Re: Throwing Like A Girl

1

I suppose I should try to get them into Little League next spring.

It's like you're trying to hurt me. And I don't even know your kids.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:50 PM
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Um, for wanting them to learn how to throw, or for not doing enough to ensure it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:51 PM
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Does it seem to others that parents today are way too involved in pushing their kids to participate and excel in sports? Or is just my sister (never into sports as a kid or teen, but as a parent seemed to care more about her son's baseball and basketball teams than he did)?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:55 PM
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You know what it is? It's a result of the 'kids can't leave their own property unsupervised' rules -- it's really become unconventional in most of the country for kids to wander around outside and play with each other. For a kid to have anyone to play with, it has to be formally arranged, and that turns into teams and such with sports.

I'm no athlete, as I said, but if I didn't have athletic activities arranged for them, they wouldn't get a whole lot of physical play, which isn't good for anyone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 2:58 PM
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Um, for wanting them to learn how to throw, or for not doing enough to ensure it?

People throw "baseball" passes in basketball, too. Anyway, to my mind, it's easier to learn not to throw like a girl with a nerf football. (That's how I did it, at an embarrassingly advanced age.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:01 PM
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i'm surprised fallows didn't quote the locus classicus:

the scene in huck finn where huck tries to pass as a girl,
and is caught out because he threads a needle the wrong way
and throws a bar of lead the wrong way (like a boy).
i don't have the text handy, but i believe the woman who
catches him out gives a brief description of the two styles
of throwing.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:02 PM
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Yeah, catch with a softball went bad when I accidentally bloodied Newt's nose. He was very good about it, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:03 PM
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I suspect it's less conventional for middle class families to let their kids run around outside (and this is not to blame the feminists, obviously) because so many women work outside the home. There's no one home to watch the kids. The transformation just where I grew up is pretty striking; when I was a kid someone's mother was always home, and we just ran over to someone else's house. Even if a few mothers worked here and there, there were always a lot more adults around. It's easy to let your kids run around when you know there's always someone's mother watching in case of things like broken arms or legs.

Surely part of it is an aging community, but my old street is pretty much a ghost town during the day now. If a kid falls and gets hurt, who's around to notice? Hence, sports team.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:04 PM
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6: Huh, I remember that as catching, and the difference being purely pants-based -- girls spread their legs to have a wider lap to catch things in, and boys bring theirs together so things don't fall between.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:04 PM
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4: Well, with two (or more) kids, they can chase and fight each other. That's good exercise, and it's traditional.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:05 PM
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Posh Spice throws like a girl. I've been unable to find a picture of Sporty Spice throwing a ball.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:06 PM
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6: I thought it was a catch, too. Huck didn't use his skirt to trap the weight like a girl would, but clamped his legs together like a boy wearing pants.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:06 PM
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My god. Those 'sneakers'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:07 PM
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People throw "baseball" passes in basketball, too. Anyway, to my mind, it's easier to learn not to throw like a girl with a nerf football.

Everyone ignore this crackhead, and put your kids in Little League. When you're a kid, one of your interests in throwing accurately is so you can hit stuff with a rock. Baseball is where it's at for these skills.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:08 PM
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Are those... platforms...?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:08 PM
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That is a good article. I have a friend with whom I play catch and we often use our off hands to throw, just because sometimes it's more fun and challenging to do it that way. You can learn to throw passably that way, but unless you're ambidextrous, I don't think it's possible to get anything like the fluidity of a good throw with your strong hand. Fallows also doesn't mention that the motion for throwing a football is slightly but significantly different than that of throwing a baseball. And because no comment is complete without a little trolling, it's worth noting that the throwing motion in Ultimate, which has the thrower facing the target with the elbow tucked as low as possible, is proof that real men don't play Ultimate. Oh, and a lot of foreign guys can't throw, what with all the soccer they've spent their time playing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:09 PM
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14 gets it right. Also, throwing a football (spiral) is a completely different skill from throwing other things. You might as well say "You can learn to swing a golf club by playing tennis."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:09 PM
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I was profoundly embarrassed by a recent game of Frisbee. I was rather good in my youth, but dropped in college.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:10 PM
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Yeah, don't listen to Timbot. Baseball is fun to play, and kids need to learn to throw. Intifada, baby.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:10 PM
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The control comes with practice. I played softball back in my youth, and tales are still told of the control issues I had in changing from slingshot to windmill pitching form. In throwing poorly and sticking with it, you do set a good example for the kiddos that it's a skill that doesn't always come naturally but that can be acquired with persistence.

Of course, once there's been bloodshed, maybe you should set your example of persistence by throwing against a wall or one of those "pitch-back" contraptions or something.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:11 PM
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Learning to throw a football in a tight spiral is much more difficult than learning to heave a baseball properly.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:12 PM
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7: For me--and I can't really make sense of why this is or even could be true--learning to throw a (crappy) spiral made it easier for me to make sense of what to do with my hands/palms when throwing a normal ball.

12: I think it was catch, as well.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:12 PM
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The control comes with practice.

I'm sure it would -- I made enough progress in a couple of sessions on distance that I'm sure the control would come eventually. I just don't really have the time to spend in a park throwing and fetching myself a ball.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:15 PM
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Even more important than throwing, make sure your kids can actually see before you send them out to play baseball. (The "Can it see the blackboard? Good" test does not suffice. Of course, it's possible doctors are less lazy nowadays and no longer rely on that test alone.)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:16 PM
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Somewhere in my teen years I noted that throwing with my off hand felt like "throwing like a girl" looks. I've never confirmed whether it looks that way, too, but it sounds like it's probably pretty close.

I think that I'm going to be spending my evening outside with my three year old. Her mother is un-sporty, and I'm terrified that I won't be able to pick up the slack by myself. I don't have any local-enough friends to have a regular game of catch, much less basketball, for her to emulate. Fear, inadequacy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:17 PM
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19: You've got two denials of basketball to get in before the cock crows, my friend.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:17 PM
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I played baseball as a kid. You have to know the enemy to defeat the enemy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:18 PM
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So you're Paul not Peter. Fair enough.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:19 PM
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/apelad/1332427728/


Posted by: Jono | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:19 PM
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Even more important than throwing, make sure your kids can actually see before you send them out to play baseball.

