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Pitching Prowess May Start With the Pelvis

Tests involving pro players show that stability equates to success,,

FRIDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Good pelvic control can give pitchers the extra edge they need to rule the mound, say U.S. researchers.

They studied the pelvic control of 24 pitchers, ages 18 to 26, in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and found that those with the most stable pelvis typically had the greatest success.

For the study, the participants wore a device that measured pelvic stability by grading anterior-posterior tilt (from zero to 10 degrees) when the pitchers went from a two-leg to a single-leg pitching stance. The median score was seven degrees.

Pitchers who tilted seven degrees or less during their stance transition had lower opponent batting averages (.244 vs. .290) and allowed fewer hits and walks per inning, the study found.

"Pitchers who had controlled, stable pelvic movement during their throwing process were more dominant against hitters, the study's lead author, Christopher McKenzie, said in a news release from the American College of Sports Medicine. "Pelvic stability tests are relatively easy to perform, so this could be a simple way for coaches and athletic trainers to predict pitchers' quality and success."

Because there were no statistically significant differences in injury rates among the pitchers in the study, it's unclear how pelvic movement affects injury risk, the researchers said.

The findings were presented this week in Seattle at the sports medicine group's annual meeting.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers baseball safety tips.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Sports Medicine, news release, May 27, 2009

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