Excited to announce the launch of our online course series that’s aimed to build mastery on the topic of arm care. It will dive deep into the stress and loads of pitching, show coaches and trainers how to assess strength data on players, and create a structure for building a high-level training plan.
Additionally, we’re not too far off from adding another measurement that will alert coaches when to intervene in a game and inform medical staff members early about what therapy and recovery approach to take based on in-game strength changes.
Currently, the app uses isometric strength to assess fatigue and stress to a pitcher. The evidence shows that isometric strength significantly decreases after acute bouts of eccentric exercise, as throwing can be considered an extreme form of eccentric overloading of tissues (ref).
However, the effects on the rate of force development last longer and can be sensitive over a series of days. Mathematically, the rate of force development is the amount of force produced per second. Or for throwing, the rate of torque development or RTD, which is or rate of angular force applied per second, is more meaningful as rotational forces at the shoulder and elbow accelerate the arm toward the home plate.
We have discussed before that higher-level pitchers have greater RTD capacity in accelerating the throwing arm. Impaired RTD is likely more severe for higher velocity throwers as they tend to have more significant tensile stress and greater deficits in velocity and tolerance to loading.
One of the issues with reduced RTD is that biomechanical compensations may take place to increase arm speed from rotational momentum (ref).
This is tied to greater rotational velocity of the trunk and an increase in side tilt, which is typically seen when fatigued. Trunk compensations to promote ball speed can further increase load to the throwing arm caused by arm lag, and therefore, lowered RTD capacity may contribute to throwing arm injury.
We are in the process of building rate of torque development into our app so that we can begin to examine its implications on performance and arm health. As the research suggests, impairments in RTD can last up to 2 days (ref), which makes it a solid metric to explore between a competitive outing and the next bullpen. We currently have isometric testing on high intensity throwing days and post-testing that allow coaches and players to utilize strength losses to adjust bullpen, game, and velo day schedules, along with helping to guide recovery approaches.
Once RTD is available using our app, we will have a much more substantial perspective of how arm speed is affected and offer another layer of information to determine muscle damage and inflammatory effects.
Stay tuned to more advancements coming down the pipeline, and get on board with our new features that are already available to boost your player development programs.