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
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

Cue sports Games in which billiard balls are struck with a cue

Cue sports, also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by elastic bumpers known as cushions.

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 belonging to the boules family

Bocce, sometimes anglicized as bocce ball, bocci or boccie, is a ball sport belonging to the boules family, closely related to British bowls and French pétanque, with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy, bocce is played around Europe and also in other areas with Italian immigrants, including Australia, North America, and South America. Initially played only by the Italian immigrants, the game has slowly become more popular with their descendants and more broadly.

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 close 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 which includes athletic contests established on the skills of running, jumping, and throwing. 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.

Boccia precision ball sport for athletes with motor disabilities

Boccia is a precision ball sport, similar to bocce, and related to bowls and pétanque. The name "boccia" is derived from the Latin word for "boss" – bottia. The sport is contested at local, national and international levels, by athletes with severe physical disabilities. It was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills. In 1984, it became a Paralympic sport and in 2020 has 75 national sport organizations countries worldwide. Boccia is governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) and is one of only two Paralympic sports that have no counterpart in the Olympic program.

Earlene Brown American shot putter and discus thrower

Earlene Brown was an American athlete notable for her careers in track and field and roller games. She competed at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics in the shot put and discus throw and won a bronze medal in the shot put in 1960; she finished fourth in the discus in 1956.

Lawn game game played on a lawn

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 is a competitive and recreational sport. Variants include:

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 or throws a bowling ball toward pins or another target. In the U.S. and Canada, the term bowling usually refers to ten-pin bowling; in the U.K. and Commonwealth Countries, however, the term bowling could also refer to lawn bowls.

Ground billiards

Ground billiards is a modern term for a family of 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 billiard historian Michael Ian Shamos calls "the original game of billiards", was the precursor of many later, more familiar outdoor and indoor games, including snooker, nine-ball, croquet, and hockey.

Ancient Olympic pentathlon competition of five sports held in Ancient Greece

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, 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.

Throwing launching of a ballistic projectile by hand

Throwing is the launching of a ballistic projectile by hand. This action is only possible for animals with the ability to grasp objects with their hands.

Johanna Freda Gertrude Wilhelmsen was an American track and field athlete and softball player. She represented the United States at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, placing seventh in the women's javelin throw and eighth in the discus throw.

George Watt Sutherland was a Canadian all-round track and field athlete. He was the hammer throw gold medallist at the 1938 British Empire Games. He also took a bronze medal in the discus throw at the same competition. He had been the runner-up in the hammer in 1934 British Empire Games.

F8, also SP8, is a standing wheelchair sport classification open to people with spinal cord injuries, with inclusion based on a functional classification on a points system for lower limb functionality. Sportspeople in this class need to have less than 70 points. The class has largely been used in Australia and the United States. F8 has largely been eliminated because of a perceived lack of need internationally for a standing wheelchair class. Sports this class participates in include athletics, swimming and wheelchair basketball. In athletics, participation is mostly in field events.


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