View Full Version : Re: Baseball pitching vs. tennis serving

12-22-2007, 03:26 PM

I am out of the office on vacation, so I am doing this from memory. My colleagues and I have compared the biomechanics of the tennis serve to the baseball pitch. Here are the citations:

Elliott B, Fleisig, R, Nicholls R, Escamilla R. Technique effects on upper limb loading in the tennis serve. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports 6(1):76-87, 2003

Fleisig GS, Nicholls RL, Elliott BC, Escamilla RF. Kinematics used by world class tennis players to produce high-velocity serves. Sports Biomechanics 2(1):17-30, 2003

As I recall, the tennis serve has greater ball velocity, but less shoulder rotational velocity and torque. I believe that the less velocity was due to the substantial extra inertia in the distal segment of the kinetic chain. In other words, the tennis racquet is, in a sense, an extension of the hand. The tennis player has far more inertia than the baseball player does in resisting wrist flexion, but the increased distance of the segment produces greater linear velocity (of the tennis racquet head, compared to the pitcher's finger tips).

That's the best I can do for now. Happy Holidays,

- Glenn

Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D., Smith & Nephew Chair of Research
American Sports Medicine Institute
833 St. Vincent's Drive, Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35205
(205) 918-2139

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Hinrichs [mailto:hinrichs@ASU.EDU]
Sent: Fri 12/21/2007 7:20 PM
Subject: [BIOMCH-L] Baseball pitching vs. tennis serving

I am posting a question for a friend that is not a subscriber. If you
send your answers to me I will forward them to him and ask him to
summarize all the answers for me and I will the post the summary back to
this list.

Here is his question:

He has noticed that the frequency of shoulder injuries among elite
tennis players is way less than that of his elite pitchers, even though
they all have the same kinematic sequence (serving and pitching are
virtually the same) and their practice number of serves equals that of
the pitchers' pitch counts. He feels that this may be due to the simple
fact that the tennis player does not let go of the racquet and the
pitcher lets go of the ball. Does this explain the differences in
stress to the arm or is there another main reason for the differences in
injury rates?

Thanks for your help.



Richard N. Hinrichs, Ph.D.
Dept. of Kinesiology
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 870404
Tempe, AZ 85287-0404
(1) 480-965-1624 (office)
(1) 480-965-8108 (fax)
hinrichs@asu.edu (email)
www.public.asu.edu/~hinrichs (web)