The Relationship Between Trunk Rotation, Upper Quarter Dynamic Stability, and Pitch Velocity

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Abstract

Bullock, GS, Schmitt, AC, Chasse, PM, Little, BA, Diehl, LH, and Butler, RJ. The relationship between trunk rotation, upper quarter dynamic stability, and pitch velocity. J Strength Cond Res 32(1): 261–266, 2018—Understanding the relationship between upper quarter mobility, dynamic stability, and pitching velocity may be beneficial in elucidating underlying factors that affect pitching performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate upper trunk rotation mobility and upper quarter dynamic stability and their correlation to pitch velocity in NCAA Division I collegiate pitchers. We hypothesized that collegiate pitchers with greater upper trunk rotation mobility and upper extremity dynamic stability would exhibit higher pitching velocity. Trunk rotation and the Upper Quarter Y-Balance Test (YBT-UQ) were measured using standardized protocols. Collegiate pitchers (N = 30) then proceeded to complete their team prescribed dynamic and throwing warm-up followed by a pitching session from regulation distance at 100% effort. Each pitch was recorded for velocity and pitch type, only fastballs were used in analysis. The relationships between trunk rotation and fastball velocity, and YBT-UQ scores and fastball velocity were assessed using a series of 2-tail Pearson's correlations (p < 0.05). Throwing and nonthrowing sides (69.6 ± 9.5°, 70.7 ± 9.4°) had similar trunk rotation mobility. No statistically significant correlation between upper trunk rotation mobility and pitch velocity was found (throwing arm: r = 0.131; p < 0.491; nonthrowing arm: r = 0.135; p < 0.478). There was also no correlation between the YBT-UQ and fastball velocity. In this study of Division I baseball pitchers, we found no relationship between trunk rotational mobility, upper quarter dynamic stability, and pitching velocity. This suggests that increased upper extremity stability and trunk mobility are not directly related to fastball velocity. Understanding factors that associate to velocity may be helpful in predicting pitching performance.

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