Successful throwers come in all shapes and sizes. While there are certain body types that are conducive to throwing far, technique and movement are far more important than shear size. So do female throwers have to be big, hulking women in order to throw far? The answer is NO!
There are many successful women on the world stage who coaches look to for inspiration. I think many coaches lose sight of the fact that these athletes are throwing, at the heaviest, a 4 kilogram implement (in the case of shot and hammer). The women’s discus only weighs 2.2 pounds! Yet I hear high school coaches telling female athletes things like, “you gotta go to McDonald’s, you gotta put on weight.” This is exactly the wrong attitude to take. Women don’t NEED to be huge to throw far. You can take one of a number of examples of excellent female throwers who are muscular, but not terribly overweight: Maggie Ewen, Valarie Allman, Whitney Ashley, Sandra Perkovic, the list goes on. Perkovic is easily the most dominant female discus thrower alive right now. Ewen is the most well rounded thrower, female or male, on the planet.
All of these women are muscular, absolutely, and probably weigh more than the average woman of their age. But they understand that lean muscle mass and power are the keys in throwing sports. And thanks to sports like Crossfit and weightlifting increasing in popularity, the image of a strong, muscular woman is becoming much more common and acceptable. And I think that’s great. I think this is an idea that really needs to be conveyed to high school throwers. Coaches need to help their female athletes understand that, yes, they will gain some muscle in their pursuit of far throws. But they don’t need to put on massive amounts of weight to get stronger. Athletes need to develop their relative strength and power, and understand that increased weight work will not only benefit them physically but mentally as well. Increased self-confidence and a more detailed understanding of what it takes to be great at something are important lessons for anyone to gain.