Throwing sports

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A man bowling a ball in ten-pin bowling Bowlerbowling.JPG
A man bowling a ball in ten-pin bowling
Ken Westerfield, side-arm (forehand) Frisbee distance throwing Record, 552'. Boulder, Colorado, 1978. Ken Westerfield Sidearm throw.jpg
Ken Westerfield, side-arm (forehand) Frisbee distance throwing Record, 552'. Boulder, Colorado, 1978.

Throwing sports, or throwing games, are physical, human competitions where the outcome is measured by a player's ability to throw an object.


The two primary forms are throwing for distance and throwing at a given target or range. The four most prominent throwing for distance sports are in track and field: shot put, discus, javelin, and the hammer throw. Target-based sports have two main genres: bowling and darts, each of which have a great number of variations.


Throwing sports have a long history. Modern track and field comes from a lineage of activities that dates to the Ancient Olympic Games. Artwork from Ancient Greece, in the form of friezes, pottery and statues, attests to the prominence of such sports in the society's physical culture. [1]

Bowling games have similarly ancient roots. Games based on throwing stone balls in Ancient Egypt date to 5000 BCE, and a form of bocce is documented in Ancient Rome. [2] The game of catch (throwing and catching an object between players) is among the most basic of all games and is a key component of many modern, complex sports and games. Its dodgeball variant is a basic throwing game where the opponent is the target. [3]

Projectiles used in such sports are highly varied. Common projectile types include balls, darts, sticks, discs and rings. Formalised throwing sports often have strictly defined criteria for projectiles, such as a pre-determined size and weight. [4] [5] Less formalised games are usually not as strict and some games (for example, pitching pennies and horseshoes) incorporate everyday objects into the game, reflecting the simplistic roots of the pastimes.

Most throwing sports use a defined field of play (including an area players may throw an object from, and an area where the object should fall) and a specific throwing method. Common one-armed throwing methods include overhand throwing (releasing with the arm above the shoulder) and underarm throwing (releasing with the arm below the shoulder). With both arms, overhead throwing and chest-passing are common actions. [6] The type of throw used is highly influenced by the properties of the projectile: small, heavy objects are held and pushed away from the body (e.g. shot put); [7] handled objects are swung and released with one or two hands (e.g. weight throw, keg toss); [8] [9] smaller, lighter objects such as balls and darts tend to use an extended overarm technique where distance or speed is required, and an underarm technique where greater precision is required. In these sports, most throws are taken from a static position or limited area. However, some sports do include a short run-up to the throw line, for example javelin throw and ten-pin bowling. [10] [11]

Standardised throwing sports typically have high-level competitions across regions and a sports governing body, with the most common and international varieties having a world championship and a professional circuit. [7] [12] [13] Those that are less standardised in format tend not to have highly organised competition and instead are played in a more casual or social setting. Throwing games with prizes are common funfair and carnival games, with varieties including ring toss and coconut shy games. [14]

The act of throwing is an element of many sports, particularly ball games – such as handball, basketball and codes of football – and bat-and-ball games, such as cricket and baseball. The throwing of an opponent is also a key feature of some martial arts and grappling sports. [15] In these sports, the throwing aspect is just one part of a more complex system of rules. As throwing ability does not in itself determine the outcome, these are not strictly defined as throwing sports.

List of throwing sports

Throwing for distance

A man in the build-up phase of the hammer throw Hammerthrow wire.jpg
A man in the build-up phase of the hammer throw
Phases of the javelin throw EVD-jabalina-056.jpg
Phases of the javelin throw

Two-handed throwing

In events where one hand is used to throw the object, a "two-handed" contest may be staged wherein each competitor's score is the sum of the distance thrown with left and right hand. Such contests were staged at the 1912 Olympics (in discus, shot, and javelin) and at the Women's World Games in the 1920s.

Target sports

Darts in a dartboard Darts in a dartboard.jpg
Darts in a dartboard
A bowling ball about to strike some bowling pins on a bowling alley Bowling - albury.jpg
A bowling ball about to strike some bowling pins on a bowling alley
Video of the sport of bocce
Molkky players at 2019 World Championship tournament in Samoens, France Molkky players at 2019 World Championship tournament in Samoens, France.jpg
Mölkky players at 2019 World Championship tournament in Samoëns, France
A set of kubb throwing batons and pins KUBBSET.JPG
A set of kubb throwing batons and pins
A child playing a can throwing game Dosenwerfen 2008 035.jpg
A child playing a can throwing game
A painting of children playing a ring toss game indoors Chase William Merritt Ring Toss 1896.jpg
A painting of children playing a ring toss game indoors

Other varieties

See also

Related Research Articles

Bowls Sport involving rolling biased balls so that they stop closest to a smaller ball

Bowls, or lawn bowls, is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a "jack" or "kitty". It is played on a bowling green, which may be flat or convex or uneven. It is normally played outdoors and the outdoor surface is either natural grass, artificial turf or cotula.

