Biomechanical effects of foot placement during pitching

Academic Article


  • Baseball coaches often focus on the landing position of a pitcher’s front foot as a key aspect of mechanics. Furthermore, controversy persists regarding positioning the rear foot on the first base or third base end of the rubber. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of rear and front foot placement on pitching biomechanics. Our hypotheses were that there would be significant kinematic and kinetic differences associated with foot placement. This was a retrospective review including 144 healthy right-handed adult baseball pitchers divided into groups based on their rear and front foot placements: first base open (1B-Open), first base closed (1B-Closed), third base open (3B-Open), and third base closed (3B-Closed). Two-way ANOVAs detected no statistically significant main effects for kinetic variables but several for kinematic variables. Open pitchers had less shoulder abduction at the time of ball release and greater maximum shoulder internal rotation velocity in comparison with closed pitchers. They also had less forearm pronation at the time of ball release and greater maximum elbow extension velocity. Additional statistically significant results were found; however, low effect sizes may lessen the clinical significance of many of the results.
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    Author List

  • Slowik JS; Diffendaffer AZ; Crotin RL; Stewart MS; Hart K; Fleisig GS