We propose that learning proper hitting kinematics should be encouraged at a young age during youth baseball because this may help reinforce proper hitting kinematics as a player progresses to higher levels of baseball in their adult years. To enhance our understanding between youth and adult baseball hitting, kinematic and temporal analyses of baseball hitting were evaluated with a high-speed motion analysis system between 12 skilled youth and 12 skilled adult baseball players. There were only a small number of temporal differences between youth and adult hitters, with adult hitters taking significantly greater time than youth hitters during the stride phase and during the swing. Compared with youth hitters, adult hitters a) had significantly greater (p < .01) lead knee flexion when the hands started to move forward; b) flexed the lead knee over a greater range of motion during the transition phase (31° versus 13°); c) extended the lead knee over a greater range of motion during the bat acceleration phase (59° versus 32°); d) maintained a more open pelvis position at lead foot off ground; and e) maintained a more open upper torso position when the hands started to move forward and a more closed upper torso position at bat-ball contact. Moreover, adult hitters had greater peak upper torso angular velocity (857°/s versus 717°/s), peak left elbow extension angular velocity (752°/s versus 598°/s), peak left knee extension angular velocity (386°/s versus 303°/s), and bat linear velocity at bat-ball contact (30 m/s versus 25 m/s). The numerous differences in kinematic and temporal parameters between youth and adult hitters suggest that hitting mechanics are different between these two groups.
Escamilla is with the Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, CA, and the Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, FL. Fleisig is with American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, AL. DeRenne is with the Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI. Taylor is with the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Pensacola, FL. Moorman is with the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Duke Sports Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Imamura is with the Kinesiology and Health Science Department, California State University, Sacramento, CA. Barakatt is with the Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, CA. And Andrews is with the Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, FL, and the American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, AL.