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Throwing techniques (Read 9676 times)
Gunsonwheels
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Throwing techniques
Mar 21st, 2007 at 7:05pm
 
I have been throwing with a sling since I was about eight years old. I am now sixty-three.  I still enjoy casting enough stones to bring back both the accuracy and power which I feel is inherent to slings and slinging... if a person knows a viable technique for throwing with the sling.  After over fifty years of throwing, study of articles on the sling, watching movies depicting throwing and the application of what I feel is some plain common sense, I came to the following:

Throwing techniques to “shoot” a sling have been lost and are, in all probability, largely unknown in our modern world.

Any technique which exposes the thrower to the enemy’s spears, arrows and stones during an extended (anything over a couple seconds) twirling of a sling from an erect position is not militarily sound and likely not what the ancients used.

Any technique which is not naturally complementary with an over-hand throwing motion is also not likely what those armies used.  There is a reason modern baseball pitchers both use the body motions they do to throw and do so accurately at velocities of 90-100 MPH.

The physics of extending the length of an arm by 24-30 inches which throws at say 90 MPH without a sling should yield projectile velocities in excess of 200 MPH.

Projectile mass and shape, if held consistent like arrow spine in archery, contributes to both the accuracy and range of slinging.      

What techniques are known in the .org which meet the above criteria???

George N
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George N
 
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #1 - Mar 21st, 2007 at 9:42pm
 
Gunsonwheels wrote on Mar 21st, 2007 at 7:05pm:
Any technique which exposes the thrower to the enemy’s spears, arrows and stones during an extended (anything over a couple seconds) twirling of a sling from an erect position is not militarily sound and likely not what the ancients used.



That is not entirely true.  Since the sling out range everything in the ancient time.  Slingers can shoot at plain sight without having to worry about spears or arrows.  There are ancient militarily text that describes the formation of the armies of that time and records quite clearly the positions of the slingers and their range.  

I agree with you that an overhand release position is very effective for power in slinging just as in baseball pitching and that a velocity of over 200 miles an hour is achievable.  However, there are drawings that suggests the underhand technique was widely used.  Perharps it is because this style requires less effort and the slingers are less likely to get injuried in battle.  

Using a "wide grip" to hold the sling the spiral spin can be generated with almost any style of slinging.  It does decrease the air-drag of the projectiles that are shaped for such purpose but if the slinger is throwing round smooth rocks, putting underspin on the projectile would probably gives the most range due to the lifting effect of such spin.

I thinks the great slingers of the old days must know how to sling in many different styles.  We have rediscovered many styles of throwing here on slinging.org and they each have their advantages and disadvantages.  Depending on the situation and the skill of the slinger, a different style may be best at different times.
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #2 - Mar 22nd, 2007 at 8:42am
 
[quote]The physics of extending the length of an arm by 24-30 inches which throws at say 90 MPH without a sling should yield projectile velocities in excess of 200 MPH.
[/quote]

Well approximately 0.00001 (that may be far too high) percent of the population can throw at 90 mph. And they're pretty much all millionaire baseball players or olympic athletes. The average for non professional athletes with a reasonable arm would be around 40 - 60 mph.
Go watch people playing with the pitching booth and radar gun at any baseball stadium.

I concur with the fact that twirling a sling round your head adds little in the way of power or accuracy if the sling is tailored to your size.

However I don't believe that any of the old techniques have been lost. There are approximately 3 styles. Overhand (start with the sling held at head height), sidearm (usually start with sling hanging down but can also start with sling held at head height) and underhand (sling dangles is swung in one or more circles and released). Everything else is a minor variation on the theme.
There's just not anything mysterious to lose :-)

However what has changed in the last 2000 years is the fact that there are no professional slingers in the world. So we're simply not as good as they were - that's it really :-)
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #3 - Mar 22nd, 2007 at 9:12am
 
So far, there are only two person who exceeded 400 metres. What style do they use?

I BELIEVE some styles are still lost.
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #4 - Mar 22nd, 2007 at 9:13am
 
Roll Eyes
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #5 - Mar 22nd, 2007 at 9:17am
 
I agree with George, slinging in close battles must be done quickily, it's like playing quick-draw. An archer can quickly shoot dead a slinger face to face..... Shocked
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #6 - Mar 23rd, 2007 at 11:45am
 
Welcome to the list.
Couple of points that I disagree with you with.
Main one is on the overhand release.
Unfortunately we as a species tend to think in a linear fashion. Closest point is a straight line sort of thing.

Underhand has a lot going for it in a military sense in the same manner that the modern miltaries still use indirect artillery fire or plunging small arms fire.
At least in the ancient Greek tradition where the close packed spear and shield armed and Bronze armored hoplite is concerned. with the double pointed spears used then, close order manuver was extremely inportant. If one moved wrong in a battle formation one ran a very real risk of being accidentaly injured by your fellow hoplites. Another issue was the Greek helmets of the day defintely restricted vision to that which was most important to the hoplite, namely straight ahead. Again this is similar to the vision that we see even today in modern armored vechicle combat.

