Association between pelvic motion and hand velocity in college-aged baseball pitchers.

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Baseball Research Journal






The Society for American Baseball Research

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Baseball pitching is an intricate athletic skill requiring a complex and systematic activation of body segments to create maximal velocity at the distal aspect of the throwing arm.1 The pitching motion can be divided into six phases: (a) wind-up, (b) stride, (c) arm cocking, (d) acceleration, (e) deceleration and (f) follow-through.2 These phases are performed sequentially, and result in mechanical energy transfer through the segments of the kinetic chain, from the lower extremity to the throwing arm.3,4,5 Proper mechanics are crucial for injury prevention and facilitate consistent, successful pitching performance. Previous research suggests that erratic throwing mechanics decrease pitching performance and increase the likelihood of injury.6 Studies that have investigated the pelvic region typically focus on mechanics during the later stages of the pitching sequence.7,8,9,10 Chaudhari et al. investigated the relationship between pelvic motion in the sagittal plane (Fig. 1) during transition from two-foot to single-foot stance and pitcher’s total innings pitched, batting average against, strikeouts per inning, walks per inning, walks plus hits per innings pitched, and days missed due to injury.11,12 These researchers observed that pitchers who exhibited less pelvic motion in the sagittal plane performed better through the course of a season and missed less time due to injury, indicating that pelvic mechanics are crucial to overall performance.13,14 Moreover, a key benefit to the pelvic motion assessment utilized by Chaudhari et al. is the practicality of its implication as a field test to be utilized by coaches who aim to continuously improve pitcher longevity and throwing performance.15,16 While Chaudhari et al. observed an association between pelvic motion in the sagittal plane and performance over the length of a season, the effect of pelvic motion on the pitch itself has not been addressed.17,18 Additionally, while anterior-posterior (AP, Fig. 1) tilt is important, it is only one component of total hip motion. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the association between a field test assessment of biplanar pelvic motion (AP and mediallateral (ML, Fig. 1) and hand velocity during the execution of a maximum effort fastball pitch.

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