Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Shapiro


The biomechanics of the overhead throw has been extensively studied in regards to baseball pitching. However, an understanding of the proper mechanics needed to successfully throw a football has not previously been investigated. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the kinematics, kinetics, and electromyography of the football throws in elite quarterbacks. Three collegiate quarterbacks were evaluated using a multi-camera motion capture system and electromyography electrodes. The results of this study are able to give a breakdown in the types of mechanics needed in each of the phases of the throw. This study demonstrated that during the early cocking phase, most of the movement seen in the upper body occurs in the frontal plane to abduct the shoulder. During the late cocking phase, the shoulder holds a constant abduction angle and begins to externally rotate. The shoulder reaches a value of 117° of external rotation, much less than has previously been reported. During the acceleration phase, the shoulder rapidly internally rotates as well as horizontally adducts. Once the ball is released, the shoulder has to produce large forces and muscle activity to slow down the rotation. These results will be able to give coaches and players a tool for what to look for when evaluating the mechanics of an individual.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Biomechanics Commons