To determine whether increasing pitching distance for adult baseball pitchers would
affect their upper extremity kinetics, full-body kinematics, and pitched ball kinematics
(ball velocity, duration of ball flight, vertical and horizontal break, strike percentage).
Controlled laboratory study.
Twenty-six collegiate baseball pitchers threw sets of five full-effort fastballs from
three different pitching distances (18.44 m, 19.05 m, 19.41 m) in a randomized order. Ball velocity, horizontal and vertical break, duration of
ball flight, and strike percentage were computed by a ball tracking system, while
pitching kinetics and kinematics were calculated with a 12-camera optical motion capture
system. Repeated measures analysis of variance was utilized to detect significant
differences among the three different pitching distances (p < 0.05).
No significant differences in pitching kinetics and kinematics were observed among
the varying pitching distances. Ball velocity and strike percentage were also not
significantly different among the pitching distances, however, the duration of ball
flight and horizontal and vertical break significantly increased with pitching distance.
Increasing pitching distance may not alter upper extremity kinetics, full-body kinematics,
ball velocity or strike percentage in adult pitchers. However, as pitching distance
increases the duration of ball flight and amount of horizontal and vertical break
also increase. Increased ball flight duration could be an advantage for the hitter
while increased ball break could help the pitcher. In conclusion, it is unlikely that
moving the mound backwards would significantly affect pitching biomechanics and injury
risk; however, the effects on pitching and hitting performance are unknown.