Energy flow through the lower extremities in high school baseball pitching

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It is generally accepted that most of the energy transferred to the ball during a baseball pitch is generated in the trunk and lower extremities. Therefore, purpose of this study was to assess the energy flow through the lower extremities during a baseball pitch. It was hypothesised that the (stabilising) leading leg mainly transfers energy in a distal-to-proximal order as a kinetic chain while the (driving) trailing leg generates most energy, primarily at the hip. A joint power analysis was used to determine the rates of energy (power) transfer and generation in the ankles, knees, hips and lumbosacral joint (L5-S1) for 22 youth pitchers. Analyses showed that the leading leg mainly transfers energy upwards in a distal-to-proximal order just before stride foot contact. Furthermore, energy generation was higher in the trailing leg and primarily arose from the trailing hip. In conclusion, the legs contribute differently to the energy flow where the leading leg acts as an initial kinetic chain component and the trailing leg drives the pitch by generating energy. The actions of both legs are combined in the pelvis and passed on to the subsequent, more commonly discussed, open kinetic chain starting at L5-S1.