The relationship between age and baseball pitching kinematics in professional baseball pitchers

J Biomech. 2007;40(2):265-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.01.008. Epub 2006 Mar 3.


Joint range of motion and physical capacities have been shown to change with age in both throwing athletes and non-athletes. The age of professional baseball pitchers could span from late teens to mid-40s. However, the effects of age on the pitching kinematics among professional baseball pitchers are still unknown. In this study, 67 healthy professional baseball pitchers were tested using a 3D motion analysis system. Their mean age was 23.7+/-3.3 years (range 18.8-34.4). The 12 pitchers more than one standard deviation older than the mean (i.e., older than 27.0 years) were categorized into the older group, and the 10 pitchers more than one standard deviation younger than the mean (i.e., younger than 20.4 years) were defined as the younger group. In all, 18 kinematic variables (14 position and 4 velocity) were calculated, and Student's t-tests were used to compare the variables between the two groups. Six position variables were found to be significantly different between the two groups. At the instant of lead foot contact, the older group had a shorter stride, a more closed pelvis orientation, and a more closed upper trunk orientation. The older group also produced less shoulder external rotation during the arm cocking phase, more lead knee flexion at ball release, and less forward trunk tilt at ball release. Ball velocity and body segment velocity variables showed no significant differences between the two groups. Thus, differences in specific pitching kinematic variables among professional baseball pitchers of different age groups were not associated with significant differences in ball velocities between groups. The current results suggest that both biological changes and technique adaptations occur during the career of a professional baseball pitcher.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Baseball / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena*
  • Humans
  • Male