The test involves throwing a softball for maximum distance. This is an anaerobic power fitness test, as well as having elements of skill. There is also a similar cricket ball or baseball throw test.
purpose: this test measures power, particularly of the upper body, and evaluates throwing distance and technique.
equipment required: standard league softball (30.5 cm in circumference, weighing 178 grams), witches hats/cones or marking tape, tape measure, clear open outdoor area for testing.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions (wind speed and direction). Measure and mark out the test area. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: Mark a line from which the subject has to throw from. The starting or throwing position, and whether a run up is allowed, depends on which protocol is being used. The participants must throw the ball without crossing the line. The dominant arm is used. If the line is crossed or the ball does not land in the target area the throw is deemed a foul. Two practice throws are allowed and three measurements are made. The angle the ball is thrown is important. You may want to explain to the subject about the optimal angle for maximal distance, and to allow some practice attempts to work this out for themselves.
throwing position: There are four variations of the starting/throwing position. By stabilizing the body with the knees or feet in place, it reduces the contribution of skill and coordination to the results.
- Knees in place throw - the throw is from the keeling position and the knees remain on the ground during the throw.
- Feet in place throw - the feet remain flat on the ground during the throw.
- One-step approach (Underkofler Softball Throw for Distance Test) - where one step may be taken before throwing.
- Run up - a set distance (e.g. 10m) is allowed for a run up approach to the throwing line.
scoring: The distance from the starting line to where the ball first lands is recorded. The best result of three throws is recorded.
target population: throwing athletics events, and other sports in which upper body power is important.
advantages: this test is simple to perform for an individual, with the equipment easily acquired.
disadvantages: three assistants are needed to conduct this test smoothly: one to ensure the trow is performed correctly and behind the lone, one to mark and record where the ball lands, another to collect and return the balls. If testing a large group of participants, it can be time consuming to put all of them through this test.
comments: The softball throw is sometimes an junior track and field event replacing javelin throwing.
The Test in Action
- The softball throw test was one of the standardized test events as part of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
- See the similar cricket ball or baseball throw test
- Kneeling basketball throw test — one handed throw for distance from the kneeling position.
- Medicine and Power Ball Fitness Tests
- Other speed and power tests
- About the sporting event Softball Throw
- Power fitness tests involving throwing of balls