The effect of pitch type on ground reaction forces in the baseball swing

Dave Fortenbaugh, Glenn Fleisig, Arzu Onar-Thomas, Shihab Asfour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Coaches have identified the batter's weight shift as a critical component for promoting proper timing and balance in a baseball swing. Analysing the weight shift through maximum horizontal (Fx) and vertical (Fz) ground reaction forces (GRFs) of professional batters (N = 29; height = 185 ± 6 cm; mass = 92 ± 9 kg), the purpose of this study was to compare GRFs among swings against fastballs and changeups. General linear models were used to compare three conditions of interest: successful results against fastballs, successful results against changeups, and unsuccessful results against changeups. Batters had a similar loading mechanism and initial weight transfer from back foot to front foot regardless of pitch type, but peak front foot GRFx and GRFz occurred with significantly different magnitudes and at significantly different times, depending on the pitch type and hit result. Peak front foot GRFs were greater for successful swings against fastballs compared to both successful and unsuccessful swings against changeups. Peak front foot GRFs of unsuccessful swings against changeups occurred, on average, 15-20 ms earlier than successful swings against changeups and 30-35 ms earlier than successful swings against fastballs, quantifying how a changeup can disrupt the coordination of a hitter's weight shift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-279
Number of pages10
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • changeup
  • fastball
  • Hitting
  • timing
  • weight shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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