Shoulder joint movement of the non-throwing arm during baseball pitch--comparison between skilled and unskilled pitchers

J Biomech. 2001 Dec;34(12):1643-7. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9290(01)00154-3.


The shoulder of a non-throwing arm during a baseball pitch must be in a constant position while the shoulder of the throwing arm moves in a nearly circular path around it. However, it has not been investigated whether a skilled pitch requires less shoulder-joint movement. It was hypothesized that pitchers with less shoulder movement of the non-throwing arm can be considered to have higher skill and to attain higher initial ball velocity. Nine baseball pitchers were used as subjects. The coach classified them into a skilled and an unskilled group. The pitching motions were recorded using two high-speed cameras. The time series of three-dimensional landmark coordinates of the shoulder joint of the non-throwing arm during the baseball pitch were calculated using the direct linear transformation method. The shoulder-joint movement (SJM) index, which expresses the movement (displacement) of the shoulder joint of the non-throwing arm quantitatively, was proposed to compare the SJM at different skill levels and investigate the relationship between SJM and initial ball velocity. The SJM of the skilled pitchers was smaller than that of the unskilled pitchers, and the smaller value of the SJM led to faster initial ball velocity. The data suggest that the less SJM of the non-throwing arm is required to attain a skilled pitch and higher initial ball velocity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Baseball*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*
  • Videotape Recording