Tuesday, June 9, 2020

How far can rioters throw?

Watching video footage of some of the riots, I started to wonder "How far can the average guy throw?"

It is not a simple question.

There are two populations:

The elite throwers played baseball, softball or played quarterback or threw the javelin in high school.

Then there was everybody else.

Everybody else
According to folks who watch the radar guns at baseball stadiums, Joe Average Public does well to throw a baseball at 45 miles per hour. It is a matter of mechanics and condition.

To obtain maximum distance, the release needs to be somewhere around 45 degrees. That will reduce the release velocity.

But for the sake of these approximations, let's go with 35 degree release and a 45 mph initial velocity.

According to this site, the best that thrower could hope to throw is about 125 feet with a "hang-time" of about 2.3 seconds. Since I have been dragging 100' hoses to water the garden, I can vouch that 125' is not very far.

It should be obvious that bricks are not easy to grip and are heavy. All bets are off on how far folks can chuck a brick, but it is not very far. We are talking about rocks that are approximately the weight of a hardball.

Elite throwers
We are talking about gifted athletes who trained to throw. These are the top-drawer, high school pitchers and college level outfielders. He is in the top 1/2%.

He can throw at 75 miles per hour, has a range of about 350 feet and a four second hang-time.

The guys who played Little League and is still in shape, he might be able to manage 60 miles per hour. He is in the top 5%.

That guy can throw 225 feet. This is the guy you have to watch out for. He can be standing 50 feet behind the average guy and bean you while the average guy's throws are still falling short.

And there are enough throwers like him to make it likely that any group that is larger than twenty will have one.


  1. Which is why you always go armed.

    1. It also changes the calculus of how close you let aggressors get to you.

      Try to get out of their way, but if trapped and they are pursuing you, then you are a fool if you let them get within 21 feet of you. 21 feet is the practical standard for one individual aggressor. That is why many folks practice at 7 yards.

  2. Years ago, at a Cincinnati Reds game they had a booth where you could throw a pitch and have it clocked by radar. I was disappointed to find that my fastball was only 58 miles per hour. I guess that was not so bad after all. Even though they didn't give me a pitching contract.

    1. P.S.- I shpuld say that I am not an athlete and I was over 40 at the time. On the plus side, I also got a baseball card made of myself. At the time, my beard looked out of place with the uniform that they provided for the picture. But maybe I was just ahead of my time.