7 Throwing Sports That Really Test Strength and Technique

31 May, 2020
As their name suggests, throwing sports involve throwing an object as far as possible using a specific technique.
 

Within the group of throwing sports, there are two different categories. First, we have the so-called ‘official’ or Olympic sports, and then, there are throwing sports which are more cultural, although they too have important competitions. Read on to find out more!

Olympic throwing sports

This section includes four throwing sports that are endorsed by World Athletics and form part of the Olympic Games for both men and women.

1. Shot put: throwing sports

This sport formed part of the Ancient Greek Funeral Games and even appears in the Iliad. In the modern-day shot put event, the aim is to throw a solid steel ball as far as possible. For the men, the ball weighs 16 pounds and for the women, it weighs 8.8 pounds.

A male athlete about the launch a shot put.

The shot put has been part of the games since the first edition in Athens in 1896. However, women had to wait until London 1948 to take part. The current Olympic record belongs to Ryan Crouser (22.52 meters in Rio 2016) and Ilona Slupianek (22.41 meters in Moscow 1980).

2. Discus throw

This athletics event involves throwing a circular object as far as possible. For the men, it measures just over 8.5 inches in diameter and weighs 4.4 pounds, and for the women, it measures just over 7 inches and weighs 2.2 pounds.

 
A woman throwing the discus.
Image: t13.cl

The men’s discus throw first appeared at the 1896 Athens Olympics whilst women had to wait until Amsterdam 1928. It’s been part of the World Athletics Championships since 1983. The records belong to the Germans, Jurgen Schult (74.08 meters in 1986), and Gabriele Reinsch (76.80 meters in 1988).

3. Javelin throw

The javelin (which you can see in the header photo) was a weapon of war and also used by ancient hunters, but today it is used in an Olympic event. The modern Olympics included this event for men in London in 1908 and for women in Los Angeles in 1932.

The world records belong to two Czechs, Jan Zelezny, with 98.48 meters in 1996, and Barbora Spotakova, with 72.28 meters in 2008.

4. Hammer throw: throwing sports

This is the final throwing sport that’s contested at the Olympics. The aim is to throw a metal ball that’s attached to a steel cable, known as a hammer. The athlete swings the hammer within an area about seven feet wide and surrounded by netting before releasing it. Each athlete gets three attempts, taking their best attempt as their score.

A man performing a hammer throw.
Image: deportv.gob.ar
 

It’s been part of the Olympic Games since Paris 1900 for men and since Sydney 2000 for women. The current records belong to the Russian, Yuri Sedykh (86.74 meters), and the Polish, Anita Wlodarczyk (82.98 meters in 2016).

‘Cultural’ throwing sports

We’ve called them ‘cultural’ because they’re not part of an official athletics competition and often, competitions only take place in a specific region or country. In any case, they certainly look fascinating. Here are some of the most prominent:

1. Caber toss

This is a traditional Scottish event that involves throwing a log of wood up to 19 feet long and weighing around 130 pounds. It has its origins in the early nineteenth century.

A man doing a caber toss, which is one of the more cultural throwing sports.
Image: Playbuzz.

In order to toss the caber, the tosser clasps their hands on the base, lifts it, balances it, and just throw it high enough so that it rotates a full 180 degrees before landing. It’s a really impressive sight!

2. Sheaf toss

This is a traditional sport in both Scotland and the Basque Country in Spain. The competitor uses a pitchfork to hurl a sack full of straw over a horizontal bar. Each competitor gets three attempts without knocking the bar down.

 

3. Barra Española: throwing sports

This is another curious throwing sport and is a traditional sport in the Spanish regions of Castilla, the Basque Country, and Aragon. The aim is to throw a metal bar weighing 15 pounds for men and nearly nine pounds for women. The record is held by Félix Erausquín who threw 94.50 meters in 1957.

Of course, there are lots of other sports that involve throwing, such as baseball for example. Can you think of any other sports to add to this list?

  • Cristiana Lucretia Pop. 2016. 120 YEARS OF MODERN OLYMPIC GAMES AND ATHLETICS EVENTS. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307168014_120_YEARS_OF_MODERN_OLYMPIC_GAMES_AND_ATHLETICS_EVENTS
  • Navarra.com El deporte rural se hace hueco en San Fermín: exhibiciones, pruebas y trofeos de motosierra y sokatira – Julio de 2019. https://navarra.elespanol.com/articulo/san-fermin-fiesta-pamplona-2019/decena-campeonatos-navarros-ademas-exhibiciones-pruebas-trofeos-motosierra-sokatira-conforman-programacion-sanferminera-deporte-rural/20190707132535274525.html
  • Excelsior. ¡Es una bala!  Noviembre de 2019. https://www.excelsior.com.mx/adrenalina/es-una-bala/1348290