Oh, man, this too. My unathleticism is overdetermined -- I'm really nearsighted, and no one figured it out until I was in third grade, so I have a lot of memories of balls coming out of nowhere and hitting me. And my big sister is Amazon jock goddess, which made the whole competing athletically at all thing look like a recipe for humiliation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:20 PM
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I didn't get hit too often, thankfully, but going my entire career without a single hit was pretty humiliating. To make matters worse, my parents inexplicably convinced the coach of the competitive travel team to take me on.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:32 PM
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6 and 12: Both a throw and a catch. Thanks to Google Book Search:

Bless you, child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way. And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy. And, mind you, when a girl tries to catch anything in her lap she throws her knees apart; she don't clap them together, the way you did when you catched the lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I contrived the other things just to make certain.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:43 PM
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It's funny how much people go on and on about how hard it is to throw a football properly. Like throwing a baseball, it's something that comes pretty easy if you attempt it more than, say, 50 times, as a child. A couple times I have ended up throwing around a football with dudes and they are like "omg you can actually throw a spiral." And I've never even really played an actual football game, I just used to throw one around with friends on the playground in 5th grade. Not hard.

Throwing is definitely all about learning how, and learning young. I played little league and softball until 9th grade, and now, well, I'm not particularly athletic or fit--I don't think I could even run a mile unless I was being chased by a bear, but I can throw whatever it is--football, baseball, or even a soccer ball--damn far.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:52 PM
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34

Snap your hips!!!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 3:55 PM
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I've been told by a martial arts guy that effective punching takes a long time to learn, partly because you basically have to reshape your arm with intensive long-term training.

In related news, my own no-traffic blog just got a link from Fabiana Bump and her posse of erotic feminists. Probably an error on her part, but hey!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:07 PM
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32--
thanks, minivet. i'm vindicated.
i think it would be totally irresponsible to draw any conclusions
from the fact that i remembered the throwing part, whereas
lb, cala, and scmt remembered only the catching part.

oh--and as to why boys catch differently: you really think the point is about *clothing*?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:41 PM
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As described in Huck Finn - catching something in your lap - yes. If we're talking about playing catch, no, it's practice like everything else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:42 PM
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37--
oh, sure--if i had meant catching with your hands or a mitt when you're standing up, then i agree that's a matter of practice.

but if you ask the guys here what they'll do if they're sitting down and somebody throws a lump of lead at their crotch, the answer is that they'll pull their knees together in large part as a guarding reaction. even if they're wearing a lungi.

by the way--i learned how to throw 'like a boy' as a kid, and had a pretty good arm for decades, both w/ football & with baseball.

then i get old and my shoulder gave out. but that has not stopped me from playing a lot of catch with my kid. he throws overhand, and has developed a wicked fastball with beautiful accuracy. i throw underhand, and i can almost match him for distance and speed (i do still have a lot of inches and pounds on him). as anyone who has watched quality softball can tell you, underhand can be fast. and it is much, much easier on your shoulder.

moral: you don't have to demonstrate perfect form in your own throws in order for your kid to learn what he/she needs to learn. better to get them out there playing catch *a lot*, however you can manage it. they may well get a decent form just from general ideas and lots of repetition.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:54 PM
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36: Unless you're catching lumps of lead with your vagina, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:54 PM
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39 to 15.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 4:56 PM
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i finally looked at the posh spice picture in 15.

curious that she looks like she could be putting the shot.
i don't know if it would be *ideal* form for shot-putting, but certainly better for that than for a regular overhand throw.

hypothesis: part of "throwing like a girl" form comes from trying to support an unaccustomed amount of weight, i.e. keeping elbow too close in to ribs. maybe part of why scmt's nerf-idea might help some?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:03 PM
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THrowing a spiral is much easier than learning to throw a curveball.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:04 PM
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42--
yeah, tell me about it.
also, learning to chaw for a proper spitter is just hell.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:07 PM
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I've been told by a martial arts guy that effective punching takes a long time to learn, partly because you basically have to reshape your arm with intensive long-term training.

Not really. Like anything else, some pick it up faster than others. A little coaching and regular time on a heavy bag goes a long way.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:17 PM
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re: 35

Nah, I'm pretty sure people could learn it quite quickly and learn to punch better than before. The basic body mechanics aren't that hard I don't think. Doing it with real power would take longer.

'course if he was talking about karate type punches -- which have body mechanics very different from boxing type punches* -- he might be right.

* and, snarkily, whose effectiveness can be judged by how often they are used by the people who get paid millions of pounds to hit each other.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:17 PM
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45.* is funny, and quite true. Karate elbows work okay, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:19 PM
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THrowing a spiral is much easier than learning to throw a curveball.

Well, sure. Throwing a curveball is a very specialized throw.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:19 PM
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I was in third grade, so I have a lot of memories of balls coming out of nowhere and hitting me.

Awesome.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:20 PM
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Fuck baseball. I'm teaching PK that balls are never to be touched with the hands, ever. I spent an hour outside yesterday bouncing the soccer ball off his head and chest and trying to teach him to juggle it with his knees. (His coach sucks btw, LB--wish you were here.)

Except during throw-ins, when he does throw like a girl, I admit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:34 PM
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I'm teaching PK that balls are never to be touched with the hands, ever.

Leaving that low-hanging fruit alone, isn't the haircut and nail polish disadvantage enough, B? Teach the kid how to throw a ball.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:36 PM
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He doesn't do the nail polish any more, and the ponytail isn't a disadvantage in soccer!

But yeah, he does need to learn to throw better, I realize. We'll get to that. Dude, I'm the fucking soccer team mom, I'm out on the lawn on a school night bouncing balls off his head and playing one-on-one soccer with him to teach him to be more aggressive trying to get his foot on the ball, I'm busting my ass over here.

