‘Throw like a girl’?

“You throw like a girl” [Sept. 11] misses most of its target.

As a former physical education teacher and current instructor for the International Baseball Federation, I have coached children from around the world. I have found that throwing “like a girl” is not biologically inherent but rather a result of coaching, expectations and opportunity. Gender is not the dominating factor in their throwing mechanics; experience is.

In baseball, being told you “throw like a girl” is the ultimate of all insults. As a community, we must care enough about our girls to teach them how to throw properly. Girls need the same instructional advantages that boys have in sport and need to be given similar opportunities to throw and play. By providing greater experiences, we can begin to reframe what “throwing like a girl” means.

I have been throwing a baseball since T-ball and recently became the only woman to throw batting practice to a Major League Baseball team. When I hear the phrase “you throw like a girl,” I smile back and say, “Thank you.”

Justine Siegal, Boston

(Brad Walters/For The Washington Post)

As a child, I was told I threw like a boy. For a female athlete, that’s a major compliment. As an adult and a competitive tennis player, I have always been told I had a great serve for a 5-foot-6-inch woman. That’s another big compliment.

For years I taught physical education and was a tennis coach at Washington International School.

I have always loved teaching girls and boys how to throw. When they learned the proper technique and practiced, almost everyone improved. Usually the boys who played baseball had the smallest learning curve because they had been taught and had been practicing throwing for years.

I would love to see an article called “Look how flexible I am.” I bet girls generally win that one.

Pat Rumbaugh, Takoma Park