A biomechanical analysis of youth pitching mechanics.
ABSTRACT It is estimated that nearly 6% of youth baseball participants seek medical attention for injuries sustained during play. Most injuries are overuse injuries, and 26% are to the shoulder or upper arm. By quantifying youth pitching biomechanics, knowledge can be gained concerning the manner in which these injuries are sustained during play.
Sixteen healthy right hand-dominant baseball pitchers participated in this study. After digitization of 21 bony landmarks, kinematic calculations were conducted using the 3-dimensional coordinates from each video frame. Data were time normalized, forcing major temporal components of the movement to occur at specific intervals. Segment-based reference frames were established, and resultant joint kinetics were projected onto each reference frame. Kinetic data were normalized and calculated along or about the anterior/posterior, medial/lateral, and proximal/distal axes.
Maximum trunk rotation and external shoulder rotation were observed during arm cocking. Each of the remaining kinematic parameters peaked after ball release. All maximum values for joint kinetics were measured during arm cocking with the exception of compressive forces experienced at the shoulder and elbow, which peaked after the instant of ball release.
Data produced in this study indicate that youth pitchers initiate trunk rotation early in the movement, which can lead to shoulder hyperangulation. Opposing torques at each end of the humerus also produce a large net torque about the longitudinal axis of the humerus during late arm cocking and may increase humeral retrotorsion in youth pitchers. Underdeveloped musculature in the rotator cuff may lead to difficulty controlling throwing-arm deceleration, causing an increase in horizontal adduction across the torso.
An improved understanding of youth pitching mechanics is gained from the data collected, analyzed, and discussed in this study. Through increases in the knowledge pertaining specifically to the mechanics of youth pitchers, the opportunity to develop pitching mechanics specifically designed for preventing injuries in little league pitchers arises.
This study is a Level 4 study describing youth pitching biomechanics and how they relate to possible injuries.
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ABSTRACT: Dynamic, fine-wire, intramuscular electromyography (EMG) was performed on 12 different shoulder muscles in 13 normal male subjects as they pitched a baseball. Seven were major league baseball pitchers and six were amateur pitchers. The act of pitching a fast ball was filmed at 450 frames per second with the EMG signals recorded synchronously. The subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus muscles were tested in 13 subjects, the biceps brachii muscle was tested in 12, and other shoulder muscles were tested variously among the subjects. Two groups of muscles were identified. Group I muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, deltoid, trapezius, and biceps brachii, served primarily to position the shoulder and elbow for the delivery of the pitch. These muscles were found to have greater activity during the early and late cooking stages, with less activity during acceleration. Group II muscles accelerated the arm and baseball forward in space. These muscles, the pectoralis major, serratus anterior, subscapularis, and latissimus dorsi, had stronger activity during the propulsive phase of the pitch. The professional pitchers were able to use the muscles about the shoulder in an efficient manner to achieve greater pitching velocities. The subscapularis and latissimus dorsi muscles of Group II had stronger activity among the professionals, whereas the supraspinatus, teres minor, and biceps brachii muscles of Group I had only minimal activity. The amateurs, on the other hand, continued to use all of the rotator cuff muscles and the biceps brachii muscle of Group I through the acceleration stage of the pitch.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)The American Journal of Sports Medicine 01/1987; 15(6):586-90. · 4.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Proper biomechanics help baseball pitchers minimize their risk of injury and maximize performance. However previous studies involved adult pitchers only. In this study, 23 youth, 33 high school, 115 college, and 60 professional baseball pitchers were analyzed. Sixteen kinematic (11 position and five velocity), eight kinetic, and six temporal parameters were calculated and compared among the four levels of competition. Only one of the 11 kinematic position parameters showed significant differences among the four levels, while all five velocity parameters showed significant differences. All eight kinetic parameters increased significantly with competition level. None of the six temporal parameters showed significant differences. Since 16 of the 17 position and temporal parameters showed no significant differences, this study supports the philosophy that a child should be taught 'proper' pitching mechanics for use throughout a career. Kinetic differences observed suggest greater injury risk at higher competition levels. Since adult pitchers did not demonstrate different position or temporal patterns than younger pitchers, increases in joint forces and torques were most likely due to increased strength and muscle mass in the higher level athlete. The greater shoulder and elbow angular velocities produced by high-level pitchers were most likely due to the greater torques they generated during the arm cocking and acceleration phases. The combination of more arm angular velocity and a longer arm resulted in greater linear ball velocity for the higher level pitcher. Thus, it appears that the natural progression for successful pitching is to learn proper mechanics as early as possible, and build strength as the body matures.Journal of Biomechanics 01/2000; 32(12):1371-5. · 2.72 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is little evidence supporting current safety recommendations for adolescent pitchers. Pitching practices of adolescent pitchers without history of arm injury will be significantly different from those of adolescent pitchers who required shoulder or elbow surgery. Case control study; Level of evidence, 3. Ninety-five adolescent pitchers who had shoulder or elbow surgery and 45 adolescent pitchers who never had a significant pitching-related injury completed a survey. Responses were compared between the 2 groups using t tests and chi(2) analyses. Multivariable logistic regression models were developed to identify the risk factors. The injured group pitched significantly more months per year, games per year, innings per game, pitches per game, pitches per year, and warm-up pitches before a game. These pitchers were more frequently starting pitchers, pitched in more showcases, pitched with higher velocity, and pitched more often with arm pain and fatigue. They also used anti-inflammatory drugs and ice more frequently to prevent an injury. Although the groups were age matched, the injured group was taller and heavier. There were no significant differences regarding private pitching instruction, coach's chief concern, pitcher's self-rating, exercise programs, stretching practices, relieving frequency, pitch type frequency, or age at which pitch types were first thrown. Pitching practices were significantly different between the groups. The factors with the strongest associations with injury were overuse and fatigue. High pitch velocity and participation in showcases were also associated with increased risk for injury. New recommendations were made based on these results. Adherence to the recommendations may reduce the incidence of significant injury to adolescent pitchers.The American Journal of Sports Medicine 07/2006; 34(6):905-12. · 4.44 Impact Factor