Thursday, August 22, 2013

The importance of proper biomechanics

In sport and exercise, biomechanics refers to the study of human movements, including the interaction between the athlete, sport equipment and the exercise environment.  Athletes are always trying to find ways to get faster, higher and stronger with minimal injuries. Improving your biomechanics may be one important way of enhancing your athletic performance, minimizing injuries and in turn, promoting career longevity.

In the example of baseball, understanding the proper biomechanics of pitching is one of the critical factors in establishing whether a pitcher is major or minor league material. Of course, there are other parameters used to measure a person's ability to pitch in the majors, but having proper form and good technique helps. Having a potent fastball, a deceptive change up and a wicked curveball must be learned - therefore, developing the right mechanics early on to deliver these pitches makes a big difference. A pitcher must also consider his health relative to his chosen art. Throwing a 160km fastball is an incredible feat, but one that is very hard on your body over time.

Learning proper mechanics to throw a fastball, beginning with the wind-up stage and culminating with the follow through stage, is crucial to staying injury free. In addition, developing effective secondary and tertiary pitches can minimize the beating your body takes by diversifying your pitching repertoire, and keeping the fastball pitch counts down. For young pitchers, mastering the proper biomechanics of body movement can go a long way in minimizing the chances of getting injured. The less injury prone a pitcher is, the greater the chances of developing into a major leaguer.

In the case of running, having the proper biomechanics can help improve your running economy by making the runner more efficient since they are using less energy. It also helps minimize imbalances and overuse injuries. The less time you spend on the sideline and more on training and competing the better chances of developing long-term.

Benefits of proper biomechanics
  • Develops efficient movement patterns whether on the field of play or during resistance training
  • Improves sport-specific technique and form to enhance performance and minimize injury
  • Develops proper habits, ensuring that the athlete is able to develop in the long term
Understanding proper sport and exercise movements will allow the participant to be more efficient, technically sound and prone to good habits for long-term development. An athlete who incorporates proper biomechanics ensures that he or she minimizes the risk of becoming injured, enabling them to pursue their potential to its highest level.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Cheung R, Ng G. A systematic review of running shoes and lower leg biomechanics: A possible link with patellofemoral pain syndrome?. International Sportmed Journal. September 2007;8(3):107-116.
2. Elder K. Little League Elbow. Athletic Training & Sports Health Care: The Journal For The Practicing Clinician. May 2010;2(3):100-102.
3. Hurd W, Kaufman K. Glenohumeral Rotational Motion and Strength and Baseball Pitching Biomechanics. Journal Of Athletic Training. May 2012;47(3):247-256.
4. McBain K, Shrier I, Matheson G, et al. Prevention of sports injury I: a systematic review of applied biomechanics and physiology outcomes research. British Journal Of Sports Medicine. March 2012;46(3):169-173.
5. Nessler T, Mokha M. Using Movement Assessment to Improve Performance and Reduce Injury Risk. International Journal Of Athletic Therapy & Training. March 2013;18(2):8-12.
6. Oliver G. The Windmill Softball Pitch: Optimal Mechanics and Pathomechanics of Injury. Athletic Therapy Today. November 2010;15(6):28-31.
7. Silvers H. INJURY PREVENTION IN THE SOCCER ATHLETE. Sportex Medicine. January 2011;(47):14-21. Available from: SPORTDiscus, Ipswich, MA.


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