Trunk Contributions to Baseball Pitching Velocity
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Research Theses; 2014
Overarm baseball throwing requires highly coordinated control of the entire body to achieve maximal performance. Muscles in the trunk of the body are theorized to play a major role in the transfer of power from the legs to the pitching arm, but few relationships between the trunk and throwing performance have been documented. The purpose of this project is to better understand the trunk contributions to baseball pitching velocity by looking at trunk transverse rotational velocity during pitching as well as trunk functional assessments. Eleven high school baseball players (71.98 ± 2.56 inches, 172 ± 17.12 lbs) were asked to throw 15 fastball pitches from a custom pitching mound built overtop force plates to allow for 3D biomechanical data collection. The final five throws for each pitcher were used for analysis. Participants wore retro-reflective markers over various bony anatomical landmarks on the body to track their movement. A partial correlation analysis, controlling for height and weight, was conducted to assess the relationship between trunk rotational velocity and the functional assessment performance with ball velocity, with an alpha level set at 0.05 a priori. The average throwing velocity was strongly correlated with the average peak trunk rotational velocity for the pitchers (r2=0.69, p=0.011). The right and left medicine ball tosses were strongly correlated with throwing velocity as well (r2=0.66, p=0.004; r2=0.63, p=0.010, respectively). The trunk extension endurance, right side plank, and left side plank tests did not have significant correlations with throwing velocity (r2=0.025, p=0.942; r2=-0.221, p=0.539; r2=-0.053, p=0.884, respectively). This result stresses the importance of trunk rotation velocity when trying to generate higher throwing velocities. This study will help to emphasize the impact the trunk can have on overarm baseball throwing and ultimately contribute to a better overall understanding of the baseball throwing motion to increase performance.
Academic Major: Biomedical Engineering
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