Effect of Weight in the Non-Throwing Hand on the Baseball Pitching Motion
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Baseball is a sport which includes various sequential motions that utilize the entire kinetic chain. When considering the baseball pitching motion, the sports medicine community often refers to the kinetic chain as the lower extremity, pelvis, torso, pitching arm shoulder, and pitching arm elbow while neglecting the glove arm. The limited research analyzing the glove arm’s influence in the pitching motion has not examined the weight of the glove on various aspects of the pitching motion to the author’s knowledge. The purpose of this research was to examine the effect that weight in the glove hand has on upper extremity and lumbopelvic-hip complex muscle activation; glove arm, trunk, and pitching arm kinematics; and pitching arm kinetics during the baseball pitch. Nineteen participants (17.88 ± 2.05 yrs.; 184.73 ± 5.65 cm; 82.06 ± 14.18 kg) fell within the inclusion criteria including possession of a stable lumbopelvic-hip complex as deemed by the Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity Stability Test and the Single-leg Squat. Once participants were game ready, the following four conditions were randomized: no glove, normal glove, 0.68 kg. training glove, 1.36 kg. training glove. Data were collected on three fastballs per condition pitched at regulation distance (18.4 m) with the fastest fastball for each condition used for analysis. Results revealed that glove weight significantly impacts glove arm elbow flexion during the pitching motion. Specifically, more glove arm elbow flexion was seen at foot contact and ball release as well as during arm cocking and arm acceleration per heavier glove. Also, significance was seen with glove condition affecting maximal segmental angular velocity magnitude of the pelvis, trunk, humerus, and forearm. These findings shed light on the impact glove weight has on the pitching motion. Future research should examine a wider participant group, including various ages and stability levels, to build on these findings.