Birmingham, Alabama, the golf swing and the baseball pitch

What could Birmingham Alabama, the golf swing and the baseball pitch have in common? (Besides yours truly being here temporarily, studying the biomechanics of baseball pitching, that is!)

The golf swing and the baseball pitch have a great deal in common.

In fact the only non-common aspect is that golf is an under-arm movement and the pitch an overhead one.

The ‘top’ of the golfswing could be considered that point when a golfer’s driverhead has reached it’s furthest position from the ball, often well past horizontal. The ‘top’ of the baseball pitch could be considered the time when ‘foot contact’ is made.

After these ‘top’ positions a lot of idiosyncratic movement is made to get to the ‘bottom-line’ position ie. the point at which maximum force must be delivered in the minute fraction of a second of impact/ball-release.

What does it mean to deliver the maximal amount of force in a tiny period of time? Well it means to have maximum power, and impart it to the ball. When there is a lot of translational movement of the body (side-to-side, up-and-down, forwards and backwards) along with the unbending and untwisting of 9 major joints (in simple terms the neck, rest of the spine, the shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, hip, knee and ankle), there is TOO MUCH work to be done in the limited time available.

In both sports a lot of movement from the ‘fake top of backswing movement’ can be cut off, and a new ‘top of backswing movement’ used, which is just enough to deliver power in the forward (targetward direction).

What is the connection of all this with Birmingham? Birmingham is the venue of the American Sports Medicine Institute which permits, each year, a chosen few summer interns to work at their facility and learn about biomechanics of both injury and efficiency of movement. Birmingham is also the venue, next week of the Regions Tradition Championship, a Champions Tour event, which attracts some of the biggest names that one knew so well a few decades ago.