Poor kid has the same problem with sports that I do, which is that he has a ton of energy but isn't terribly disciplined, and can't for the life of him figure out how to do shit until you explain it to him in words.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:45 PM
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49--
really, b, nothing against soccer and all, but throwing is good.
i mean, it's not just a gender id issue as per 50.
even if we lived in the longed-for world where the euro-schwarmerei with 'football' had made soccer as manly as manly can be, there would still be good reasons for the kid to learn to throw stuff.
indeed, for any kid.
it's just a great way to relate to distant objects; you've got something in your hand, you throw it, now it's over there. cool.

this applies to many pairs of objects: balls and mitts, rocks and pumpkins. life-rings and drowning children. you're not going to be able to soccer-dribble that life-ring out to the drowning swimmer.
unless you can walk on water, in which case the life-ring is somewhat beside the point.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:45 PM
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B will be happy to know that my three year old grandnephew has a pink tea party set he plays with.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:48 PM
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it's just a great way to relate to distant objects; you've got something in your hand, you throw it, now it's over there. cool.

I'm as pro-throwing as they come, but I think this particular rationale would apply equally as well to kicking, no?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:48 PM
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I find sight and hearing satisfactory ways of relating to distant objects.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:50 PM
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53: Awwwww.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:50 PM
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I'm the fucking soccer team mom

Infinitely more popular than the snack-bringing soccer mom.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:51 PM
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57: It's our turn for snacks on Saturday!

Also, probably not more popular with the other moms, you know.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:51 PM
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My son won't play with and balls or trucks or trains or anything remotely manly. He just wants to play with dolls and wooden kitchen sets. And he really likes butterflies. And his favorite song is "It's Raining Men", and his second favorite is "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Luckily he does seem to have a robust attraction to breasts, so I'm not too concerned yet.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:52 PM
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Brock Jr. is a tit man.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:55 PM
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Oh reading the article, it becomes incredibly obvious that the problem with learning to throw for any girl over the age of, say, 11 (or possibly continuing to throw well for girls who learned to do it younger), is that if you lift your elbow above your shoulder you expose your breast. Fuck, that would make me uncomfortable, especially in an athletic situation, where you want to be focusing on how you're performing, not what you look like.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 5:59 PM
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60: Subtle, Ben.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:09 PM
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if you lift your elbow above your shoulder you expose your breast.

Wait, what now? "Possibly bonk into, if they are large, similar to why classical Amazon archers reportedly removed one of their boobs", but "expose" only works if you are so body-shy and uncomfortable that you spend your whole life with your arms crossed over your chest.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:09 PM
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61--
interesting hypothesis.
might provide a better explanation than mine for the elbows-in-to-the-ribcage problem.

but i also think there is some circularity with lack of practice.
if you've done a lot of throwing, then the movement may feel less like
"eek, i'm exposing my breast"
and more just like
"okay, here comes a fast pitch."


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:12 PM
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bitzer, have you seen what most softball/baseball jerseys look like? There is no breast exposure going on, that is ridiculous. People do not pitch fastballs in sleeveless evening gowns.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:14 PM
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63: Well, we're not all as macho as you, Rocky. But seriously, the arm-over-head thing? You know what I mean. And you probably also have noticed that most women hunch their shoulders habitually.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:15 PM
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I think the "learning to punch" thing is more about increasing your strength, although if you've NEVER been taught, a few hours of practice will make a big difference. but there is usually large increasesin strength for specific motions, just based on neural recruitment and that sort of "learning'.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:19 PM
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I would call what you speak of "stick out" or possibly "flaunt" (if you are an asshole), rather than "expose", which has connotations of wardrobe malfunction on the level of "boob popped out of bra".


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:20 PM
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68: Eh, it feels like exposure. Obviously I don't mean you make your boobie naked.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:21 PM
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65--
there's exposed and there's exposed. not all exposure is exposing unclothed skin.
upthread i was saying that when you throw a lump of lead at my crotch, i'll pull my knees together as a reflex.
even with pants on, my crotch would feel exposed, not to vision, but to the blow.
so here: i wasn't suggesting that b. was suggesting that she would feel her breasts were exposed in the sense of not having any fabric covering, just that they were more exposed to inspection or touch or injury or whatever, despite the clothes.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:21 PM
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But we'll add "teaching PK to throw" to the list of things we'll do together whenever you and I happen to meet up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:22 PM
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69--
there. you said it so much more concisely, too.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:22 PM
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Breasts are irrelevant since kids should be learning to throw way before puberty. In fact, it's almost too late for PK. Just remember, B, it doesn't take a lot of skill to wield an ax.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:24 PM
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73: Breasts aren't irrelevant, though. Shit, I've seen moms tell their five year old girls that they can't take their tops off in 80 degree heat when all the boys are doing it. And I'm pretty sure that "approaching puberty" is the time when kids start being self-conscious about athletic shit, and a lot of girls stop playing ball with the boys on the playground. (Or it used to be. Girls these days, I swear to god.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:27 PM
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75

Persons should be allowed to frolic naked at least until they're six. More nakedness!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:28 PM
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Plus, just to beat this thing into the ground, kids tend to model themselves on their parents, no? If mom doesn't get out and play ball, then the daughter's presumably less likely too.

And so is the mama's boy. Which is why I'm doing this team mom stuff, dammit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:28 PM
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I submit that, in the case of bazongas contra tender mansacks, that the psychological basis for feeling like standing around in a sports bra and t-shirt is "exposure" is like, hella fucked up. And keep in mind I spent my adolescence with my arms mostly crossed over my chest when in public, but sports that required boob "exposure" as so defined anyway.

Also, if you're teaching him to do throw-ins, teach him to somersault over the ball and come up hurling it. That was awesome. We had a whole crazy repertoire of throw-in acrobatics, many of them not entirely legal.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:29 PM
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ACK, "to."

