TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute | Project FASTBALL measures Rick van den Hurk
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Project FASTBALL measures Rick van den Hurk

25 Jan Project FASTBALL measures Rick van den Hurk

Yesterday, the 24th of January 2017, Rick van den Hurk, player at Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (Japan) and the Dutch Royal Baseball Team, participated in the research project FASTBALL. Project FASTBALL’ is a STW funded project at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Delft University of Technology, in cooperation with the fysiopractices ManualFysion, Medicort, de Bergman kliniek and Motekforce Link. Rick played in the Major League for the Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2013, he decided to move to Korea and started playing for the Lions, where, in 2014, he managed to score the lowest ERA (3.18) and the highest amount of strike outs (180) in the entire competition. In 2015, he switched to a top team in Japan, where he immediately became champion of the NPB. In the Japan Series (the final series) ‘Vandy’ received the outstanding player award.

This winter, Rick is training with the Dutch team in preparations of the WBC, to be held in March of this year. He is currently collaborating with the strength coach of the Royal Dutch Baseball Federation (KNBSB), Paul Venner, to start the new season in optimal condition. The collaboration between the KNBSB and the VU resulted in the opportunity to test the Dutch team at the VU in Amsterdam.

The research project ‘FASTBALL’ (www.pitchscience.nl) is a collaboration between the ‘Vrije Universiteit’, ‘TU Delft’ and the ‘KNBSB’ and has been tracking the Dutch team since 2012. The main goal of the research is to learn the younger players to pitch harder, for which we perform research on the ideal pitching technique and the optimal way of coaching during trainings. The secondary aim is to prevent common injuries among pitchers.

By measuring Rick, we gained insights into the pitching technique of an absolute top athlete. Measurements were taken with regard to the push off and landing of the legs and calculations were made with regard to the power flow between different segments – in particular the forces between shoulder and elbow. The results of the test can help Rick train even more precise, while also aiding the Dutch youngsters in becoming as good as one of Holland’s top pitchers.

For more information (in Dutch), see: pitchscience.nl