Madison J. Blankenship1, Hunter L. Frisk1, Evan M. Martin1, and William P. Ebben1

1Lakeland University, Plymouth, WI

Understanding pitching biomechanics and sex-based differences is necessary for training pitchers in the most sport specific method possible. PURPOSE: This study assessed sex-based differences in the propulsive and landing phase kinetics, athlete whole body velocity, and the relationship between these variables and pitched ball velocity. METHODS:15 men (age = 19.47 ± 1.18 years) and 15 women (age = 20.07 ± 2.17 years) served as subjects and provided informed written consent. The study was approved by the IRB. Subjects threw six fastballs from the wind-up. Subjects pitched from a pitching rubber bolted to the first of two force platforms, flush mounted and deployed in series. The first and second force platforms captured the propulsive and landing phases of the pitcher, respectively. Kinetic data analysis included horizontal and vertical peak ground reaction forces (GRF), the ratio of both (H:V), and the rate of force development (RFD). Ball velocity was determined by Doppler radar. Independent samples t-tests were used to assess differences in subject background, pitch velocity, propulsive and landing phase GRF, H:V, and RFD. Paired samples t-tests was used to determine differences between propulsive and landing phase GRF, H:V, and RFD. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to assess the relationship between the kinetic variables and ball velocity. RESULTS: Subject age, weight, and years of pitching experiences were not statistically different between men and women (p ≥ 0.05). Men were taller than women (p = 0.001). Fastball velocity was significantly greater (p = 0.001) for men (33.17 ± 2.21 m·s-1) than women (22.52 ± 1.47 m·s-1). During the propulsive phase, the H:V of men (0.37:1 ± 0.05:1) was greater (p < 0.05) than women (0.32:1 ± 0.07:1). During the landing phase, women demonstrate higher (p < 0.05) vertical GRF/body mass (1.91 ± 0.13 N) and RFD/body mass (23.36 ± 2.59 N·s-1) than men (1.43 ± 0.13 N) and (17.45 ± 1.53 N·s-1). There was no correlation between any biomechanical variables and ball velocity for either men or women (p ≥ 0.05). CONCLUSION: Training strategies for men should emphasize horizontal rather than vertical force production during the propulsive phase. Training strategies for women should increase their capability to manage large vertical GRF and RFD during the landing phase of pitching.

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