Throwing a football is a highly technical motion. However, there has been relatively little biomechanical analysis performed on that motion. We used a Vicon motion capture system to study the biomechanics of passing a football. We utilized a custom marker set to look at the throwing mechanics of 15 subjects from 7th-12th grade. A subject is covered in reflective markers, according to our model, that a sophisticated camera system translates into 3D coordinates. Each subject performed 3 different throwing routes, to each side of the field, utilizing a different foot pattern for each throw. The routes, and foot patterns were determined by conducting interviews with the players coaches.
In addition to the 3D motion data, we also utilize a number of 6 axis force plates that allow us to measure the dynamic forces, and the distribution of those forces, that are produced in any motion.
We are currently in the process of developing a custom software program to visualize and perform analysis of the throwing motion. The long term goals of this project are to utilize this software program to analyze the progression of the throwing motion for players over years of being developed in a particular system. The hope is that we can use this as a teaching tool where coaches can see the numbers behind what they are teaching to their players and use them to evaluate, compare among players and age groups, and make changes to the mechanics.