Advertisement
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Predictors of throwing velocity in youth and adolescent pitchers

Published:April 01, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2015.02.015

      Background

      Shoulder and elbow injuries are a common cause of pain, dysfunction, and inability to play in overhead throwers. Pitch velocity plays an integral part in the etiology of these injuries; however, the demographic and biomechanical correlates with throwing velocity remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that pitchers with higher velocity would have shared demographic and kinematic characteristics.

      Methods

      Normal preseason youth and adolescent pitchers underwent dual-orthogonal high-speed video analysis while pitch velocity was collected with a radar gun. Demographic and pitching history data were also collected. Kinematic data and observational mechanics were recorded. Multivariate regression analysis was performed.

      Results

      A total of 420 pitchers were included, with a mean pitching velocity of 64 ± 10 mph. After multivariate logistic regression analysis, the most important correlates with pitch velocity were age (P < .001; R2 = 0.658), height (P < .001; R2 = 0.076), separation of the hips and shoulders (P < .001; R2 = 0.027), and stride length (P < .001; R2 = 0.016); in combination, these 4 variables explained 78% of the variance in pitch velocity. Each year of age was associated with a mean 1.5 mph increase in velocity; each inch in height, with 1.2 mph; separation of the hips and shoulders, with 2.6 mph; and a 10% increase in stride length, with 1.9 mph.

      Conclusion

      Pitch velocity is most strongly correlated with age, height, separation of the hips and shoulders, and stride length.

      Level of evidence

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      References

        • Aguinaldo A.L.
        • Buttermore J.
        • Chambers H.
        Effects of upper trunk rotation on shoulder joint torque among baseball pitchers of various levels.
        J Appl Biomech. 2007; 23: 42-51
        • Aguinaldo A.L.
        • Chambers H.
        Correlation of throwing mechanics with elbow valgus load in adult baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2009; 37: 2043-2048https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546509336721
        • Anz A.W.
        • Bushnell B.D.
        • Griffin L.P.
        • Noonan T.J.
        • Torry M.R.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        Correlation of torque and elbow injury in professional baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2010; 38: 1368-1374https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546510363402
        • Aruin A.S.
        Simple lower extremity two-joint synergy.
        Percept Mot Skills. 2001; 92: 563-568
        • Burkhart S.
        Shoulder injuries in overhead athletes: the “dead arm” revisited.
        Clin Sports Med. 2000; 19: 125-158
        • Bushnell B.D.
        • Anz A.W.
        • Noonan T.J.
        • Torry M.R.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        Association of maximum pitch velocity and elbow injury in professional baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2010; 38: 728-732https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546509350067
        • Campbell B.M.
        • Stodden D.F.
        • Nixon M.K.
        Lower extremity muscle activation during baseball pitching.
        J Strength Cond Res. 2010; 24: 964-971https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb241b
        • Cohen D.B.
        • Coleman S.
        • Drakos M.C.
        • Allen A.A.
        • O’Brien S.J.
        • Altchek D.W.
        • et al.
        Outcomes of isolated type II SLAP lesions treated with arthroscopic fixation using a bioabsorbable tack.
        Arthroscopy. 2006; 22: 136-142https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2005.11.002
        • Davis J.T.
        • Limpisvasti O.
        • Fluhme D.
        • Mohr K.J.
        • Yocum L.A.
        • Elattrache N.S.
        • et al.
        The effect of pitching biomechanics on the upper extremity in youth and adolescent baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2009; 37: 1484-1491https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546509340226
        • Dillman C.J.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • Andrews J.R.
        Biomechanics of pitching with emphasis upon shoulder kinematics.
        J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993; 18: 402-408
        • Escamilla R.
        • Fleisig G.
        • Barrentine S.
        • Andrews J.
        • Moorman III, C.
        Kinematic and kinetic comparisons between American and Korean professional baseball pitchers.
        Sports Biomech. 2002; 1: 213-228https://doi.org/10.1080/14763140208522798
        • Fleisig G.
        • Chu Y.
        • Weber A.
        • Andrews J.R.
        Variability in baseball pitching biomechanics among various levels of competition.
        Sports Biomech. 2009; 8: 10-21https://doi.org/10.1080/14763140802629958
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • Andrews J.R.
        • Dillman C.J.
        • Escamilla R.F.
        Kinetics of baseball pitching with implications about injury mechanisms.
        Am J Sports Med. 1995; 23: 233-239
        • Fortenbaugh D.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • Andrews J.R.
        Baseball pitching biomechanics in relation to injury risk and performance.
        Sports Health. 2009; 1: 314-320https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738109338546
        • Friel N.A.
        • Karas V.
        • Slabaugh M.A.
        • Cole B.J.
        Outcomes of type II superior labrum, anterior to posterior (SLAP) repair: prospective evaluation at a minimum two-year follow-up.
        J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2010; 19: 859-867https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2010.03.004
        • Glousman R.E.
        • Barron J.
        • Jobe F.W.
        • Perry J.
        • Pink M.
        An electromyographic analysis of the elbow in normal and injured pitchers with medial collateral ligament insufficiency.
        Am J Sports Med. 1992; 20: 311-317
        • Gowan I.D.
        • Jobe F.W.
        • Tibone J.E.
        • Perry J.
        • Moynes D.R.
        A comparative electromyographic analysis of the shoulder during pitching: professional versus amateur pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 1987; 15: 586-590
        • Guido J.A.
        • Werner S.L.
        Lower-extremity ground reaction forces in collegiate baseball pitchers.
        J Strength Cond Res. 2012; 26: 1782-1785https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31824e1211
        • Ide J.
        Sports activity after arthroscopic superior labral repair using suture anchors in overhead-throwing athletes.
        Am J Sports Med. 2005; 33: 507-514https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546504269255
        • Joyce C.
        • Burnett A.
        • Cochrane J.
        • Ball K.
        Three-dimensional trunk kinematics in golf: between-club differences and relationships to clubhead speed.
        Sports Biomech. 2013; 12: 108-120https://doi.org/10.1080/14763141.2012.728244
        • Keeley D.W.
        • Hackett T.
        • Keirns M.
        • Sabick M.B.
        • Torry M.R.
        A biomechanical analysis of youth pitching mechanics.
        J Pediatr Orthop. 2008; 28: 452-459https://doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0b013e31816d7258
        • Kim S.H.
        • Ha K.I.
        • Kim S.H.
        • Choi H.J.
        Results of arthroscopic treatment of superior labral lesions.
        J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2002; 84: 981-985
        • Kwon Y.H.
        • Han K.H.
        • Como C.
        • Lee S.
        • Singhal K.
        Validity of the X-factor computation methods and relationship between the X-factor parameters and clubhead velocity in skilled golfers.
        Sports Biomech. 2013; 12: 231-246https://doi.org/10.1080/14763141.2013.771896
        • Lyman S.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • Andrews J.R.
        • Osinski E.D.
        Effect of pitch type, pitch count, and pitching mechanics on risk of elbow and shoulder pain in youth baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2002; 30: 463-468
        • Lyman S.L.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • Waterbor J.W.
        • Funkhouser E.M.
        • Pulley L.
        • Andrews J.R.
        • et al.
        Longitudinal study of elbow and shoulder pain in youth baseball pitchers.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001; 33: 1803-1810
        • MacWilliams B.A.
        • Choi T.
        • Perezous M.K.
        • Chao E.Y.
        • McFarland E.G.
        Characteristic ground-reaction forces in baseball pitching.
        Am J Sports Med. 1998; 26: 66-71
        • Matsuo T.
        • Escamilla R.F.
        Comparison of kinematic and temporal parameters between different pitch velocity groups.
        J Appl Biomech. 2001; 17: 1-13
        • Olsen S.J.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • Dun S.
        • Loftice J.
        • Andrews J.R.
        Risk factors for shoulder and elbow injuries in adolescent baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2006; 34: 905-912https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546505284188
        • Pappas A.M.
        • Zawacki R.M.
        • Sullivan T.J.
        Biomechanics of baseball pitching. A preliminary report.
        Am J Sports Med. 1985; 13: 216-222
        • Ramappa A.J.
        • Chen P.H.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        • Noonan T.
        • Hackett T.
        • Sabick M.B.
        • et al.
        Anterior shoulder forces in professional and Little League pitchers.
        J Pediatr Orthop. 2010; 30: 1-7https://doi.org/10.1097/BPO.0b013e3181c87ca2
        • Sabick M.B.
        • Kim Y.-K.
        • Torry M.R.
        • Keirns M.A.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        Biomechanics of the shoulder in youth baseball pitchers: implications for the development of proximal humeral epiphysiolysis and humeral retrotorsion.
        Am J Sports Med. 2005; 33: 1716-1722https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546505275347
        • Sabick M.B.
        • Torry M.R.
        • Kim Y.-K.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        Humeral torque in professional baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2004; 32: 892-898https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546503259354
        • Sabick M.B.
        • Torry M.R.
        • Lawton R.L.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        Valgus torque in youth baseball pitchers: a biomechanical study.
        J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2004; 13: 349-355https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2004.01.013
        • Stodden D.F.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • McLean S.P.
        • Andrews J.R.
        Relationship of biomechanical factors to baseball pitching velocity: within pitcher variation.
        J Appl Biomech. 2005; 21: 44-56
        • Stodden D.F.
        • Fleisig G.S.
        • McLean S.P.
        • Lyman S.L.
        • Andrews J.R.
        Relationship of pelvis and upper torso kinematics to pitched baseball velocity.
        J Appl Biomech. 2001; 17: 164-172
        • Werner S.L.
        • Gill T.J.
        • Murray T.A.
        • Cook T.D.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        Relationships between throwing mechanics and shoulder distraction in professional baseball pitchers.
        Am J Sports Med. 2001; 29: 354-358
        • Werner S.L.
        • Guido J.A.
        • Delude N.A.
        • Stewart G.W.
        • Greenfield J.H.
        • Meister K.
        Throwing arm dominance in collegiate baseball pitching: a biomechanical study.
        Am J Sports Med. 2010; 38: 1606-1610https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546510365511
        • Werner S.L.
        • Guido J.A.
        • Stewart G.W.
        • McNeice R.P.
        • VanDyke T.
        • Jones D.G.
        Relationships between throwing mechanics and shoulder distraction in collegiate baseball pitchers.
        J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2007; 16: 37-42https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2006.05.007
        • Werner S.L.
        • Murray T.A.
        • Hawkins R.J.
        • Gill T.J.
        Relationship between throwing mechanics and elbow valgus in professional baseball pitchers.
        J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2002; 11: 151-155https://doi.org/10.1067/mse.2002.121481
        • Wight J.
        • Richards J.
        • Hall S.
        Influence of pelvis rotation styles on baseball pitching mechanics.
        Sports Biomech. 2004; 3: 67-84https://doi.org/10.1080/14763140408522831