75 is exactly right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:29 PM
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Doesn't Fallows actually answer why women throw like girls:

The implication of Braden's analysis is that throwing is a perfectly natural action (millions and millions of people can do it), but not at all innate. A successful throw involves an intricate series of actions coordinated among muscle groups, as each link of the chain is timed to interact with the next. Like bike riding or skating, it can be learned by anyone--male or female. No one starts out knowing how to ride a bike or throw a ball. Everyone has to learn.

Or: socialization. I'm not sure why we need breasts to explain anything. After all, "throw like a girl" was traditionally used to describe the throws of the non-breasted (or "boys").


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:29 PM
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Also, if you're teaching him to do throw-ins, teach him to somersault over the ball and come up hurling it.

That cannot possibly be a good strategy.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:30 PM
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the psychological basis for feeling like standing around in a sports bra and t-shirt is "exposure" is like, hella fucked up

Agreed! And I wouldn't feel that way about standing around, but the throwing gesture? Ack!

Somersault and throw, will do. His problem is that he throws pretty much directly at the ground: the kid hasn't yet figured out how to get the parabola to work to his advantage.

But he *is* more aggressive about trying to take the ball away from me than he is with the other kids, so I'm hoping some practice will help him out in the game on Saturday.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:30 PM
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"I'm not sure why we need breasts to explain anything."

tim, tim....


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:31 PM
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Fear of breast exposure while throwing can be overcome, apparently.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:31 PM
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kids should be learning to throw way before puberty.

Certainly before the first day of spring PE at a new middle school. Or so I've been told.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:32 PM
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79: Sure. But consciousness of sex difference affects what parents do and don't encourage their kids to do, and the puberty thing matters a lot as kids transition into young adults. I'd bet money that boob self-consciousness is part of the problem.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:32 PM
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83--

yeah, *except*:

if they're like most soft-ballers, they use an underhand delivery,
which feels completely different.
it actually *does* keep your elbow pretty close to your side, even when done properly.

so it might be like an exception that proves the rule, not meaning to beg the question.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:33 PM
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83: Sure. Blah blah studies about girls, academic and professional success, and sports backgrounds blah blah.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:34 PM
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What motion is he using exactly, B?

Basically, elbows up and tight to the side of your head, shoulders up but not too tense, back arched, chuck ball with both hands but using the force of your back-shoulders-arms. It sounds like he's basically throwing with his wrists.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:35 PM
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if they're like most soft-ballers, they use an underhand delivery,

Sure, when pitching. I'd be surprised if they do so when fielding.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:35 PM
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86: I wondered if that might be *why* girls are taught to throw underhand (I wouldn't be surprised), but evidence against is that during the windup you do have to raise your arm over your head.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:35 PM
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if they're like most soft-ballers, they use an underhand delivery,

Not when fielding, they don't.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:36 PM
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if they're like most soft-ballers, they use an underhand delivery

Only when they're pitching.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:36 PM
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I do think that modesty expectations are underutilized as explanations of what keeps girls out of athletics. If you look at almost any ball sport, the ready, balanced position you start motion from is a half-crouch, knees bent, legs spread, butt stuck out. If you look at non-elite girls playing sports, there's a tendency for them to be standing tall, legs together -- it looks to me as if a modestly body-conscious position the girls have internalized is getting in the way of athleticism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:36 PM
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88: I think you're probably right. I'll pay closer attention next time we practice. I'm sure he's not using his back/shoulders/arms properly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:36 PM
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91, 92, so, so pwnd.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:37 PM
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89--
agreed: fielding is a different story.
he wrote tom jones long before abner doubleday was even born.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:38 PM
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93: And even more than that, simply *playing* means getting out there and using your body. And a lot of girls are discouraged from doing that, or not encouraged to get their asses back out there when they wander to the sidelines and sit down.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:38 PM
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You were tentative, Ben.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:38 PM
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Abner Doubleday is actually the wandering Jew.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:39 PM
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94: At the little-kid level, I think he's probably just not figured out how gravity works yet -- that you need to throw upwards to get any distance. Tell him to throw it at the top of a tree or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:39 PM
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100: Yeah, that's what I was thinking. He also has a tendency to want to use his legs and jump to get upward trajectory--he kept jumping up towards the ball when we were practicing headers and got a couple good bonks in the nose.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:40 PM
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I do think that modesty expectations are underutilized as explanations of what keeps girls out of athletics.

I don't know if I buy that. At least at my high school, the consensus most attractive girls, by a long shot, were athletes. Several sport athletes, as I recall. (And I recall.) My parsimonious explanation is embarrassment, which effects a lot of guys after a certain age as well. (Emerson is going with "neocon plot.")


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:40 PM
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89, 91: Good to see that at least two of you baseball haters aren't speaking from ignorance.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:41 PM
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101--
that's how i use 'bonk' too.
causing great merriment among uk friends, for whom it's a synonym for 'shag'.
not as in carpet.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:41 PM
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I'm not a baseball-hater, particularly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:42 PM
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My son won't play with and balls or trucks or trains or anything remotely manly

Take him in the shower and show him your penis, Brock.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:43 PM
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102 is true for me as well, as I've said multiple times.

I don't know if the popular girls were able to throw, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:43 PM
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How about the explanation that there's no problem here, and that most girls who are interested in athletics these days get to pursue them?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:43 PM
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Most attractive isn't the same as most hampered by modesty. Everyone gets the 'knees together, you're wearing a skirt,' don't stick your butt out, don't stick your tits out message, and it's going to screw with girls across the board. Some of them are going to overcome it, but modesty isn't directly related to attractiveness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:43 PM
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I don't hate playing baseball, just watching it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:43 PM
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103: ogged's not a hater/ he's a basketball traitor. w-lfs-n is a neocon.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:44 PM
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But even guys who don't play on teams in h.s. are usually not quite as lame with basic things like throwing and running as girls who aren't athletes. This isn't about who's considered "attractive." It's about what girls are taught. Shit, being considered less attractive, if anything, only makes people more self-conscious.

