Kinematic and kinetic comparisons between American and Korean professional baseball pitchers

Sports Biomech. 2002 Jul;1(2):213-28. doi: 10.1080/14763140208522798.


The purpose of this study was to quantify and compare kinematic, temporal, and kinetic characteristics of American and Korean professional pitchers in order to investigate differences in pitching mechanics, performance, and injury risks among two different cultures and populations of baseball pitchers. Eleven American and eight Korean healthy professional baseball pitchers threw multiple fastball pitches off an indoor throwing mound positioned at regulation distance from home plate. A Motion Analysis three-dimensional automatic digitizing system was used to collect 200 Hz video data from four electronically synchronized cameras. Twenty kinematic, six temporal, and 11 kinetic variables were analyzed at lead foot contact, during the arm cocking and arm acceleration phases, at ball release, and during the arm deceleration phase. A radar gun was used to quantify ball velocity. At lead foot contact, the American pitchers had significantly greater horizontal abduction of the throwing shoulder, while Korean pitchers exhibited significantly greater abduction and external rotation of the throwing shoulder. During arm cocking, the American pitchers displayed significantly greater maximum shoulder external rotation and maximum pelvis angular velocity. At the instant of ball release, the American pitchers had significantly greater forward trunk tilt and ball velocity and significantly less knee flexion, which help explain why the American pitchers had 10% greater ball velocity compared to the Korean pitchers. The American pitchers had significantly greater maximum shoulder internal rotation torque and maximum elbow varus torque during arm cocking, significantly greater elbow flexion torque during arm acceleration, and significantly greater shoulder and elbow proximal forces during arm deceleration. While greater shoulder and elbow forces and torques generated in the American pitchers helped generate greater ball velocity for the American group, these greater kinetics may predispose this group to a higher risk of shoulder and elbow injuries.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / ethnology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Baseball / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • United States / ethnology