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DEVELOPING BETTER ATHLETES ONE STRIDE AT A TIME

When looking at the principle of angular motion, it is important to have a solid understanding of several other biomechanics terms.
• Angular Velocity = change in angular position (or displacement) / change in time
• Torque = Force X Distance (perpendicular)

In order to generate angular motion, a force must be applied onto an object acting a certain distance away from the object. As a result, in order to increase the torque, an athlete can either increase the force which they are applying to an object or apply this force further away from their axis of rotation.

A classic example of angular motion is the throwing arm of a baseball pitcher. Professional baseball players are able to generate extremely high angular velocities in their throwing shoulder (specifically internal rotation of the pitching arm) which increases the linear velocity of the ball coming out of the hand. If you consider the baseball pitcher as an example and use the pitchers spine as their axis of rotation and the perpendicular distance from the ball to the axis of rotation as their distance, you will be able to determine ways to increase the linear velocity of the ball at release. A pitcher can produce a larger torque by applying a larger force or by moving this ball further away from the axis of rotation. Unfortunately, this example is not a simple as we just described it, but it does give you a valuable reference point. For a pitcher to truly increase the velocity of the ball at release, they need to factor in nearly every biomechanical principle we have talked about to date. Specifically, the pitcher needs to emphasize the principles which help to produce maximum effort or force (principles #2 and #3) as well as the principles which apply to linear motion (principles #4 and #5). Throwing a baseball requires full body mechanics and factors in linear and angular movements as well as the importance of proper sequencing of these movements.

Thanks,
Brian Shackel, MSc