BACKGROUND: Transfer time in baseball catching is the duration of time from receiving a pitch until the ball is released for a throw to second base. While transfer time is vital to a catcher’s success, research in baseball catching has mainly focused on the kinematics influencing throw velocity, rather than the duration of transfer time. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the duration of throwing phases between fast and slow transfer times in youth baseball catchers. METHODS: Kinematics of twenty-one youth catchers (12±3yrs, 52.7±14.8kg, 1.57±0.15m) were recorded and analyzed using an electromagnetic motion capture system (100Hz). Transfer time for the throwdown consisted of three phases: start phase (movement initiation to stride foot contact), arm-cocking phase (stride foot contact to maximum shoulder external rotation), and acceleration phase (maximum shoulder external rotation to ball release). Two repeated measures MANOVAs were used for within-subjection comparison for the fastest and slowest trials for each participant. The first analysis (TT) compared the total time (sec) spent in each phase of the event, while the second analysis (PT) examined the percentage of time spent in each phase of the event. RESULTS: Significant within-subjects differences were observed for the fast and slow trials in the TT analysis (F3,18= 6.20, p =.004). Follow-up univariate analysis for TT showed the start phase being significantly quicker (F1=15.33, p <.001) for fast trials (0.77 ± 0.24 s) compared to slow trials (1.17 ± 0.49 s). Remaining phases presented no differences in the TT analysis (p>.514). The PT analysis also revealed significant differences between the fast and slow trials (F2,19 =9.80, p=.001). Follow-up univariate analysis for the PT test revealed that in the fast trials the start phase was significantly shorter (75.9 ± 7.7 vs 81.9 ± 6.9%; F1=12.23, p=.002), whereas the arm-cocking (18.63 ± 6.4 vs 14.35 ± 5.5%; F1=8.95, p =.007) and acceleration phases (5.5 ± 2.2 vs 4.2 ± 2.0%; F1=19.82, p <.001) were longer. CONCLUSION: Fast trials resulted in less time spent in the start phase compared to slow trials. The percentage of total throw also varied between fast and slow trials with cocking and acceleration phases taking up larger percentages of time for fast trials. Considering these findings, catchers should focus on decreasing the time of their start phase to optimize their performance.

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