The Kinetic Chain…

January 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm 1 comment

What is a kinetic chain?

Basically it’s the connection between the various parts of your body.  Just to help illustrate, take your finger and wiggle it back and forth.  Congratulations you’ve just created a kinetic chain!

So now you guys are asking, why is that a kinetic chain?  Basically think of your finger moving as a flow of energy with a start and an end.  In terms of your body this flow of energy is completely controlled by your nervous system acting upon your bones and muscles.  Your brain wants to move your finger, so it sends a signal along your nervous system that will set off a chain of events within your muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons allowing for the action to be completed.

So in reality everything we do involves some sort of kinetic chain.

What does this have to do with baseball?

The answer is simply everything.  If it’s used in everyday life it’s obviously going to be used in baseball.  So why am I discussing it?  Well I’m here mostly to talk about applying a proper kinetic chain to the pitching motion.  I want to talk about it because the pitcher is probably the most important position on the field.

Now I’m not gonna talk about every single step involved in making a good pitch.  I will outline the greater points.

  1. It starts with the legs. Some people wonder why pitchers do the crazy leg kick (some are legitimately crazy at that) at the beginning of the windup.  Well it has two important roles for the pitcher.  First it helps establish proper timing.  In other words, when my leg is here my hands, arms, etc…should be here.  Secondly it sets off the kinetic chain by shifting the bodies weight forward towards home plate.  Really if you don’t do this, you’ll be bouncing a pitch for sure.  On top of this the plant foot should land bent and than restraigten as the body continues to move forward.  Landing on a straight leg or not restraigtening the leg pretty much stops the chain.
  2. Next comes the hips.  The the hips should rotate before the shoulders in the kinetic chain.  This creates a sort of “whipping” motion with the throwing arm that helps generate more velocity.  Proper hip rotation is always essential.  Not properly moving the hips (or doing anything before this point improperly for that matter) causes the body to need to over strain other parts of the body to make up for lost energy.
  3. The arm and hand are the last things to go. Everything you’ve done to this point is about transferring kinetic energy into you arm and hand so that a good solid pitch can be made.  Really if you do everything with your legs and hips properly there should be very little use of the arm to make the pitch.

So to link everything together really quick.  The brain says “make the pitch.”  So it sends a signal through the nerves to the feet, where the chain kicks off.  From there various muscles and bones move beginning with the legs, than the hips, through the torso, into the shoulder, and eventually into your arms and thus your fingertips where all that energy is transferred to the baseball.  Than the baseball ends up flying through the air hitting Nick Punto in the ribs (HAHA TAKE THAT NICK PUNTO).

Again, why is this important?

Well its the threat of injury that makes proper technique important.  If it hurts to bend your knee, you use your back more to pick things up.  But if you’ve always just used your back to pick stuff up (improper lifting technique by the way) than you’ll just end up hurting your back.  Basically you use other parts of your body more than necessary when improper technique is used.  Overusing parts of your body can cause injury.  But if you properly distribute the work load through out the body to the parts designed to handle the needed effort than injury can be avoided.  This is why an injury should never be played through by a pitcher.  The violence and shear energy generated by the motion can cause a greater injury than the one being played through.  Such as if a pitcher slightly tweaks a hip.  To make up for lost strength in that muscle the pitcher will use other parts of the body more than necessary, increasing risk for greater injury or multiple ones.

So to wrap it all up…

Kinetic chains are the reason why technique in not only pitching, but everyday life is important.  Improper energy transfers through the body can put too much strain on parts of the body and thus cause an injury that may not have happened other wise.


Entry filed under: Terminology.

All Sorts of Goofy: Max Scherzer A Breakdown: Phil Coke

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed



%d bloggers like this: