Using computer simulation to investigate which joint angle changes have the most effect on ball release speed in overarm throwing

2019-04-12T13:51:54Z (GMT) by Nurhidayah Omar Fred Yeadon Mark King
Efficient throwing mechanics is predicated on a pitcher’s ability to perform a sequence of movements of body segments, which progresses from the legs, pelvis, and trunk to the smaller, distal arm segments. Each segment plays a vital role in achieving maximum ball velocity at ball release. The perturbation of one joint angle has an effect on the ball release speed. An eight-segment angle-driven simulation model of the trunk, upper limbs and ball was developed to determine which joint angle changes have the most influence on ball release speed in overarm throwing for an experienced pitcher. Fifteen overarm throwing trials were recorded, and the joint angle time histories of each trial were input into the simulation model. Systematically replacing each joint angle time history with a constant value showed that overarm throwing was sensitive (≥5 m/s effect on ball release speed) to trunk extension/flexion and upper arm external/internal rotation, and very sensitive (≥10 m/s effect) to forearm extension/flexion. Computer simulation allows detailed analysis and complete control to investigate contributions to performance, and the key joint angle changes for overarm throwing were identified in this analysis.