Applying Newton's Laws of Motion to Baseball Pitching

April 7, 2009

The April 2009 edition of Mechanical Engineering magazine profiles Mike Marshall, the former major league baseball hurler who teaches a pitching methodology based on Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion.

Marshall, who played in the major leagues for 14 years and won ’s most prestigious pitching honor, the Cy Young Award in 1974, believes “pitchers of all ages would be very well served by learning and applying the three laws of motion correctly,” says the article in , the flagship publication of ASME.

Proper biomechanics based on Newton’s law of inertia, law of acceleration, and law of reaction, says Marshall, could solve basic flaws in pitching delivery and promote physical health and career longevity. Marshall, the recipient of a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Michigan State University in 1974, believes that traditional pitching methodologies advanced by baseball coaches at all levels contradict the laws of physics.

Marshall applies Newtonian principles to every aspect of a baseball pitcher’s windup, arm and leg movement, delivery and follow-through. Mastery of the three laws, says Marshall, could erase flaws in leg thrust, rotation of the body, release point of the baseball toward home plate, and position of the shoulders, forearm and elbow of the throwing arm.

Marshall’s approach is to reduce “the unnecessary force that bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles must overcome” when a pitcher throws a baseball, according to Mechanical Engineering.

The article concludes: “According to Marshall, the traditional pitching techniques are almost always taught with a minimal understanding of the underlying biomechanics - this practice must be replaced with the vastly increased knowledge and understanding we have acquired through medical science.”

More information: The April 2009 issue of Mechanical Engineering, including the article “Coached by Newton,” is available online at

Source: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Explore further: How pitching changes little leaguers' shoulders

Related Stories

How pitching changes little leaguers' shoulders

October 4, 2007

At this year's Little League World Series, new rules for the first time forced players to limit the number of times pitchers could throw the ball, and coaches had to strategize how pitchers were used more carefully.

Recommended for you

Toyota promises better mileage and ride with Prius hybrid

October 13, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. released details for its fourth-generation Prius on Tuesday, promising that improvements in the battery, engine, wind resistance and weight mean better mileage for the world's top-selling hybrid car.

Facebook to test mobile app shopping tab

October 12, 2015

Facebook said Monday that it will begin testing a shopping tab for its mobile app as it works to ramp up advertising and online commerce offerings.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.