Complex chain of momentum transfer of body segments in the baseball pitching motion

Hwai Ting Lin, Fong Chin Su, Mari Nakamura, Edmund Y.S. Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Baseball pitching requires contributions from and interaction among all limb segments. Most previous investigators have concentrated on the throwing arm itself, but the center of mass (COM) and contribution of all segments in the pitching motion have not been studied. The purpose of this study was to investigate the momentum transfer of all body segments in the pitching motion. The kinematics pitching motion data were captured from three experienced pitchers (one is professional, two are amateurs). A ten-segment body system was modeled in this study. The results showed that the lowest position of the COM during the pitching cycle occurred around the ball release time and the fastest velocity (2.81±0.18 m/sec) of the COM was in the late cocking phase. The trunk and thigh on the throwing side showed the largest linear momentum among all segments in the late cocking phase. The upper throwing arm and forearm had peak linear momentum in the acceleration phase. The trunk also had the largest angular momentum during the pitching cycle and reached the maximum rotational momentum (4.17±1.22 Kg-m2/sec) in the late cocking phase and medial bending momentum (9.03±5.78 Kg-m2/sec) at the end of the late cocking phase. From the time sequence of linear momentum changes, especially in the leading direction, the force transfer from the foot to the trunk then through the upper extremity during the pitching motion was identified. The largest change rate of angular momentum found in the trunk meant that the trunk contributed the largest torque in the pitching motion. Better coordination of the body segments in the pitching motion not only enhances performance but also avoids injury. The coordination of motion by athletes in the pitching motion provides a guideline for better coaching and training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-868
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Chinese Institute of Engineers, Transactions of the Chinese Institute of Engineers,Series A/Chung-kuo Kung Ch'eng Hsuch K'an
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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