Three-dimensional Kinematic Analysis of Throwing Motion Focusing on Pelvic Rotation at Stride Foot Contact

JSES Open Access. 2018 Feb 21;2(1):115-119. doi: 10.1016/j.jses.2017.12.007. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Background: Because the throwing motion can be considered a kinetic chain, pelvic and trunk motion should be included in the analysis. Early pelvic rotation during the throwing sequence has been reported to be a factor leading to overloading of the shoulder and the elbow. A large pelvic rotation angle at the stride foot contact (SFC) was thought to indicate early pelvic opening. This study examined the kinematic features in each motion segment associated with increased pelvic rotation at SFC in pitchers of various ages and competition levels.

Materials and methods: The study included 324 pitchers with various age/competition levels. Throwing motion was analyzed using an infrared-type motion capture system. In the assessment, pelvic rotation angle at SFC was adopted as a parameter for the timing of pelvic opening. Statistical analyses were performed for correlation between pelvic rotation and kinematic variables of other motion segments at the instant of SFC as well as the difference in kinematics between the groups of different levels.

Results: Most of the kinematic results were not significantly different among the 4 groups with different levels. The increase in the pelvic opening angle at SFC was significantly correlated with increased trunk bend to the nonthrowing arm side and decreased hip flexion angle on the throwing arm side.

Discussion and conclusion: Early pelvic rotation in the throwing motion sequence, as manifested by increased pelvic rotation at SFC, was correlated with changes in kinematic parameters at other motion segments such as increased trunk tilt and decreased hip flexion.

Keywords: Kinematic; Kinetic; Motion analysis; Opening up too soon; Pelvic rotation; Pitching mechanics; Pitching motion; Throwing motion.