The study of sports biomechanics is a rapidly developing field that can be used to analyze an athlete’s most critical motions and improve their performance. In the world of baseball, sports biomechanists, scientists dedicated to the field of sports biomechanics, help keep pitchers healthy, optimize pitch performance, and improve a batter’s swing efficiency. Because of their surface-level similarities, the findings of baseball biomechanical studies have been projected onto the sport of women’s fastpitch softball, despite their substantial differences in physiology, field dimensions, pitch delivery, and classifications of hitters. The purpose of this study is to produce a biomechanical analysis unique to women’s fastpitch softball that helps to guide hitters and coaches in optimizing exit velocity, the speed the ball comes off the bat. Data werecollected in two separate experiments in which each batter took 30 at-bats and completed threebroad jumps, vertical jumps, and rotational medicine ball throws. The topfiveexit velocities were recorded and averaged, the furthest distances for broad jump, vertical jump, and rotational medicine ball were kept, and the correlation between these categories were found. Point of impact data was recorded in the second experiment and utilized.Each swing is broken down into seven swing stages and six body sections to complete a more complex analysis. A positive correlation coefficient was reported between both the broad jump and rotational medicine ball throw with exit velocity(r = 0.49 and r = 0.50 respectively). Point of impact was also evaluated, and an inverse relationship between impact height and exit velocity (r = -0.57)was shown. Results indicate the importance of hip and ankle muscle activation in energy production inthe swing as well as the need for further study regarding the influence on point of impact in the swing.
Level of Honors
magna cum laude
Larson, Ceara A., "The Biomechanics of the Softball Swing in Seven Stages: Optimizing Exit Velocity" (2021). Lawrence University Honors Projects. 155.