Rotational Power Ball Throw

The Rotational Power Ball Throw involves throwing a Power Ball across the chest for maximum distance. It is one of the tests of the SPARQ rating system for baseball and hockey, and the SPARQ protocol is listed here. For baseball players, it simulates the rotational core movement common to the sport.

purpose: This test measures core strength and total body power.

equipment required: 2 or 3 kg power ball (baseball uses a 3kg ball, fastpitch uses a 2 kg ball), tape measure, clear open area for testing.

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender and test conditions. Check the weight of the ball. The start line should be clearly marked. Perform a standard warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: The athlete starts by standing perpendicular to the start line (such as in a pitching or hitting stance). The ball is held in both hands with the back hand on the back of the ball and your front hand under the ball. The ball is drawn back, with only a slight bend at the elbows allowed, keeping the ball between the waist and chest. Then in one motion the ball is flung up and forward (optimally at a 45 degree angle). Several practices may be required to get the best trajectory for maximum distance. The athlete is permitted to fall forward over the line after the ball is released, and is in fact encouraged to do so in maximizing the distance of the throw. Three attempts are allowed.

scoring: The distance from the starting line to where the ball first lands is recorded. The measurement is recorded to the nearest foot. The best result of three throws is recorded.

results: US Decathlete Bryan Clay achieved 60 ft 0 in in this test during a SPARQ testing exercise (published in SPARQ Magazine, Summer 2008).

target population: baseball, fastpitch, and other sports in which upper body strength is important, such as rowing, tennis, javelin throwing.

advantages: this test is easy and quick to perform for an individual, with the equipment required relatively cheap.

disadvantages: several people are needed to conduct this test smoothly: one to mark results, another to check technique and another to collect and return the balls. If testing a large group of subjects, it can be time consuming to put all of them through this test.

comments: The angle the ball is thrown is important. You may want to explain to the subject about the optimal angle for maximal distance, and to allow some practice attempts.

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