had them (correctly) pegged as "not-from-the-U.S."

It's from Argentina. The director might've asked specifically for the run up, to make it more funny, but otherwise, that's because rock throwing (in my limited experience) is associated with lakes, and who can throw farthest, and i assume the run-up gets you more distance.
posted by palbo at 4:17 PM on February 8, 2013

Football/soccer cultures throw things using fundamentally different methods.

I wouldn't be surprised of this at all. If you made this same video, but with people hitting footballs (soccer balls) with their other foot, it wouldn't be that funny, a bit more awkward maybe, but most people wouldn't be bad at it.

I would like to see a video of americans kicking a soccer ball with either foot, now that would be funny ;-)
posted by palbo at 4:25 PM on February 8, 2013

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