Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Baseball-specific athleticism, potential, and performance have been difficult to predict. Increased muscle strength and power can increase throwing velocity but the majority of research has focused on the upper body. The present study sought to determine if bilateral or unilateral lower-body field testing correlates with throwing velocity. Baseball throwing velocity scores were correlated to the following tests: medicine ball (MB) scoop toss and squat throw, bilateral and unilateral vertical jumps, single and triple broad jumps, hop and stop in both directions, lateral to medial jumps, 10- and 60-yd sprints, and both left and right single-leg 10-yd hop for speed in 42 college baseball players. A multiple regression analysis (forward method), assessing the relationship between shuffle and stretch throwing velocities and lower-body field test results determined that right-handed throwing velocity from the stretch position was most strongly predicted by lateral to medial jump right (LMJR) and body weight (BW; R2 = 0.322), whereas lateral to medial jump left (LMJL; R2 = 0.688) predicted left stretch throw. Right-handed shuffle throw was most strongly predicted by LMJR and MB scoop (R2 = 0.338), whereas LMJL, BW, and LMJR all contributed to left-handed shuffle throw (R2 = 0.982). Overall, this study found that lateral to medial jumps were consistently correlated with high throwing velocity in each of the throwing techniques, in both left-handed and right-handed throwers. This is the first study to correlate throwing velocity with a unilateral jump in the frontal plane, mimicking the action of the throwing stride.