Btw, any advice about how to get PK to think in terms of anticipating passing? I mean, like, extrapolating from where the ball *is* to where it's likely to *go*, so he can get in position to either pass or block? He tends not to be in control of it himself, but kind of hanging on the side of the pack, and I'm thinking if he can get his butt into the right place to receive a pass, that could help him (and his team, god knows) out a lot.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:44 PM
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How about the explanation that there's no problem here, and that most girls who are interested in athletics these days get to pursue them?

I don't see how that explains anything under discussion.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:44 PM
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I have been told that (some) Russians consider holding the thread still and moving the needle over it (which is what I do) to be the "peasant" way of threading a needle.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:44 PM
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But even guys who don't play on teams in h.s. are usually not quite as lame with basic things like throwing and running as girls who aren't athletes.

Absolutely not true.

I suspect a generation gap here. Title IX and so forth.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:44 PM
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Oh, and LB should obviously get her kids their own gloves and start taking them to Mets/Yankees games and teaching them how to keep score and engaging in the wonderful world of trying to catch flys. Little League comes after a solid appreciation for real baseball, not before. Same with Pop Warner/football. This is the real reason why soccer is the go-to sports for kids of yuppies / the educated upper-middle-class: no one in America really follows the sport, so if you're clueless and unenthusiastic about sports cultural in general, no one gives a shit.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:45 PM
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115 may be too strong. Take out the "absolutely".

I think the same percentage of boys vs. girls in my high school were completely physically inept.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:45 PM
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110--
ditto.

although, so far as playing it goes, i do think it is one of the worst possible sports for middle-aged weekend warriors (and law-firm picnics, wedding-party games, etc.)

i mean, it requires you to stand around without warming up for long periods, and then sprint furiously or swing your arms violently.

a sports medicine doc could not *design* a better recipe for injuries, pulls, tears, etc.

that's a great advantage of soccer--at least you get out and run continuously, so you stay warmed up.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:46 PM
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108: Ogged, you need to spend some time on school playgrounds and see the way that sex affects who's doing what in elementary school kids.

The point isn't what happens to girls who are (already) interested in sports; the point is what happens to girls who are discouraged from becoming interested in the first place. (And yes, there are shitty things that parents do to boys, as well.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:46 PM
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Also, I tried to try out for the softball team in high school, but the coach took one look at me and said, "Don't bother, you're not athletic enough."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:47 PM
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PS I graduated from high school in 1993.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:48 PM
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120--
rfts, just tell us his name and address.
we'll go beat him up for you.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:48 PM
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122: Her, I'm afraid.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:48 PM
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115: And with what's been happening to Title IX, and with the change from 70s and 80s attitudes towards feminism to the "post-feminist" "girl power" era in which apparently the primary goal is to wear pink and dress cool and make snarky comments about boys, expect that to change a lot as this generation grows up a bit. Would be my prediction.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:49 PM
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My poor mother had been playing catch with me out in the backyard for ages in preparation, too. I liked the idea of being a catcher, and had a catcher's mitt. It's true that I sucked, though, certainly. I did some swim team, instead, and sucked at that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:50 PM
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Btw, any advice about how to get PK to think in terms of anticipating passing?

I've always wish that I'd seen good tape of the Dutch national team playing while I was young. Beautiful, beautiful game, and such great spacing. Just the best I've seen in any sport.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:50 PM
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123: All are equal before the kneebat.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:50 PM
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118: That's why beer is the weekend base/softball sports drink. Soccer is good, however, for culling the weaker middle-aged players through cardiac arrest.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:51 PM
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but kind of hanging on the side of the pack

There shouldn't be a pack. Progressing beyond bunchball is the most important step in learning the game.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:51 PM
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106: believe me Apo, I've tried. Sometimes I wonder if maybe my penis just isn't big enough to impress the gay out of him?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:52 PM
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126: Yeah, we watched most of the World Cup last year. Next time it's on, I bet PK will be paying a lot closer attention. Hee.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:52 PM
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Oh, and about passing: I think this only works if there's some vague attempt to make kids actually play positions, which I imagine PK's team on the whole is a little young for yet.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:52 PM
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129: Yes, I know. I did mention that our coach kind of sucks, didn't I?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:52 PM
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Pwned by 129.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:53 PM
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Btw, any advice about how to get PK to think in terms of anticipating passing?

What is he, six? Ignore strategy, concentrate on inculcating aggression. I'm totally serious. If you want him to be good at sports, that's the only thing that matters for several years yet. But honestly, from what you've said about him, it sounds like competitive team sports are never going to be his thing. TKD seems like a good choice.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:53 PM
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All kids start out playing that way, as far as I can tell.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:53 PM
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132: Vague attempts are being made (and he does pretty well as a defender, actually--they don't have a goalie). But there's been no real explanation of how the different positions interact or how to keep the ball moving or anything. Nor has there been any real drilling of fundamentals like just making the kids run up and down the field or pass the fucking ball much. AHH it's driving me crazy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:54 PM
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Also: yell at him in German. I can't swear that it works, but I feel certain that it should.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:55 PM
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they don't have a goalie

Say what now?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:56 PM
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It sounds like PK is doing nicely, to me. Not that I know, because I seem to be fundamentally terribly unsporty. I've never ever played soccer, my basketball handling skills are for shit, and I can't run worth a damn. Swim team in high school had no coaching, so my technique was always terrible, and besides I have the world's narrowest shoulders. I also have a distinct lack of sticktoitiveness for physical activities: aikido for a semester, yoga for spurts of a few months, then ages of nothing. I'm a winner at the game of life!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:57 PM
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135: He's gotten bored with TKD and we're not doing it any more. And yeah, I've been teaching the aggression thing with the whole "take the ball away from me" stuff.