Bocce Ball sport

Bocce, sometimes anglicized as bocce ball, bocci or boccie, is a ball sport belonging to the boules family. Developed into its present form in Italy, it is closely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Bocce is played around western, southern and southeastern Europe, as well as in overseas areas with historical Italian immigrant population, including Australia, North America, and South America, principally Argentina and the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Initially played just by the Italian immigrants, the game has slowly become more popular with their descendants and more broadly.

Discus throw Event in track and field athletics

The discus throw, also known as disc throw, is a track and field event in which an athlete throws a heavy disc—called a discus—in an attempt to mark a farther distance than their competitors. It is an ancient sport, as demonstrated by the fifth-century-BC Myron statue Discobolus. Although not part of the modern pentathlon, it was one of the events of the ancient Greek pentathlon, which can be dated back to at least to 708 BC, and it is part of the modern decathlon.

Pétanque Team bowls sport where the boule is thrown, not rolled

Pétanque is a sport that falls into the category of boules sports, along with raffa, bocce, boule lyonnaise, lawn bowls and crown green bowling. In all of these sports, players or teams play their boules/balls towards a target ball.


Boules is a collective name for a wide range of games similar to bowls and bocce in which the objective is to throw or roll heavy balls as closely as possible to a small target ball, called the jack in English.

Track and field Sport involving running, jumping, and throwing disciplines

Track and field is a sport that includes athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes place, a running track and a grass field for the throwing and some of the jumping events. Track and field is categorized under the umbrella sport of athletics, which also includes road running, cross country running, and racewalking.

Pentathlon Combined sporting event of five contests

A pentathlon is a contest featuring five events. The name is derived from Greek: combining the words pente (five) and -athlon (competition). The first pentathlon was documented in Ancient Greece and was part of the Ancient Olympic Games. Five events were contested over one day for the Ancient Olympic pentathlon, starting with the long jump, javelin throwing, and discus throwing, followed by the stadion and wrestling. Pentathletes were considered to be among the most skilled athletes, and their training was often part of military service—each of the five events in the pentathlon was thought to be useful in war or battle.

Skittles (sport) Old European lawn game

Skittles is a historical lawn game and target sport of European origin, from which the modern sport of bowling is descended. In regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland the game remains as a popular indoor pub game. A continental version is popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Other varieties of bowling are more popular in Australia, but the similar game of kegel, based on German nine-pin bowling, is popular in some areas. In Catalonia, bitlles, a local version of this game, was formerly popular..

Lawn game type of entertainment activity

A lawn game is an outdoor game that can be played on a lawn. Many types and variations of lawn games exist, which includes games that use balls and the throwing of objects as their primary means of gameplay. Some lawn games are historical in nature, having been devised and played in different forms for centuries. Some lawn games are traditionally played on a pitch. Some companies produce and market lawn games for home use in a front or backyard.

Bowling Class of sports in which a player rolls a bowling ball towards a target

Bowling is a target sport and recreational activity in which a player rolls a ball toward pins or another target. The term bowling usually refers to pin bowling, though in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, bowling could also refer to target bowling, such as lawn bowls.

Ground billiards Family of European lawn games

Ground billiards is a modern term for a family of medieval European lawn games, the original names of which are mostly unknown, played with a long-handled mallet, wooden balls, a hoop, and an upright skittle or pin. The game, which at least three cue-sports historians call "the original game of billiards", developed into a variety of modern outdoor and indoor games and sports such as croquet, pool, snooker, and carom billiards. Its relationship to games played on larger fields, such as hockey, golf, and bat-and-ball games, is more speculative. As a broader classification, the term is sometimes applied to games dating back to classical antiquity that are attested via difficult-to-interpret ancient artworks and rare surviving gaming artifacts.

Ancient Olympic pentathlon

The Ancient Olympic pentathlon was an athletic contest at the Ancient Olympic Games, and other Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. The name derives from Greek, combining the words pente (five) and athlon (competition). Five events were contested over one day, starting with the stadion, followed by the javelin throw, discus throw, and long jump, and ending with wrestling. While Pentathletes were considered to be inferior to the specialized athletes in a certain event, they were superior in overall development and were some of the most well balanced of all the athletes. Their training was often part of military service—each of the five events was thought to be useful in battle.

<i>Kinect Sports</i> 2010 video game

Kinect Sports is a sports video game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360. The game utilizes the Kinect motion-sensing peripheral and was released in North America on 4 November 2010 as a launch title for Kinect, then, a few days later, Europe, Australia and Japan.

Overhand throw Single-handed throw of an object from above the shoulder

The overhandthrow is a single-handed throw of a projectile where the object is thrown above the shoulder.

Brittany Borman is an American track and field athlete who competes primarily in the discus and the javelin throw. She is a four-time NCAA Track and Field Champion, winning the javelin in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and the discus in 2010. In 2012, she won the US Olympic Trials in the javelin and represented the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She also represented the US at the 2016 Olympic Games.


Throwing is an action which consists in accelerating a projectile and then releasing it so that it follows a ballistic trajectory, usually with the aim of impacting a remote target. This action is best characterized for animals with prehensile limbs. For other animals, the definition of throwing is somewhat unclear, as other actions such as spitting or spraying may or may not be included.


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