Kinesiology presents research focused on LA Tech baseball team

Summer may be a chance for some to unwind, but it was just a prime opportunity for faculty members from Louisiana Tech’s department of kinesiology to present valuable research to a national audience.

Four faculty members – David Szymanski, Jessica Szymanski, Mu Qiao, Vishesh Singh, and graduate student Devin Cloud – presented two research posters at the National Strength and Conditioning Association National Conference.

“The department of kinesiology faculty and students often collaborate together to conduct large research projects,” David Szymanski said. “We need a large number of people to be as efficient as we can to make the testing run smoothly and accurately.  It takes a lot of practice and coordination to make it all work well. We ultimately conducted more than 20 tests and have more than 100 variables to analyze on the baseball pitchers.”

The research poster, “Correlation of power to fastball velocity of collegiate baseball pitchers” was co-authored by David and Jessica Szymanski, Qiao, and Singh. “Isokinetic shoulder strength profile of collegiate baseball pitchers” was co-authored by David Szymanski, Qiao, Singh, and Cloud.

Szymanski said his research focused on baseball, and he worked with Louisiana Tech coaches and players. Tech head coach Lane Burroughs, associate head coach Mike Silva and Tech’s baseball pitchers, were essential to completing the research, Szymanski said.

“A friend of mine who is the director of performance integration at the Los Angeles Angels baseball team recently told me that he could not believe how much testing we were able to get done at one time,” Szymanski said. “To his knowledge, we recorded more information than any Major League Baseball team has ever done with baseball pitchers.  He also said that he wished that he could be involved with our research because it is so exciting. Hopefully we will be able collaborate with him in the future.”

Szymanski said research like this is important because it can help advance the sport of baseball.

“With all that is going on today with data analytics, research supports decisions that are made at the highest levels,” he said. “If we test and monitor athletes, we have base-line data that can help with rehab as well as training.”

Back at home, Szymanski said it assists with teaching students and potentially bringing in additional money to the department, the college and the university.

“For the department, it makes academic information come alive for students,” he said. “It shows students how to become researcher or appreciate research. It lets students see what their professors do beyond teaching. It provides greater student experiences that will enrich their knowledge and prepare them for their professional career.”

Additionally, research by a department brings recognition to kinesiology and the College of Education, Szymanski said.

“It attracts future students to our department,” he said. “It demonstrates collaboration between academic departments and athletic teams. Conducting research with a university sport team can help the team’s recruiting efforts.”