I doubt competitive team sports will be his biggest thing, yeah; but it's not for lack of aggression. It's that he's a cerebral kid and learns better by figuring shit out before he does it than by just getting in there and trying. And I don't really care if he's "good" at sports so much as I want him to avoid the kind of physical self-consciousness that kept me from doing sporty things for fun a lot of my life; he really does like using his body to do stuff, it's just that he doesn't know how, and his competitiveness means that if he can't do it well immediately he gets frustrated and quits. I'm trying to get sports to be a way of teaching him on a physical level that perseverance and practice are the way to learn shit.

Basically, I'm trying to counter perceived tendencies to that neurotic "but I should be good at everything without trying" bullshit with which I'm so familiar.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:58 PM
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When I was at the progressing-from-bunchball stage, our coach made much hay over the concept of triangles, both as a shape (to stay in formation with our team mates) and as an action, in the sense of triangulating the other team's passes, assuming they'd be using similar formations. But again: doesn't work until everyone has a place to be relative to everyone else.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:58 PM
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139: At the little kid level they play 9 to a side. No goalkeeper.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:59 PM
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139: Next B' will tell us that there's some sort of special exercise that some of the kids do individually in the coach's van after regular practice.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 6:59 PM
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Also: yell at him in German.

Wenn du mich am Arsch lecken möchtest, mußt du erst dir die Hände waschen!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:00 PM
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142: Yeah, well, if he gets some fundamentals this year, hopefully he'll have a better coach next year.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:00 PM
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I realize Ogged is attempting to bait B, but I would say "assertiveness" rather than "aggression". Aggression can lead to ball-hogging, people playing outside their position due to tunnel vision, etc.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:01 PM
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135: He's gotten bored with TKD and we're not doing it any more.

Fuck that. He'll get bored with a lot of things, especially if he thinks he should be good at them without trying. I wish my parents had made me keep doing things that I had gotten bored with instead of letting me out of them.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:01 PM
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You know what, B? Gymnastics. I'm serious. Specifically tumbling.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:02 PM
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concentrate on inculcating aggression

Yep. Anyhow, six-year-old soccer is mostly 20 kids crowded around a ball kicking each other in the shins while the two goalies look for four-leaf clovers. Consider instituting the bunching rule.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:02 PM
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148: Look, I pushed him to keep doing it for several months. But it's a fine line between pushing kids to keep doing stuff and just browbeating them.

Plus I admit *I* had gotten bored with 4x/week TKD, and PK was getting to the level where the studio was starting to make noises about out-of-town competitions, which is just not a level I want to be bothered with at the age of six, with only one car. In a few years, fine. And soccer's a lot more fun to watch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:03 PM
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149: He's love it. But so pricey!

Still, maybe. I'll take it under consideration. First I gotta get the fucking piano tuned and teach the kid a thing or two about music.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:04 PM
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I realize Ogged is attempting to bait B, but I would say "assertiveness" rather than "aggression"

Lunar, not everything you quibble with is baiting; I meant "aggression." The kids who are good at team sports are typically the ones who start out as ball-hogs and do lots of things wrong by the rules. They sort that out later.

Fuck that. He'll get bored with a lot of things

Ben's right. Crack that whip, mama.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:05 PM
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Crack that whip, mama.

My god, people. If you had your way I'd have the poor kid signed up for four different mandatory activities and we'd be the most obnoxious suburban overscheduled overachievers ever.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:07 PM
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No, just tell him that he has to be the best martial artist in town, or no dinner!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:08 PM
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When we were little, my brother and I spent a summer at our grandparents' house in Alabama and returned to NC plump as butterballs, as all we did was eat. Our parents enrolled us in gymnastics classes, which we absolutely loved, especially the trampoline stuff. It's really great for overall coordination.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:08 PM
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Lunar, not everything you quibble with is baiting

Yeah, but when aren't you trying to bait B?

The thing about gymnastics is that you can avoid competition but still have good benchmarks for progress, and they're all learning to do fun stuff. Plus, from what I observed in college, guys who are able to tumble have an amazing advantage in picking up chicks.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:08 PM
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From my limited experience, victory in youth soccer &c. is less about strategy than about finding the largest n-year-olds you can. Or lying n+1-year-olds.


Posted by: elemund | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:09 PM
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155: Make him fight Mr. B for the big piece of chicken.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:09 PM
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102: Tim shows occasional signs of sanity, but not today.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:09 PM
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158: So true. I was a terrible coach, but had a large, muscular team, and when we hit the smaller teams we were unstoppable. (The kids our own size consistently ate our lunch, though.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:15 PM
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Get him a pink tea service.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:15 PM
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You need to recruit this kid.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:16 PM
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155 No, just tell him that he has to be the best martial artist in town, or no dinner!


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:16 PM
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Sadly, H-L, you've been pwned by 145.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:18 PM
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Ach! So I have.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:19 PM
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163: Wow, that's ridiculously impressive. The bit that starts around 0:58 is amazing.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:21 PM
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That kid has already been signed by Manchester United.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:23 PM
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Holy crap. There are college players who don't have that kind of ball control.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:24 PM
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What's also impressive is that he makes some perfect passes.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:26 PM
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Yes, including ones where you really don't expect the other kid to be in a position to complete, which tells you that the kids he's playing with and against really aren't as scrubby as he makes them look.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:27 PM
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He'll get bored with a lot of things, especially if he thinks he should be good at them without trying.

Seconded. As long as you're not pushing his success in the sport, making him stick with it (generally) isn't a bad idea.

As far as soccer goes, at this age, it's just important that he tries to be part of the action rather than the kid doing cartwheels and picking at the grass.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:30 PM
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Boy, do I ever hate soccer.

This thread is bringing it all back.

