The Development of a Novel Pitching Assessment Tool
Posture based ergonomic assessment tools are widely used to evaluate posture and injury risk for many workplace/occupational tasks. To date, there is no validated equivalent that can be used to assess the posture of a pitcher during baseball pitching. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop an inexpensive tool which can allow for the rapid assessment of a pitcher’s posture at lead foot strike, and establish the inter- and intra- rater reliability of the tool. For this study, 11 participants threw 30 pitches (15 fastballs, 15 curveballs) off an indoor pitching. Full body 3D kinematics were measured using reflective markers attached to anatomical landmarks and rigid bodies attached to body segments using a 10-camera Vicon Motion Capture system along with two high-speed video cameras (rear and side view) to record each pitch during the experimental trials. The kinematic data was analyzed, after which the highest velocity fastball of each of the 11 pitchers was selected for further analysis. A Pitching Mechanics Tool was designed to evaluate 16 different parameters at lead foot strike. Each of the 16 parameters had posture ranges or categories established based on scientific literature. Six evaluators with at least five years of experience working with adult pitchers completed the Pitching Mechanics Tool. Findings showed moderate to good levels of repeatability across multiple sessions as well as across multiple evaluators. Additionally, PMT results suggested that 2D qualitative analysis is a viable alternative to 3D motion capture.