Differences in Rotational Kinetics and Kinematics for Professional Baseball Pitchers With Higher Versus Lower Pitch Velocities

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Oklahoma State University
  • 2 Motus Global
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Pitch velocity (PV) is important for pitching success, and the pelvis and trunk likely influence pitch performance. The purposes of this study were to examine the differences in pelvis and trunk kinetics and kinematics in professional baseball pitchers who throw at lower versus higher velocities (HVPs) and to examine the relationships among pelvis and trunk kinetics and kinematics and PV during each phase of the pitch delivery. The pitch velocity, pelvis and trunk peak angular velocities, kinetic energies and torques, and elbow and shoulder loads were compared among HVPs (n = 71; PV ≥ 40.2 m/s) and lower velocities pitchers (n = 78; PV < 39.8 m/s), as were trunk and pelvis rotation, flexion, and obliquity among 7 phases of the pitching delivery. Relationships among the kinetic and kinematic variables and PVs were examined. Higher velocity pitchers achieved greater upper trunk rotation at hand separation (+7.2°, P < .001) and elbow extension (+5.81°, P = .002) and were able to generate greater upper trunk angular velocities (+36.6 m/s, P = .01) compared with lower velocity pitcher. Trunk angular velocity (r = .29) and upper trunk rotation at hand separation (r = .18) and foot contact (r = .17) were weakly related to PV. Therefore, HVPs rotate their upper trunk to a greater degree during the early phases of the pitching motion and subsequently generate greater trunk angular velocities and PV.

Luera, Muddle, and Jenkins are with the Applied Neuromuscular Physiology Laboratory, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA. Dowling is with the Research and Development, Rockville Centre, Motus Global, NY, USA. Jenkins is also with the Laboratory for Applied Nutrition and Exercise Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.

Jenkins (Nathaniel.jenkins@okstate.edu) is corresponding author.
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