Author Information

Kevin McElwee


Little data have been collected that compare the linear velocity of the ball at release versus the accuracy of the pitch in fast-pitch windmill softball pitching. Previous research suggests that accuracy of a task may decrease as the speed of the task increases. Little research exists that previously compares the speed and accuracy of fastball and change-up pitches in windmill softball pitching. These data may assist the batter in decoding the type of pitch being thrown before the ball is released from the pitcher’s hand. It was hypothesized that the slower change-up pitch might be more accurate and the faster pitch less accurate. Three female subjects (20 ± 1 years old) volunteered to throw ten fastball and ten change-up pitches. Sagittal plane video data were recorded and analyzed with Dartfish Software (v5.5). The accuracy of the pitch, linear ball velocity, elbow and hip angles of the pitcher at ball release, and mean angular shoulder flexion velocity throughout the pitch were measured. Mean elbow angles at release were significantly different (t = 0.03), which suggests that the batter might be able to detect the pitch via elbow mechanics. Mean hip angles were similar and showed no significant difference (t=0.32), which suggests that the batter could not use hip mechanics to decode the pitch. Spearman Rho correlations (n = 30) between linear ball velocity at release and accuracy were not significant (fastball = .20; change-up = -.21); however, the change-up pitch best resembled the speed-accuracy relationship.

Note on the Author

At the time of submission, Kevin McElwee was a senior majoring in Physics at BSU. This research began as an Adrian Tinsley Program (ATP) Semester Research Grant in the Fall of 2010 under the mentorship of Dr. Pamela Russell. His work was presented at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ogden, Utah.

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