Throwing Arm Position and Injury Risk /
Hitting Aids: Do They Work?
February 14, 2012

(Click here for a 1-page .pdf of the Throwing Arm Position Newsletter)


One of the most common coaching points with young pitchers is to make sure the back elbow is raised when the front foot hits the ground:

Clemens 20Separation


Now a new study presented by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine suggests that trunk position, NOT arm position, is more important in producing elbow stress during the throw.

Previous research by Dr. Michele Sabick suggests that INCREASED SHOULDER TILT, specifically more than 15 degrees, can significantly increase injury risk in the elbow and shoulder.


I emailed Dr. Carl Nissen, MD, the author of the new study, and he agreed:

"I do...agree with Dr. Sabick that more than 15 degrees of [shoulder tilt] will normally result in [increased stress] across the elbow and shoulder."

Dr. Nisson went on to conclude:

"The results of this study suggest that an improperly positioned elbow...is not a factor in increasing injury rates as neither elbow drop nor drag correlated with elbow stress. Elbow drag, however, did correlate with decreased ball velocity demonstrating that elbow position is important for pitcher performance."

So leave throwing arm alone and focus on keeping the shoulders as level as possible to decrease shoulder/elbow stress


Hitting Aids: Do They Really Work?


Nearly all baseball players are familiar with the batting donut used in the on-deck circle that is alleged to increase bat speed: and have now increased in number to include aids like

but do they really work? The latest research says NO.

In this 2011 study:


2011 20Study 20Title


where they found:

no 20statistical 20difference 20in 2010 20aids


but instead recommend a specific weight range to help with bat speed:

Bat 20Velocity 2012 20percent


The same results were also see in softball players in this 2012 study:

2012 20Study 20Title

with NO BENEFIT seen in softball bat speed:

bat 20velocity 20softball 201


whereupon the researchers concluded:

bat 20velocity 20softball

So DON'T waste money on hitting aids. Focus on the bat you use.

Have a Question About This Newsletter?
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Dr. Arnold!