A Biomechanical Comparison of the Fastball and Curveball in Adolescent Baseball Pitchers

A Biomechanical Comparison of the Fastball and Curveball in Adolescent Baseball Pitchers

 

 

(Tate et al.; The American Journal of Sports Medicine; May 15, 2009)

 

  • Thirty-three adolescent baseball pitchers with a minimum of 2 years of pitching experience underwent 3-dimensional motion analysis using reflective markers aligned to bony landmarks. After a warm-up, pitchers threw either a fastball or curveball, randomly assigned, from a portable pitching mound until 3 appropriate trials were collected for each pitch technique. Kinematic and kinetic data for the upper extremities, lower extremities, thorax, and pelvis were collected and computed for both pitch types. Statistical analysis included both the paired sample t test and mixed model regression.
  • In general, the moments on the shoulder and elbow were less when throwing a curveball than when throwing fastball. In each comparison, the fastball demonstrated higher moments for each individual pitcher for both joints. The findings based on the kinematic and kinetic data in this study suggest that the rising incidence of shoulder and elbow injuries in pitchers may not be caused by the curveball mechanics. Further evaluation of adolescent and adult baseball pitchers is warranted to help determine and subsequently reduce the risk of injury.