Previous researchers studying baseball pitching have compared kinematic and kinetic parameters among different types of pitches, focusing on the trunk, shoulder, and elbow. The lack of data on the wrist and forearm limits the understanding of clinicians, coaches, and researchers regarding the mechanics of baseball pitching and the differences among types of pitches. The purpose of this study was to expand existing knowledge of baseball pitching by quantifying and comparing kinematic data of the wrist and forearm for the fastball (FA), curveball (CU) and change-up (CH) pitches. Kinematic and temporal parameters were determined from 8 collegiate pitchers recorded with a four-camera system (200 Hz). Although significant differences were observed for all pitch comparisons, the least number of differences occurred between the FA and CH. During arm cocking, peak wrist extension for the FA and CH pitches was greater than for the CU, while forearm supination was greater for the CU. In contrast to the current study, previous comparisons of kinematic data for trunk, shoulder, and elbow revealed similarities between the FA and CU pitches and differences between the FA and CH pitches. Kinematic differences among pitches depend on the segment of the body studied.
At the time of the study, all authors were with the American Sports Medicine Institute, 1313 13th St. South, Birmingham, AL 35205. Direct correspondence to Glenn S. Fleisig.