M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)
Department of Physical Education
The purpose of this investigation was to apply a method of mechanical energy analysis to the overarm pitching pattern of a major league pitcher. At the time of filming, the subject was a member of the Chicago White Sox starting rotation with a major league lifetime record of 38 wins and 27 losses with an earned run average of 3.29. He was 6 feet, 5 inches tall, and weighed 218 pounds. The filming was performed during an exhibition game during spring training in 1983. The subject was filmed from a side view and from a front view. Two types of pitches were analyzed, fastballs and sliders. Most of the measurements taken from the digitized film were two-dimensional in nature with the exceptions of hip rotation, shoulder rotation, the relative angle formed by the forearm and upperarm of the pitching arm, and the degree of rotation of the humerus of the pitching arm about its long axis. The actions of horizontal flexion and extension at the shoulder were neglected. Only the movements occurring from the completion of the stride to the release of the ball were examined in the final analysis. The results of the mechanical energy analysis supported several conclusions. The sequence of movements from the completion of the stride to the release of the ball was initiated by extension of the knee of the striding leg and extension at the hip of the striding leg. Rotation of the hips and shoulders towards the plate and the extension of the elbow of the pitching arm began simultaneously, and all continued through the point of release. The final actions were medial rotation at the shoulder of the pitching arm followed by wrist extension and, finally, wrist flexion. The largest contributors of mechanical energy appeared to be the actions of shoulder rotation and hip rotation. Other actions in descending order of relative contribution were medial rotation of the humerus, elbow extension, knee extension, and hip extension. The total mechanical energy of the body at the point of release was the highest for fastballs. Finally, there was no significant difference in the knee action of the striding leg between the fastball and the slider.
Siler, William L., "A mechanical energy analysis of the overarm pitch" (1984). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 398.
xii, 97 pages
Northern Illinois University
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