Torque From Fastballs

February 6, 2018

A recent study’s findings suggest baseball pitchers’ elbows experience more torque from throwing fastballs than other pitches. This contrasts traditional beliefs, which typically associates breaking balls with higher levels of torque.

An article from Healio reports that the study examined 37 college and high school baseball pitchers’ shoulder rotation, arm speed, arm slot, and elbow torque. The researchers used a sleeve equipped with a gyroscopic sensor with an accelerometer; the measurements were taken over the medial elbow. The pitches’ peak ball velocity was also measured with a radar gun.

“The take home message of the study is that there’s a lot of sentiment out there that breaking pitches put the elbow at increased risk for injury, especially in the younger patient population,” Eric C. Makhni, MD, MBA, co-author of the study and a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Henry Ford Health System, said. “What our study showed was that the speed of the pitch placed the greatest torque on the elbow during throwing so the fastballs produced the greatest torque across the elbow and not the breaking pitches.”

The sensor measures with a precision level of 97.9 percent for change-ups, and 96.9 percent for fastballs and curveballs. Its sensitivity is also high enough that it can differentiate pitches based on shoulder rotation, arm speed, arm slot, and elbow torque.

The highest level of elbow torque came from ball velocity. This was followed by elbow circumference—specifically, smaller elbow circumference predicted greater medial elbow torque.

Within this study, the pitchers were asked to throw eight of each of the following: fastballs, curveballs, and change-ups. Their body dimensions and throwing arm measurements were also taken. Moving forward, the researchers plan to study overuse injuries within adolescent and pediatric samples, along with some other variants.

“We’re also going to look at different things like the type of throwing mechanics used. How does that impact torque?” Makhni said. “We’re going to look at other applications like, ‘Does throwing a heavier ball cause greater torque or does throwing a lighter ball cause greater torque? We’re going to start digging in a little bit deeper now that we have demonstrated the reproducibility and the reliability of the device.” 

SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

Free Guide to Understanding Training Loads

One of the biggest advances brought about by the rise of sport science technology has been the ability to better measure and track an athlete’s training load. But what is training load? And how can knowing more about it help coaches improve athlete performance? To help teach people more abut this important subject, Firstbeat Sports … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Portable Scoring

When a coach has to travel to another field or gymnasium for a home game, they often have someone keep score with a pen and paper. Coaches no longer have to worry about this, or about their fans and athletes not knowing the score at any given time, with the Portable Indoor/Outdoor L.E.D Tabletop Scoreboard … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Versatility for Every Athlete

Strength and sport coaches no longer have to worry about creating more versatile, exciting programs with the PowerBlock Dumbbell. With these dumbbells, athletes can engage in a variety of exercises without leaving their station or having to haul around equipment. And coaches can also decrease the chances of athletes becoming distracted due to waiting for … CLICK TO READ MORE...

More Pride in Your Padding

Athletic directors can now increase school spirit and update old, torn, faded, or boring gym wall padding with Sport Pride Graphic Wall Padding from Bison, Inc. Winner of the Silver Medal in Athletic Management magazine’s “Excellence in Innovation” Awards program for the Indoor Facility Components category, this Wall Padding will add the WOW! Factor to … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Why Water?

Strength coaches and athletic trainers are always looking for the newest and best ways to help their athletes not only become stronger, but also rehabilitate from injury faster. Hudson Aquatic Systems can help achieve this goal with their line of hydrotherapy products. When engaging in hydroptherapy on either an underwater treadmill or in a pool, … CLICK TO READ MORE...

VIEW MORE ARTICLES

Stay at the Top of Your Game!
x
Receive articles like this by signing up for our newsletters