View Full Version : Summary of pitching mechanics replies

Larry Abraham
12-28-1993, 04:46 AM
On December 9th I posted the following request:

I have been asked to comment on biomechanical factors affecting (baseball
or softball) pitching performance, with specific interest in comparisons
between underhand and overhand deliveries and between men and women. I have
a pretty meager bibliography to start with and would greatly appreciate
comments or suggestions about relevant research. For instance, how do
release velocities differ? How are body size, strength, flexibility related
to performance? I'll post a summary of responses. Thanks.

Since several individuals asked for a summary of the replies I received,
they follow (slightly edited):

From: Craig McDonald
Mike Feltner has done and published research on baseball throwing. I know
Mike from his days at Indiana University. His current email is
mfeltner@pepvax.pepperdine.edu. I haven't seen any postings from him on the
Biomch group, so not sure he reads it.

Another student at IU a number of years ago, now at Penn State, Sherry
Werner, did some research on softball pitching. Not sure if it was ever
published. Her email is sxw13@psuvm.psu.edu. She has to pay for her access
to internet so keep it short.

From: GBINGHAM@ucs.indiana.edu
Larry- I did not study the differences between over and underhand or
between men and women.... but I did take a crack at the antropometry for
maximum distance throws and I thought about the effects of object size and
weight... my focus was on a perceptual question. See Bingham, G.P.,
Schmidt, R.C. & Rosenblum, L.D. (1989) Hefting for a maximum distance
throw: A smart perceptual mechanism. Journal of Experimental Psychology:
Human Perception and Performance, 15(3), 507-528
-Geoff Bingham

I think you are probably aware of this paper, but just in case ...

Feltner, M.E. and J. Dapena. Dynamics of the shoulder and elbow joints of
the throwing arm during a baseball pitch. Int. J. Sport Biomech. 2:235-259,

Jesus Dapena

From: "Vint, Peter"
In regards to your request for softball pitching literature, I have a copy
of a Master's thesis from Indiana U. which quantified certain aspects of
women's windmill pitching. The reference is provided below.

Werner, S.L. (1987). Selected kinematic and kinetic parameters of the
windmill softball pitch. Unpublished Master's thesis, Indiana University.

Hope it helps. Also, in our lab we have been studying gender differences in
throwing mechanics among children. If you are interested in this, let me
know, and I'll send you what we have.

From: lori livingston F
I would suggest, as a beginning point, seeing Hay's (1993) text "The
Biomechanics of Sports Techniques" (4th ed.). Pitching motions and various
biomechanical factors are addressed for both softball and baseball in this

Also recommending Jim Hay's book was Andy Lapham
School of Technology and Information Studies Thames Valley University, St
Mary's Road, Ealing, London, W5 5RF
Email: (UK JANet) ST0187@UK.AC.TVU.E.PA

From: Mike Feltner
Anne Atwater's dissertation work (Univ. of Wisonsin, 1970) compared 5
skilled men, 5 skilled women & 5 average women. They were classified based
upon ball speed at release and all threw overhand. The dissertation is
available from Univ. Microforms or I would be glad to send you my copy if
you would like to borrow it. I'll check my files to see if I uncover any
other appropriate references.

From: neil@isgtec.com (Neil Glossop)
I know that Glen Fleisig at ASMI in Birmingham Al was doing some studies on
this, but I'm not sure if it was published. In case you are not familiar
with ASMI, it is part of James Andrews group. Let me know if you need any
more information. (Just found their tel no.:205-918-0000 and 205-918-0800)

From: Marc Takeno
I recall a great article on the pitching of a curve ball in the magazine
"Science '89" (or '86? '87? '88? sorry, can't remember!). The magazine
wasn't too rigorous; it was geared more toward the layman or popular
science crowd. However, the article had some great pictures and a general
discussion about pitching mechanics. There may even have been a
bibliography at the end of the article. The best place to start would be in
a index such as "Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature". Good luck!

From: "Sherwood, Chris"
I am currently writing my literature review for my master's thesis on
throwing and have quite a few articles. I am not concerned with gender
differences at this time, but I believe there are a lot of references out
there. A few of the articles you might be interested in are listed below.

Pawlowski, D., & Perrin, D. H. (1989). Relationship between shoulder and
elbow isokinetic peak torque, torque acceleration energy, average power,
and total work and throwing velocity in intercollegiate pitchers. Athletic
Training, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 129-131.

Bartlett, L. R., et al. (1989). Measurement of upper extremity torque
production and its relationship to throwing speed in the competitive
athlete. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.

Atwater, A. E. (1979). Biomechanics of overarm throwing movements and of
throwing movements and of throwing injuries. Exercise and Sport Reviews.
Vol. 7 (Edited by Hutton, R. S., and Miller, D. I.), pp. 43-85. Franklin
Institute Press, Philadelphia.

Feltner, M. & Dapena, J. (1986). Dynamics of the ehoulder and elbow joints of
the throwing arm during a baseball pitch. International Journal of Sport
Biomechanics, Vol.2, pp. 235-259.

From: Duane Knudson
There has been a great deal of research on overarm throwing at the
University of Wisconsin. (Rose Bowl!??) The classification used in some
recent Ph.D. work for ball velocity is:
Skilled Men 33 to 38 m/s
Skilled Women 21-24 m/s
Average Men 22-30 m/s
Average Women 12-20 m/s
Unskilled Men < 22 m/s
Unskilled Women