EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE ON PITCHING ACCURACY AND VELOCITY IN D-1 SOFTBALL PLAYERS: A PILOT STUDY
Lauren G. Killen, Scott Lyons, FACSM, Matt Green, FACSM, Gaven Barker, Noah Bishop, Alyssa Parten, Takeo Higgins. University of North Alabama, Florence, AL.
BACKGROUND-Despite some well-established performance benefits, little is known about the impact of caffeine on pitching accuracy and velocity in softball. This study examined effects of caffeine on pitch accuracy and velocity in division I softball athletes (n = 4) completing two pitching trials (double-blind, counterbalanced) following ingestion of 6 mg/kg of caffeine or matched placebo an hour prior. During each trial, participants completed 7 simulated innings (15 pitches each) at a target representing the strike zone with the exact center marked. Each inning was separated by a 9 min passive recovery. Following each inning, heart rate (HR) and RPE were assessed. Velocity (mph) and accuracy (distance from the target center: “delta”) were recorded for each pitch. Separate 2 (trial) x 7 (innings) repeated measures ANOVAs were used for delta, and velocity. To analyze HR and RPE, 2 (trial) x 7 (innings) repeated measures ANOVAs were used. The interaction (p ≤ 0.05) and main effect for inning (p ≤ 0.01) were significant, with post hoc analyses (1 tailed t-test) showing caffeine significantly faster within inning 4 (59.4 ± 3.1 vs. 57.7 ± 2.2 mph) and 6 (59.4 ± 3.1 vs. 57.7 ± 2.2 mph) and approached significance within inning 2 (59.2 ± 3.5 vs 58.4 ± 2.0 mph), and 3 (59.4 ± 3.3 vs. 58.4 ± 2.1 mph). There was no significance for HR. Concurrent with velocity changes, RPE increased (0.5-1.5 units) for caffeine approaching significance within innings 4 (p = 0.06) and 5 (p = 0.08). Post-trial surveys revealed subjective responses approached significance with greater sense of fatigue (p = 0.08) and stomach distress (p = 0.09) with significant feelings of restlessness (p = 0.04) and muscle tremors (p = 0.02) following caffeine. Despite significant feelings of muscle tremors, pitch accuracy was not negatively impacted yet results support benefits to velocity. Though introductory, evidence suggests caffeine may benefit softball athletes. Understanding effects of caffeine on softball pitch accuracy and velocity could plausibly benefit overall game performance, with the potential of improving game outcome in extended play.
Killen, LG; Lyons, FACSM, S; Green, FACSM, M; Barker, G; Bishop, N; Parten, A; and Higgins, T
"EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE ON PITCHING ACCURACY AND VELOCITY IN D-1 SOFTBALL PLAYERS: A PILOT STUDY,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 16:
2, Article 34.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol16/iss2/34