Don't make the poor kid play soccer. It's a fate worse than death.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:36 PM
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That "stand around with hunched shoulders and stuff" position must be really damn effective for avoiding being seen, because i don't think more than 10% of the gilrs i come across have it.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:37 PM
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Sifu hates soccer because he was forced to play on the National Team, when all he really wanted to do was to have tea parties with his dolls and his pink tea service. For awhile they let him bring his dolls and tea service on the road with him, but then he started refusing to play so he could finish his tea parties. It got even worse after he graduated from high school.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:42 PM
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Substitute "National" for "Absurdly over-coached elementary school," "tea parties" for "imaginary space battles," "transformers" for "dolls," "Millenium Falcon" for "pink tea service," and "implausibly escaped from" for "graduated" and that's about the size of it, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:46 PM
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Also why not reverse the first two substitutions in 176 so they actually make some kind of sense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 7:47 PM
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Hey, Sifu, since you've sort of dubbed yourself the defender of the "you can identify normal people as being Asperger's/Autie like in some way!" notion, would you please go smack cfw around in that thread, as he is being macmanus-on-an-attention-bender level nuts?


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:05 PM
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I can't figure out what the hell he's talking about. Not much percentage in responding to the incomprehensible, I find.

People who implicitly accuse me of utter ignorance of my chosen field in reasonably clear, concise writing are a whole different story.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:07 PM
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163: Cool, but not that impressed. I think more kids than you think get signed really early, and it's not a great tell (at that age) of future success. (That's half-remembered, though.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:08 PM
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180: I half remember that as well. Are multiple half-remembrances additive or multiplicative? If the former, we might have something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:09 PM
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Davis is demonstrably more impressive than Freddy Adu was at a much older age, and Adu's pro career hasn't really played out. You're right that there are other kids who get signed young, most of the fuss about Adu seemed to be because he was American, but you're just kind of smoking it if you don't think athleticism of how Davis handles the ball is impressive, completely apart from the way he anticipates the actions of the defenders on him, which is itself really astonishing. 0:58-1:04 is insane.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:19 PM
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I think more kids than you think get signed really early

Man U has an eight-and-up league, but that kid is still damn good.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:21 PM
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not that impressed

Tim's too cool for school. I don't like soccer and I think that kid's impressive.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:25 PM
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It was either going to be "not impressed" or "he's juiced," so you can see why Timbot went with the former.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:30 PM
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184: I've seen at least one kid with what looked to me like that level of skill at a quite young age--he might have been 12. The guy turned out to be a very good player--multiple yr. Parade All-American--but his career petered out around college, IIRC. It's not like you look at him and say, "Wow, he's definitely going to be world class." Cripes, these kids start really, really young. Pele's playing for the national team at 16, Michael Owen plays for Liverpool 18. (I don't know anything about soccer, but my sense is that's not out of line.)

Are you all just clapping because a kid is doing something, like on America's Favorite Videos? Because he absolutely deserves that. Behold the wonder.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:45 PM
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Actually the best kid on PK's team is small and fast. It also helps that his dad has been coaching him in various sports since he could walk, apparently.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:52 PM
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And the kids in both those videos are great. Tim, why do you hate children?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 8:59 PM
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It's amazing how early kids can respond to coaching. Siobhán, who is four, was hitting pretty well on her own; I told her to stand with her side toward me, hold the bat back and watch the ball, and on the next pitch she drilled me right in the forehead (wiffle ball, but it still stung like hell). The pitch after that she pounded into the neighbors' yard. Hooray, little receptive brain.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 9:02 PM
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That kid is very, very, good. More impressive than his fancy footwork is the fact that his head is up the whole damn time.

On the other hand, uncoached urchins spawned of the local migrant worker population around my hometown can do most of the same moves, and do them in a much, much, much, dirtier game.

His shooting is fine, but he needs to learn to keep it on the ground. Over the keeper won't fly at U-12 the same way it does at U-10.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 9:44 PM
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ObArchives:
The first pic here shows great form.

http://www.stylizedfacts.com/2004/10/pitch_04.html


Posted by: Econolicious, aka Anonymous D | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 9:59 PM
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Plus, it's a great pic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:01 PM
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Dean Hamer, the "gay gene" guy, once told me that he could predict whether a little boy was going to grow up to be gay by how he threw a baseball. This was during the course of a full evening of bad-impression-making, and I must say I would love to discuss the Fallows article with him now, all the while "innocently" twisting the irony knife over the contrast between his nature mealticket and the nurture implications of his dumbass comment, in the context of this article.

I have an accurate, if not very strong, throwing arm, btw, and very straight fingers.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:25 PM
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he could predict whether a little boy was going to grow up to be gay by how he threw a baseball

Now that is an incredibly stupid thing to believe.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:30 PM
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I can predict whether a child will grow up to be a safecracker by how he or she eats spaghetti.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:32 PM
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Cool, can you teach me that?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:35 PM
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It's like chicken-sexing, ogged. I don't know how I do it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:44 PM
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Now that is an incredibly stupid thing to believe.

Why? I don't believe such a thing, but I could see how such a thing might be true. Who the hell knows why one goes one way or the other? It might have something to do with an area of the brain that could also express itself through physical coordination. I (obviously) know nothing about this, but it doesn't strike me as prima facie untrue.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:46 PM
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Now that is an incredibly stupid thing to believe.

Why? I don't believe such a thing, but I could see how such a thing might be true. Who the hell knows why one goes one way or the other? It might have something to do with an area of the brain that could also express itself through physical coordination. I (obviously) know nothing about this, but it doesn't strike me as prima facie untrue.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:46 PM
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God, that's never happened to me before. I feel defiled.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:47 PM
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Just about anything might be true, but two minutes in the world will show you straight guys who can't throw, and gay guys who can.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:47 PM
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ogged means he's known a few pitchers, IYKWIM, AITTYD.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:54 PM
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202: I did mention I have a good throwing arm, right?

Although, seriously, to comments 198 through 199: Who the hell knows why one goes one way or the other? Behavioral scientists, that's who. Which is not to say they've got it all figured out, but science is about eliminating explanatory options, and finding plausible overlaps between motor coordination and sexual partner identification is a bigger stretch than assuming there aren't any.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 11:11 PM
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re: 112 and passing.

There are lots of passing drills, but the one I remember helping me 'get' this as a kid was doing running one-twos.

