Nathan Iskowitz

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Successful pitching in baseball may be due to several factors including the mechanics of the motion, the strength, power, flexibility of the athlete, as well as their intent and fatigue levels. The pitching motion is a very powerful, violent, complex and abnormal range of motion of the body. In recent studies, it has been widely evidenced that the ability to produce instantaneous high peak force outputs is related to success in sport. Therefore, the ability to produce higher peak force may be related to the ability to pitching in baseball. Mouthguards have been shown to significantly increase power production in several dynamic exercise movements. The purpose of this study was to determine if maximal and average pitching velocity could be increased when wearing a mouthguard. Twenty-two male collegiate baseball pitchers participated in this study (age: 19.9 years old ± 1.4 years, body mass: 87.1 Kg ± 11.6 Kg, body height: 182.5 cm ± 6.1 cm). All study participants were competitive athletes at the NCAA Division 1, Division 3, or University Varsity Club level. Pitching velocity changes resulted in a mean increase of 0.732 km/h for all groups. Velocity change for each level tested resulted in mean increases of 1.652, 0.402, and 0.370 km/h for the university club, Division 3 and Division 1 levels, respectively. The results of a paired samples t-test analysis showed that there was a statistically significant improvement when using a mouthguard in pitching velocity across all groups combined; t (109) = 2.958, p = 0.004. Further, university club level pitchers experienced a statistically significant improvement; t(29) = 5.972, p = 0.000; while Division 3; t(39) = 0.772, p = 0.445; and Division 1; t(39) = 1.014, p = 0.317; players did not show a statistically significant improvement with the mouthguard. The authors found that a mouthguard may improve throwing velocity in male collegiate baseball athletes. These findings could be useful to both coaches and sport performance specialists that are working with pitchers to bring about increases in power output and subsequent increases in pitching velocity, simply by implementing the use of a mouthguard.


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robert Blaisdell



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