One kinesiology graduate student watches as the skeletal representation appears on the computer while another graduate student finishes attaching sensors to a softball pitcher.
Pitchers Can Have Motions Analyzed as Part of Research Program
Baseball and softball pitchers of all ages can participate in research at the University of Arkansas that will also provide the pitchers with information that could improve their delivery.
The Sport Biomechanics Research Group, an organization within the university's department of health science, kinesiology, recreation and dance, studies sports-specific movements with the goal of identifying underlying causes of sports-related injuries. The group of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students is working on a variety of projects developed to better understand both the baseball and softball pitching motions.
Pitchers, their parents and coaches are invited to participate in this research during 2010. There is no charge. To learn more, contact Gretchen Oliver, assistant professor of kinesiology, at 479-575-4670 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Data collection sessions are conducted throughout the year at the University of Arkansas Health, Physical Education and Recreation building, and the spring schedule is currently being developed. Following any analysis, the results of the session can be discussed with both the pitchers and their parents. These results are based upon the motion analysis data as well as the group’s knowledge of biomechanics, baseball, orthopedics, physical therapy, and strength and conditioning. The length of time typically required to return satisfactory results from a data collection session is about one month.
During 2009, the group collected data describing the pitching motion of nearly 75 area baseball and softball pitchers. Participants included pitchers of all ages, from youth to collegiate-level performers. The initial focus of these studies has been to identify those lower body variables related to injury mechanisms at the shoulder. Recently, several of the group’s academic papers have been accepted by various publishing companies, and the group has traveled both nationally and internationally to present findings.
To accurately measure and calculate human movements, the group uses an electromagnetic biomechanical analysis system called The MotionMonitor developed by Innovative Sports Training of Chicago. With this system, sensors are attached to different parts of the body to create a representation of the pitcher’s skeletal system within the computer program. The pitchers warm up and pitch as they would during the course of a competition while the group calculates movement kinematics (body angles, joint velocities and timing mechanisms) and kinetics (joint forces and torques).