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Shinji Sakurai, Yasuo Ikegami, Atsushi Okamoto, Kyonosuke Yabe and Shintaro Toyoshima

Joint angle kinematics of the throwing limb from the early-cocking phase to ball release were investigated for the fastball (FB) and curveball (CB) baseball pitches through use of a three-dimensional film analysis technique. Small sticks were fixed to the hand and forearm to permit rotations of the radioulnar and wrist joint to be calculated. The actions were very similar for two pitches within one subject. There were no differences in the motions of the shoulder and elbow joints or in the temporal sequences between FB and CB pitches. However, there was a significant difference (p<0.05) in the motion of supination/pronation of the forearm and dorsiflexion/palmar flexion of the wrist prior to the ball release; the forearm was supinated more in the CB (maximum supination: 39.9 ±6.0° at 0.072 ±0.045 s before ball release, or BRL) compared to the FB (19.4 ±8.5° at 0.076 ±0.046 s before BRL), whereas the wrist was dorsiflexed more in the FB (maximum dorsiflexion: 41.7 ±6.5° at 0.039 ±0.011 s before BRL) compared to the CB (31.2 ±4.7° at 0.036 ±0.013 s before BRL) during late-cocking and acceleration phases leading to the ball release.

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David F. Stodden, Glenn S. Fleisig, Scott P. McLean, Stephen L. Lyman and James R. Andrews

Generating consistent maximum ball velocity is an important factor for a baseball pitcher’s success. While previous investigations have focused on the role of the upper and lower extremities, little attention has been given to the trunk. In this study it was hypothesized that variations in pelvis and upper torso kinematics within individual pitchers would be significantly associated with variations in pitched ball velocity. Nineteen elite baseball pitchers were analyzed using 3-D high-speed motion analysis. For inclusion in this study, each pitcher demonstrated a variation in ball velocity of at least 1.8 m/s (range: 1.8–3.5 m/s) during his 10 fastball pitch trials. A mixed-model analysis was used to determine the relationship between 12 pelvis and upper torso kinematic variables and pitched ball velocity. Results indicated that five variables were associated with variations in ball velocity within individual pitchers: pelvis orientation at maximum external rotation of the throwing shoulder (p = .026), pelvis orientation at ball release (p = .044), upper torso orientation at maximum external rotation of the throwing shoulder (p = .007), average pelvis velocity during arm cocking (p = .024), and average upper torso velocity during arm acceleration (p = .035). As ball velocity increased, pitchers showed an increase in pelvis orientation and upper torso orientation at the instant of maximal external rotation of the throwing shoulder. In addition, average pelvis velocity during arm cocking and average upper torso velocity during arm acceleration increased as ball velocity increased. From a practical perspective, the athlete should be coached to strive for proper trunk rotation during arm cocking as well as strength and flexibility in order to generate angular velocity within the trunk for maximum ball velocity.

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Sakiko Oyama, Araceli Sosa, Rebekah Campbell and Alexandra Correa

Video recordings are used to quantitatively analyze pitchers’ techniques. However, reliability and validity of such analysis is unknown. The purpose of the study was to investigate the reliability and validity of joint and segment angles identified during a pitching motion using video analysis. Thirty high school baseball pitchers participated. The pitching motion was captured using 2 high-speed video cameras and a motion capture system. Two raters reviewed the videos to digitize the body segments to calculate 2-dimensional angles. The corresponding 3-dimensional angles were calculated from the motion capture data. Intrarater reliability, interrater reliability, and validity of the 2-dimensional angles were determined. The intrarater and interrater reliability of the 2-dimensional angles were high for most variables. The trunk contralateral flexion at maximum external rotation was the only variable with high validity. Trunk contralateral flexion at ball release, trunk forward flexion at foot contact and ball release, shoulder elevation angle at foot contact, and maximum shoulder external rotation had moderate validity. Two-dimensional angles at the shoulder, elbow, and trunk could be measured with high reliability. However, the angles are not necessarily anatomically correct, and thus use of quantitative video analysis should be limited to angles that can be measured with good validity.

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Michael Feltner and Jesús Dapena

Fastball pitches of eight intercollegiate varsity baseball pitchers were filmed using the direct linear transformation (DLT) method of three-dimensional cinematography. Coordinate data were obtained, and the resultant joint forces and torques at the shoulder and elbow joints were calculated. Various kinematic parameters were also calculated to help describe the motions of the shoulder and elbow joints throughout the pitch. At the instant of stride foot contact, a horizontal adduction torque was present at the shoulder joint, and the shoulder was externally rotating. After the onset of the horizontal adduction torque, abduction and internal rotation torques were also present at the shoulder joint and a varus torque was present at the elbow joint. After the instant of maximum external rotation (30 ms prior to ball release), the upper arm started to internally rotate, but it was still in a position of external rotation at the instant of release. This paper discusses the roles of the torques in producing the observed motions of the throwing arm.