The underhand throw is idealy adapted to striking from above to where the tightly packed hoplite would not have much of an active defense against it, You can't see it coming and if you did, in order to defend against it you run the very real risk of injuring your fellow hoplites or yourself by your defensive movement creating gaps in the rank. Now by reading some of the basic tactics of this time period  one of the duties of the slinger was to supress other missle armed troops and to exploit openings in the ranks of the opossing side. Another possiblity is that the helments MAY have been designed to offer deflect stabbing attacks from the front and not offer so much protection from the top. but I will admit that this is pure conjecture on my part.

There is a book I have at the house about ancient greek infantry warfare. It doesn't have much to say about the slingers but it definately desribes all the pros and cons of tactics and equipment of the day and how the individual hoplites acted both before and after battle. As soon as I get home I will post it here for further reading.

Another problem is that slingers don't have to be very tightly packed in order to fulfill thier mission requirements in this context. Due to thier lack of panolpy don't have to worry about thier movements causing difficulties to thier fellow slingers. We do not know what styles were used by ancient military slingers, they could have very well used more than one style depending on the circumstance. so even then the horizontal throw could have been used depending on the circumstance.

Another factor to take into consideration is siege warfare which the greeks and romans also used. This could take another set of slinging skills that were not commonly used in the field battles.

As has been alredy pointed out most slings would definately outrange most other military missle weapons being used at the time. Now as we get into eras where the archery technolgy becomes more efficent then the sling starts losing it's military importance. ( Ala Middle ages after say 14th centry).

Ammunition in a military context was held to tight standards, with each military defining those standards. (This is the topic of a research paper I am working on in my off-time). One of the reasons why stones tended to be used in a more civil setting ( Greco-Roman era) but in military conflict glandes were used that the manufacture of glandes can be held to much tighter standards. Earlier than this and yes stones were the military ammunition of choice, but amazingly each find/cache of stones are remarkably similar to each other. But only more research will tell.

Ok I gotta go back to work now. I will continue this at a later time today.

Marc Adkins

Gunsonwheels wrote on Mar 21st, 2007 at 7:05pm:
I have been throwing with a sling since I was about eight years old. I am now sixty-three.  I still enjoy casting enough stones to bring back both the accuracy and power which I feel is inherent to slings and slinging... if a person knows a viable technique for throwing with the sling.  After over fifty years of throwing, study of articles on the sling, watching movies depicting throwing and the application of what I feel is some plain common sense, I came to the following:

Throwing techniques to “shoot” a sling have been lost and are, in all probability, largely unknown in our modern world.

Any technique which exposes the thrower to the enemy’s spears, arrows and stones during an extended (anything over a couple seconds) twirling of a sling from an erect position is not militarily sound and likely not what the ancients used.

Any technique which is not naturally complementary with an over-hand throwing motion is also not likely what those armies used.  There is a reason modern baseball pitchers both use the body motions they do to throw and do so accurately at velocities of 90-100 MPH.

The physics of extending the length of an arm by 24-30 inches which throws at say 90 MPH without a sling should yield projectile velocities in excess of 200 MPH.

Projectile mass and shape, if held consistent like arrow spine in archery, contributes to both the accuracy and range of slinging.      

What techniques are known in the .org which meet the above criteria???

George N

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« Last Edit: Mar 23rd, 2007 at 3:32pm by winkleried »  

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Gunsonwheels
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #7 - Mar 23rd, 2007 at 3:27pm
 
Hey all responders...
Thanks for the input... I didn't mean to come off as really knowing much but appear to have really accomplished my goal of getting responses to help me better know what knowledge exists in the .org.  As a passionate slinger for many years I am really exited to find so much knowledge on such an ancient subject.  I have a throw technique I am very dedicated to but am really looking forward to trying some of the others described on the site.  Mine has too much motion before the release to spook game and the chords make a horrific racket toward the end of the power portion of the throw.  I too believe a really good slinger will have a variety of throws with which he/she is proficient.  I like a variety of ammuntion also as Korfmann describes.  I believe "direct, point blank" shooting (straight line throw to strike the face or front of the foe as opposed to dropping the stone down on top of them) requires a different technique than what I call "siege casting" (high angle of throw to achieve maximum range).  I know of a slinger in antiquity who was greatly outnumbered but his foe were apparently only armed with swords.  He would/could allow them to get/be closer than 200 yards and likely used a direct throw to dispatch the six he killed before taking what was left on with his sword.

Again... thanks to all you who have (and are) responding.
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #8 - Mar 23rd, 2007 at 3:30pm
 
Ok I'm Back.
Now one of the assumptions that I used in my previous post on this topic was the Greek Phalanx model of warfare. For the other military uses in other cultures it's all going to depend on the arms and tactics used in that culture.
But I can defianately see where each of the main types of cast ( Overhand, Underhand and Horizontal) could have legimate and effective military uses.

