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Sports 2018, 6(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6020051

Knee Angle and Stride Length in Association with Ball Speed in Youth Baseball Pitchers

1
Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, 2828 CE Delft, The Netherlands
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether stride length and knee angle of the leading leg at foot contact, at the instant of maximal external rotation of the shoulder, and at ball release are associated with ball speed in elite youth baseball pitchers. In this study, fifty-two elite youth baseball pitchers (mean age 15.2 SD (standard deviation) 1.7 years) pitched ten fastballs. Data were collected with three high-speed video cameras at a frequency of 240 Hz. Stride length and knee angle of the leading leg were calculated at foot contact, maximal external rotation, and ball release. The associations between these kinematic variables and ball speed were separately determined using generalized estimating equations. Stride length as percentage of body height and knee angle at foot contact were not significantly associated with ball speed. However, knee angles at maximal external rotation and ball release were significantly associated with ball speed. Ball speed increased by 0.45 m/s (1 mph) with an increase in knee extension of 18 degrees at maximal external rotation and 19.5 degrees at ball release. In conclusion, more knee extension of the leading leg at maximal external rotation and ball release is associated with higher ball speeds in elite youth baseball pitchers. View Full-Text
Keywords: kinematics; biomechanics; sports; fastball kinematics; biomechanics; sports; fastball
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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van Trigt, B.; Schallig, W.; van der Graaff, E.; Hoozemans, M.J.M.; Veeger, D. Knee Angle and Stride Length in Association with Ball Speed in Youth Baseball Pitchers. Sports 2018, 6, 51.

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