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Tomoyuki Matsuo, Tsuyoshi Matsumoto, Yoshiyuki Mochizuki, Yoshihiro Takada and Kenji Saito

Baseball coaches train pitchers to keep their shoulder abduction at 90º during delivery, because this angle is believed to maximize ball speed and reduce the stress on the throwing arm. In fact, however, the shoulder abduction angle for some pitchers, including professional pitchers, deviates from 90º. There likely are reasons for such deviation. The purposes of this study, therefore, were to investigate the effects of shoulder abduction angle on ball velocity and on the injury-related joint kinetic variable, and to determine why the shoulder abduction angle varies among pitchers. Eleven professional pitchers were videotaped with two high-speed cameras. The resulting kinematic data were used to simulate several pitching motions by varying the shoulder abduction angle from the actual angle. Maximum wrist velocity was used as a reasonable approximation of ball velocity. Elbow varus torque was used as a kinetic variable. The square torque for the throwing arm and torque change for the throwing arm were used to investigate the cause of the variation. It was found that the shoulder abduction angle of 90º did not always maximize wrist velocity nor minimize elbow varus torque. The actual shoulder abduction angle for each pitcher was highly consistent with the angle that minimized both square torque and torque change. The results suggested that the proficient throwers in this study moved their pitching arm so as to minimize mechanical cost while at the same time optimizing performance.

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Michael E. Feltner

Fastball pitches of eight collegiate baseball pitchers were filmed using the Direct Linear Transformation (DLT) method of three-dimensional (3D) cinematography. Coordinate data were obtained, and the model developed by Feltner and Dapena (1989) was used to fractionate the 3D angular acceleration of the upper arm and distal segment (the forearm, the hand, and prior to release, the baseball) of the throwing arm into terms associated with the joint torques exerted on the segments and the kinematic variables used to define the motions of the segments. The findings indicated that the extreme external rotation of the upper arm during the pitch was due mainly to the sequential actions of the horizontal adduction and abduction muscles at the shoulder. The study also found that the rapid elbow extension prior to ball release was due primarily to the counterclockwise angular velocity of the upper arm and trunk (viewed from above) that occurred during the pitch, and not to the elbow extensor muscles.

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Rafael F. Escamilla, Jonathan S. Slowik, Alek Z. Diffendaffer and Glenn S. Fleisig

reached epidemic proportions. 8 These injuries have previously been associated with ball velocity, 7 , 11 , 12 pitch type (eg, fastball, curveball), 13 – 19 pitching kinematic and kinetic variables, 4 , 20 – 27 and pitching delivery styles. 20 , 28 – 34 Baseball pitching coaches and trainers commonly

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Andrew D. White and Niall MacFarlane

Purpose:

The current study assessed the impact of full-game (FG) and time-on-pitch (TOP) procedures for global-positioning-system (GPS) analysis on the commonly used markers of physical performance in elite field hockey.

Methods:

Sixteen international male field hockey players, age 19–30, were studied (yielding 73 player analyses over 8 games). Physical activity was recorded using a 5-Hz GPS.

Results:

Distance covered, player load, maximum velocity, high-acceleration efforts, and distance covered at specified speed zones were all agreeable for both analysis procedures (P > .05). However, percentage time spent in 0–6 km/h was higher for FG (ES: –21% to –16%; P < .001), whereas the percentage time in all other speed zones (1.67–3.06 m/s, 3.06–4.17 m/s, 4.17–5.28 m/s, and > 6.39 m/s) and relative distance (m/min) were higher for TOP (ES: 8–10%, 2–7%, 2–3%, 1–1%, 0–1%, respectively; P < .001).

Conclusions:

These data demonstrate that GPS analysis procedures should be appropriate for the nature of the sport being studied. In field hockey, TOP and FG analysis procedures are comparable for distance-related variables but significantly different for time-dependent factors. Using inappropriate analysis procedures can alter the perceived physiological demand of elite field hockey because of “rolling” substitutions. Inaccurate perception of physiological demand could negatively influence training prescription (for both intensity and volume).

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Yoichi Iino, Atsushi Fukushima and Takeji Kojima

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relevance of hip joint angles to the production of the pelvic rotation torque in fast-pitch softball hitting and to examine the effect of ball height on this production. Thirteen advanced female softball players hit stationary balls at three different heights: high, middle, and low. The pelvic rotation torque, defined as the torque acting on the pelvis through the hip joints about the pelvic superior–inferior axis, was determined from the kinematic and force plate data using inverse dynamics. Irrespective of the ball heights, the rear hip extension, rear hip external rotation, front hip adduction, and front hip flexion torques contributed to the production of pelvic rotation torque. Although the contributions of the adduction and external rotation torques at each hip joint were significantly different among the ball heights, the contributions of the front and rear hip joint torques were similar among the three ball heights owing to cancelation of the two torque components. The timings of the peaks of the hip joint torque components were significantly different, suggesting that softball hitters may need to adjust the timings of the torque exertions fairly precisely to rotate the upper body effectively.

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Tatsuya Daikoku, Yuji Takahashi, Nagayoshi Tarumoto and Hideki Yasuda

after the pitch (F0) and formant (F1 and F2) frequencies of tones were shifted, suggesting relative auditory processing, such as relative pitch, is available in domain-general statistical learning without tonality ( Daikoku, Yatomi, & Yumoto, 2015 ; Yumoto & Daikoku, 2016 ). Thus, statistical learning