The Kinematic Sequence and Speed Generation for the Rotary Athlete

14 Jun The Kinematic Sequence and Speed Generation for the Rotary Athlete

In the sports of golf, tennis, baseball, and softball optimal performance is a combination of both skill and the development of specific physical parameters within the kinetic chain to support this athletic skill. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine skill can be defined as the ability of the neuromuscular system to coordinate the kinetic chain to allow for optimal efficiency within the functional movement patterns of the athlete’s chosen sport. In order for athletes, coaches, and sports medicine professionals to understand the skills and what is needed to acquire the physical tools to execute the skills associated with the rotary athlete, understanding the kinematic sequence and biomechanics are necessary.

Through biomechanical studies beginning in the 1980’s in the sport of baseball and progressing through present day a model has been developed to determine the efficiency at which the biomechanics of the in the throwing and hitting motions occur within the human body.

Recognize the goal of the pitcher, golfer, tennis player, or softball hitter is to generate and direct the greatest amount of energy through the body into the bat, ball, club or racquet. This process can be either efficient or inefficient. Obviously, the greater quality and quantity of this energy translation will result in more speed. This speed will be translated by the athlete and correlate to greater pitch velocities, club head speeds, bat speeds, and tennis serves.

Through advancements in the late 1990’s and 2000’s in the golf industry and spearheaded by individuals such as Dr. Phil Cheetham and Dr. Greg Rose a model referred to as the Kinematic Sequence developed. (Rose, Greg, Dr. Titleist Performance Institute Manual, 10) The kinematic sequence allows a viewer to determine the efficiency at which a throwing or striking athlete generates and transfers speed through the body. Determinations of quality of speed and quantity are two components measured with this model.


This information can assist on instructional, player development, and injury prevention components of the rotary athlete. As this model will assist in determining mechanical inefficiencies and physical dysfunctions impeding the athlete from creating quality speed generation and translation.

Studies on the biomechanics and the development of the kinematic sequence provide the following key points about the kinematic sequence. The kinematic sequence indicates the following points:

  • An identical sequence of generating speed and transferring energy through the kinetic chain to the club or bat exists. This sequence is as follows: lower body first, torso second, composite arm third, and club/bat fourth. Any deviation within this sequencing will cause a loss if speed and a decrease in the transfer of energy. For example, the lower body will begin the downswing, followed by the torso, lead arm, and completed when the clubface impacts the ball. If the torso were to precede the lower body in this sequence, the generation of speed and the transfer of energy would be compromised.


  • Each segment of the body (lower body, torso, composite arm) builds upon the previous segment thus increasing speed as it moves up the kinetic chain to the club or bat. For example, speed generated from the lower body is transferred to the torso where the speed is increased from the recruitment of the torso and then again transferred to the lead arm where speed is again increased.


  • Each segment of the kinetic chain (i.e. lower body, torso, composite arm) slows down after energy is transferred to the next segment as it is accelerating further. For example, once the lower body transfers the speed it has developed to the torso, the lower body must slow down for an efficient transfer of energy to occur and for the kinematic sequence to remain intact.


Understanding the kinematic sequence is imperative to the development of a biomechanically sound hitting or throwing motion. The information provided by the kinematic sequence allows us to determine how an athlete generates speeds, what if any segments of the kinetic chain are limiting the transfer of energy in the motion, and what areas require instruction for improvement in the sequencing.

About Performance Coach Sean Cochran: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 12 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame Trevor Hoffman, and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy provides Sean a proven track record of success.  He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renown Titleist Performance Institute.


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