Pitching biomechanics?

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Kinesiology studies the body’s movement and biomechanical limitations. Biomechanics of throwing is analyzed using computer equipment to compare kinetic and angular motions to data from star throwers. Pitching involves six distinguishable parts, each utilizing different muscle groups and joints. Proper hand placement is crucial for different pitches. Technology can identify deficiencies and provide step-by-step ways to improve pitching.

Kinesiology is the study of how the body moves, its capabilities and its biomechanical limitations. Studying the biomechanics of throwing means evaluating specifically how the body must move to produce the best humanly possible throw. This biomechanics of throwing is facilitated by computer equipment that monitors various kinetic and angular motions during a person’s throw, then compares the throw to data gleaned from analyzes performed on star throwers.

It takes several concerted body movements to successfully throw a baseball. According to the American Sports Medicine Institute, the field can be divided into six distinguishable parts. The windup leads to a long stride that ends with the arm being raised, accelerating, decelerating, and finally continuing on a pitch toward home plate. Each of these movements is supported by different muscle groups and joints. Some involve arm and hand movements, while others involve the hips, feet and legs.

Specifically, each of these six motions places the pitcher’s body in the properly balanced position during the motion necessary to bring the ball to the plate. The windup involves the flat-side knee being pulled toward the chest and the torso being rocked back to provide a high center of gravity. This explodes into a wide open pitch with the crouch knee being planted forward of the body and the throwing arm rolling into a leverage position at the rear of the pitcher. A long leap of acceleration on that forward stride, followed by a short period of deceleration, occurs just before the ball is released and the arm moves into a follow-through.

The biomechanics of throwing also delves into proper hand placement when releasing the ball. Studying the methods famous pitchers used to release the ball, which result in different pitches such as the fastball, curveball, and slider, can help a young pitcher develop those same skills. Bad habits can be spotted simply by analyzing the dimensions of a pitcher’s post-cocking stride, arm arc and rotation, and even the angle and trajectory of the elbow relative to the pitching hand.

The technology used in 2011 to analyze the biomechanics of pitching can identify deficiencies even in a professional pitch. Using data derived from famous pitchers, the machinery used by the American Sports Medicine Institute, for example, compares these “optimum averages” to new pitches monitored with the help of motion-sensing cameras activated by body-worn transmitters at various points in the pitcher’s body. The three-dimensional data is then used to show, step-by-step, ways pitchers can throw the ball more safely and with more authority.

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