Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Michelle A Sandrey

Committee Co-Chair

Emidio E Pistilli

Committee Member

Drue T Stapleton


Context: Functional training for overhead throwing in softball is an area that has yet to be explored in research. Despite inclusion of functional training in current rehabilitation and strength and conditioning programs, few studies have examined the implementation of progressions, and the benefits therein. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a functional training program on performance outcomes. Design: This study was a 2 x 2 factorial design with group (experimental and control) and time (pre and post). This was a case control repeated measures design. The dependent variables are the functional training performance index, closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test, joint position test, and throwing velocity test. Setting: NCAA Division III college in western Pennsylvania. Patients and Other Participants: Experimental subjects consisted of 21 healthy female softball athletes from a Division III collegiate setting. There were 11 subjects in the experimental group and 10 subjects in the control group. Subjects were put into groups using stratified randomization. Stratification was based on position of infield, outfield, catchers, and pitchers. Inclusion criteria were: healthy subjects who have not had shoulder, hip, or abdomen surgery within the year and have not had a shoulder, hip, or abdominal injury in the past six months. Exclusion criteria included those who have had shoulder, hip or abdominal surgery within the past year and those who have had a shoulder, hip or abdominal injury within the past six months. Interventions: Those that received functional training completed a six week functional training progression aimed at improving throwing accuracy, throwing velocity, and proprioception. Pre and post-test measurements for throwing accuracy using the functional throwing performance index, upper extremity proprioception using the closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test and joint position sense, and upper extremity power using the throwing velocity test were conducted following a six week functional training progression. The progression was administered twice a week for an average of 30 minutes each session. The kinetic chain progression of exercises were advanced from week to week and incorporated open kinetic chain exercises, closed kinetic chain exercises, plyometric exercises, and functional exercises. Main Outcome Measures: The dependent variables were average index scores from the functional training performance index, average throwing velocity, average absolute total error measured by the joint position test, and average number of touches from the closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test. Results: Joint position sense testing showed no significant interaction, time, arm or group outcomes. No measure exceeded the minimal detectable change. Throwing accuracy testing showed a significant group interaction (P=0.033). There was a large effect size between groups (ES=-1.02) in favor of the experimental group. The experimental group exceeded the minimal detectable change for throwing velocity. The closed kinetic chain upper extremity stability test showed a significant difference from pre to post test (P=0.002), and both the control and experimental group exceeded the minimal detectable change. Conclusion: A multi-segment training program may be used to improve throwing velocity and throwing accuracy. The trend of the data is consistent with the hypotheses, and the results support its use in the clinical setting. This program has shown that it can be implemented into the clinical setting. Further research is warranted to ascertain the efficacy of functional training among a larger population.