Two players running in parallel lines, facing the same way. One passes to the other, slightly in front of them so they run on to it, they pass it slightly in front of the other, etc. So any two passes look like two sides of a triangle [with the third side represented by the forward movement of one of the players]. Do this in a straight line for 50 metres or so, constant interchange of 'one-twos'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 11:56 PM
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finding plausible overlaps between motor coordination and sexual partner identification is a bigger stretch than assuming there aren't any

True. Which is why I find Mr. Hamer's claim unlikely. I do not, however reject it out of hand, as I might claims that homosexuality is a communicable disease. What do behavioral scientists have to say for themselves? And what is the deal with the stereotypical gay (only male, interestingly) mode of speech? I've found it identifiable across many countries and languages, though only European and New World.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 11:57 PM
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204: Awesome. I can practice that with PK all on my own, regardless of what the coach does. Thanks!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 11:58 PM
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I think more kids than you think get signed really early

Yeah, I can think of at least three kids at my primary school who were signed up by the big Scottish teams when they were about 11. I went to a very small primary school so those three kids were from a population of about 90 [my year and the two years either side].

On the other hand, uncoached urchins spawned of the local migrant worker population around my hometown can do most of the same moves, and do them in a much, much, much, dirtier game.

Yeah, that kid is really good but he's playing in a proper team, which allows for things like good passing and movement. When I was a kid it was much more 'bunching' even when we were older, but there always kids in any given class who had superlative close ball control and who could pull off all kinds of insane tricks, dummies, wall-passes, chips, etc.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, when I was growing up played soccer. *I* played about 2 hours a day from age 7 until bout age 14 and I was at the (far) rubbish end of the football skill bell-curve. The kids who were really good played much much more.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:16 AM
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re: 206

Also, you can practice it with the player running on to the ball, stopping it, controlling it and then passing. Or do it with a one-touch pass. One-touch passes would be more what people would actually use when playing a one-two during a real game and they're definitely better for developing a sense of movement and anticipating a pass, but there's no harm in using it to practice ball stopping and control too.

Incidentally, B, the BBC had an excellent series for kids on soccer skills. Presented by Michael Owen. I found it pretty informative as an adult.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-Owens-Soccer-Skills-Owen/dp/B00006420S

I'll bet you can find a copy in the US. Loads of advice on everything from basic technique on up.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:23 AM
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205. And what is the deal with the stereotypical gay (only male, interestingly) mode of speech?

What's the deal with the stereotypical (only female) "Valley Girl" mode of speech? What's the deal with the airplane pilot's drawl? What's the deal with the way American urban blacks talk among themselves? What's the deal with surfer dudes?

Guess what: close-knit subcultures evolve idiolects and shared accents which are distinct from those of their enveloping supercultures.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:24 AM
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Also, there's a gay man in my house right now who is not lisping or camping it up. It's amazing how people can overcome their genetic destinies.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:28 AM
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208: Thanks, again.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:35 AM
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Ian Fleming believed that gay men couldn't whistle.

I think that kid should be playing rugger, as it is the only sport where you will ever learn how much it hurts to be poked in the eye.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:43 AM
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212: No way. I like his ears fine where they are, thanks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:45 AM
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well, cricket then. I spent yesterday afternoon trying to teach my five-year-old to bowl leg-spin. Pointless. Absolutely pointless.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 1:18 AM
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Nothing so embarassing as playing footie with friends and random passerbys and having to have explained what covering means.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 1:20 AM
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209, 210: I'd always assumed it's a cultural thing, but (apparently) it's not. Gay latin american men speak honest to god gay spanish, which I can pick up more clearly than the actual words they speak. And it's not the lispy thing, either: madrilenos don't sound gay. Well, they kind of do, but only in a cheap joke way. I've never been to asia, and wouldn't be able to make anything of their accents if I had, so it could be a kind of european patrimony. The phenomenon is real, and it puzzles me.

Also, nattarGcM ttaM:

Why does the UK insist on divvying up it's international football talent? How many quarter-final exits must England suffer before it lets Ryan Giggs play on the left? Or, hell, James McFadden, if they're desparate.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 1:39 AM
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How many quarter-final exits must England suffer before it lets Ryan Giggs play on the left?

You'd get a better public response in Toronto if you suggested Canada be absorbed into the United States.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 2:37 AM
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217 gets it right.

There's a hundred or more years of intense footballing rivalry. And the dominance wasn't always in the direction it currently runs.

The one that annoys me is the Scottish catholics who play for Ireland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aiden_McGeady


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 2:52 AM
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It's not a case of "letting him play for England"; we'd let him like a shot. It's a case of Wales letting him play for England; and that's never going to happen.

Further, Alex Ferguson letting him play for Wales, rather than having the team quack sign him off with mysterious injuries that take precisely one international week to heal, would be a start.

(Anyway, his dad played Rugby League for Swinton and Wales, not to mention being asked to train with the British Lions squad but missing the session with a hangover. No wonder Ryan's Mum threw him out in the street; hence Ryan Giggs, the footballer, rather than Ryan Wilson, the rugby player.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 3:28 AM
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It also helps that his dad has been coaching him in various sports since he could walk, apparently.

I was slightly amused when I heard other fathers discussing the advice their 8 and 9 yr old son's batting coaching had given them. Batting coaches? For an 8 yr old??


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 5:40 AM
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193: Hey, I have gay hands.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 7:06 AM
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216: How does that make it not a cultural thing? Subcultures can bridge supercultures. Finnish computer nerds share in-jokes with American ones.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:21 PM
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well, cricket then.

Are you kidding? Cricket is, if possible, more boring than baseball. No way.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:25 PM
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222: Back on the veldt, Hamilton, gay Spanish speakers needed some way to identify each other, because Spanish speaking men all *look* gay, so they evolved a particular genetic mutation to their tongues that makes them all talk like that. DUH.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:29 PM
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I thought it was due to seminal corrosion of lingual tissue.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:32 PM
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No, no, it's genetic. You and your ridiculous Lamarckian concept of evolution.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:34 PM
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Ah, so that's why Spanish speaking women find gay men so hot!


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09- 6-07 12:39 PM
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