Inside Pitch Magazine, November/December 2023

Quick Pitch: Pitching Biomechanics Book Review

by Dave Wallace, Former Major League pitcher, pitching coach and front office executive

Image of the book Pitching BiomechanicsMy first experience with Bio Kinetics was on the field back in the late 1990s. Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver and I were all intrigued observers, to say the least, while watching their analysis process play out. Having the good fortune of learning from Dodger greats such as Koufax and Johnny Podres, it was exciting for us to see the core pitching concepts we had been discussing for years, validated and explained through the Bio Kinetics analysis process.

Recently I visited the Bio Kinetics lab in person for a first-hand look at the extensive database of information used in creating this publication. My biggest question was, “Why are we seeing such an increase in injuries to pitchers, especially since the workloads are down? After all, aren’t today’s athletes bigger and stronger and have access to the best training and information available?” What I learned from that visit really opened my eyes to the difference between hype and fact-based research.

They shared several 3D pitching motion analyses on past and present elite Major League pitchers. I can tell you from personal experience that the information contained in this book is second to none. The possibilities for this type of unbiased motion analysis to create a competitive advantage is unlike any other that I have seen for both performance enhancement, and especially for injury prevention.

This book—along with my trip to their lab—convinced me that Bio Kinetics’ approach allows them to speak with authority on the subject of pitching mechanics, and has enabled them to make novel contributions to both training and injury prevention. Having pioneered the use of biomechanics in baseball (the first three-dimensional computerized motion analysis system for live performance), they have devoted almost 40 years to studying the pitching delivery, including many of the greatest pitchers of all time. 

Their database was not created by simulation in a lab, but rather using high-speed, calibrated, multi-camera recordings of Major League pitchers during live competition. They transformed film and video movement sequences into three-dimensional computer models to accurately depict every detail of the pitching motion. The next step was to apply inverse dynamics to gain an understanding of the actual joint forces and torques experienced by a pitcher. Finally, they worked with players from elite Major Leaguers to young pitchers just starting out to apply this valuable knowledge. Along the way, they learned how to communicate the complexity of pitching mechanics in simple terms that everyone can understand, to improve performance and reduce risk of injury. 

This book is organized to mirror their biomechanical reports, which means the readers who are wishing to understand specific aspects of the pitching motion, pitching training, pitch design, strength and conditioning or the mental aspect of pitching can focus on any or all of those aspects. And while there are many who study pitching mechanics, Bio Kinetics has taken the next step, combining an outstanding performance database with proven on-field approaches to in-season and off-season training. This makes them uniquely suited to author a book on pitching biomechanics that can truly benefit players of all ages.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.