Physical Assessments for Throwing: Unlock Your Potential, Improve Performance & Avoid Injury

Physical Assessments for Throwing: Unlock Your Potential, Improve Performance & Avoid Injury

The start to improving how an athlete moves, performs or throws; is a detailed and comprehensive physical assessment. The goal of this assessment is to correlate these findings with the biomechanical findings on motion capture or video. Many times larger inefficiencies in movement/mechanics can be partially explained by more segmented and specific factors related to physical limitations. For example, if an athlete has early torso rotation and limited total hip-shoulder dissociation, they may find themselves seeking these compensations due to poor total shoulder external rotation. Therefore, improvement in this “mechanical” flaw would come more from a physical therapy intervention (ie. posterior capsular glides, PROM, lat/sub scap mobility, etc.) than from repeated cuing while throwing the football on the field with minimal results. Sometimes the athlete PHYSICALLY cannot produce the ranges, power, or stability that the skill coach is asking.

Ensuring speedy, efficient and synergistic improvement in throwing performance comes from first performing a detailed athlete and throwing assessment.

Assessment Basics:

  1. Structure & Function (Range of Motion, Isolated Strength)
    1. Range of Motion
      1. Joint Mobility (Bony)
      2. Joint Mobility (Capsular)
      3. Joint Mobility (Tissue)
      4. Tissue Mobility and Muscle Length
      5. PROM vs AROM
    2. Isolated Strength
      1. Force vs. Impulse
      2. End-Range Control
  2. Movement and Motor Control (Mobility, Stability, Motor Control)
    1. Mobility Testing
    2. Stability Testing
    3. “Functional” Movement Patterns
    4. Dynamic Movement Analysis
  3. Physical Characteristics (Strength, Power, Speed)
    1. Strength
    2. Power
    3. Speed
    4. Impulse RFD
    5. Eccentric RFA
    6. Rotational Power
    7. Uni vs. B/L
    8. UE vs. LE
    9. Jump Testing
    10. Throwing Velocity & Spin Rate
  4. Throwing Video Analysis

In future blog posts we will discuss each factor listed above and some options on how an assessment can best be performed, as well as, what to look out for in relation to throwers specifically. If you're not assessing, you're just guessing.

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