As too the speed of the sling in relation to modern baseball players. I research and use modern agricultural hand tools. A good example here is the scythe. Now depending on which source you use and a lot of that depneds on which measurement that is accepted for any given area of property. and there are mutiple interpatations for that. A good mower should be able to mow about 1-3 acres in a day. I am not even close to that measure.
Another good one is the use of the axe in felling trees. My muscles while in decent shape are nowhere near trained as the classic professional lumberjacks were in the late 19-early 20th century. so my performance will nowhere match what they were capable of using the same tool they were.

So to answer your last question most of the techniques on this site if used by trained individuals are fully capable of doing what they were intended to do. But we have to get to that point.

As a friend of mine says about the classic english longbowman....
" How do you train a good effective longbowman? the answer according to him is you train his grandfather"

Marc Adkins
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Gunsonwheels
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #9 - Mar 23rd, 2007 at 10:45pm
 
It appears the worst part of having something unique about my throw is I now need to learn all three of the principal ones described on the site.  Is it possible to be proficient in four different styles while attending to all else required to keep you and yours alive and healthy??????????  I'm really looking forward to having a go at it... rocks and range are just outside my door.
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George N
 
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #10 - Mar 24th, 2007 at 1:51pm
 
Ok here is the book:

The Western Way of War:Infantry Battle in Classical GreeceBy Victor Davis Hanson ISBN: 0-19-506588-3

Marc Adkins

[quote author=winkleried link=1174518354/0#6 date=1174664723]Welcome to the list.
There is a book I have at the house about ancient greek infantry warfare. It doesn't have much to say about the slingers but it definately desribes all the pros and cons of tactics and equipment of the day and how the individual hoplites acted both before and after battle. As soon as I get home I will post it here for further reading.

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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #11 - Mar 24th, 2007 at 1:56pm
 
Don't worry about coming off the way you did.
And my main emphasis isn't on military casting techniques either...Just put a little knowledge to use there. I'm actually experimenting with no windup casts for hunting purposes. Once I get my accuracy down then it's going to be small game hunting the old fashioned way.
Check out the article on the homepage on the "Apache" style there are more than a couple of threads discussing the finer points of it in the forum.
I agree that direct and indirect fire require diffrent techniques.
I'm sure we all would love to hear about the outnumbered slinger..care to share references Smiley

Happy Slinging
Marc Adkins

Gunsonwheels wrote on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 3:27pm:
Hey all responders...
Thanks for the input... I didn't mean to come off as really knowing much but appear to have really accomplished my goal of getting responses to help me better know what knowledge exists in the .org.  As a passionate slinger for many years I am really exited to find so much knowledge on such an ancient subject.  I have a throw technique I am very dedicated to but am really looking forward to trying some of the others described on the site.  Mine has too much motion before the release to spook game and the chords make a horrific racket toward the end of the power portion of the throw.  I too believe a really good slinger will have a variety of throws with which he/she is proficient.  I like a variety of ammuntion also as Korfmann describes.  I believe "direct, point blank" shooting (straight line throw to strike the face or front of the foe as opposed to dropping the stone down on top of them) requires a different technique than what I call "siege casting" (high angle of throw to achieve maximum range).  I know of a slinger in antiquity who was greatly outnumbered but his foe were apparently only armed with swords.  He would/could allow them to get/be closer than 200 yards and likely used a direct throw to dispatch the six he killed before taking what was left on with his sword.

Again... thanks to all you who have (and are) responding.

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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #12 - Mar 24th, 2007 at 1:58pm
 
Why Not
And that's the spirit that keeps this hobby/sport still alive.

Marc Adkins

Gunsonwheels wrote on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 10:45pm:
It appears the worst part of having something unique about my throw is I now need to learn all three of the principal ones described on the site.  Is it possible to be proficient in four different styles while attending to all else required to keep you and yours alive and healthy??????????  I'm really looking forward to having a go at it... rocks and range are just outside my door.

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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #13 - Jun 19th, 2007 at 1:34am
 
Gunsonwheels wrote on Mar 23rd, 2007 at 10:45pm:
It appears the worst part of having something unique about my throw is I now need to learn all three of the principal ones described on the site.  Is it possible to be proficient in four different styles while attending to all else required to keep you and yours alive and healthy??????????  I'm really looking forward to having a go at it... rocks and range are just outside my door.



       It should be quite possible for you to tack on a few more throwing styles.   I am curious as to what is unique about your throw  Smiley
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Re: Throwing techniques
Reply #14 - Jun 19th, 2007 at 5:55pm
 
My two cents ...

The fundamental classes of slinging styles are four, in my opinion:  two with the sling swinging in a vertical plane, two in a horizontal plane.  Three have been mentioned already: overhand, side-arm and underhand.  The last is the backhand.

The overhand, underhand and side-arm styles have a number of variations, dealing with how the cast starts, how many wind-up twirls are done, whether the sling swings to one side of the body or the other (or both), and so on.  I think there is just one way to do a backhand cast, and the motion is very much like throwing a Frisbee.

So, GunsOnWheels, since your style is not overhand, not side-arm and not underhand, is it that you use a backhand style?

Or ... have you discovered something truly unique?  Looking forward to reading a description or seeing a video or sketches of your style.
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