ABBS State of the Society

What a dull year 2020 has been. Nothing unusual.

We all wish that were the case, but of course Covid-19 turned our world upside down. I hope you and your family are doing well this holiday season. Here’s wishing for a better year in 2021 for us all. The purpose of this email is to share the first annual State of the Society with you for the American Baseball Biomechanics Society (ABBS). Specifically, I will share some highlights of 2020 and vision for 2021.

With the growth of biomechanics in baseball, I emailed an interest form in January 2020 to biomechanists involved with baseball. Dozens of people expressed interest in joining a society, including 11 who showed strong interest in creating the society. A founding group was formed comprised of these 11 biomechanists: Anthony Brady, Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Ben Hansen, Dr. Bryson Nakamura, Dr. Gretchen Oliver, Dr. Hillary Plummer, Dr. Robert Shapiro, Dr. Jonathan Slowik, Dr. Matt Solomito, Ethan Stewart, and Megan Stewart. During the next few months, this founding group created the society’s name (American Baseball Biomechanics Society), logo, bylawswebsite, and Facebook page. The society also applied for and received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS.

The founding group assumed the positions as the Board of Directors in accordance with the bylaws. Glenn Fleisig (President), Gretchen Oliver (Treasurer), Hillary Plummer (Secretary General), Megan Stewart (Vice President of Social Media), and Bryson Nakamura (Vice President of Conferences) were set as the society’s officers. The Board decided to set society membership as free without dues for the first year. Eleven companies provided financial support as founding sponsors: DARI Motion (title sponsor), KinaTraxBertecQualisysAMTIViconDriveline BaseballRapsodoDiamond KineticsProPlayAI, and SMT.

Thanks to the ABBS social media committee, we now have over 1,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram. If you are not yet following ABBS, we encourage you to do so. If you have something you would like tweeted or retweeted by ABBS, tag ABBS or contact Megan Stewart.

The inaugural ABBS conference was held online in July, thanks to the hard work of the board and particularly the conference committee. 949 people registered. This three-day event featured presentations on broad topics like technology and careers in baseball biomechanics and specific studies such as the kinetics of pitching and hitting. Videos of all presentations are archived to view.

By August, ABBS had 150 members. The first annual business meeting for ABBS was held online in August, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. The bylaws were ratified and the acting executives and directors were officially elected. A call for two more directors was announced and 10 members were nominated in the nomination period. An election was held online and Dr. Kristen Nicholson and Dr. Ming-Sheng (Matt) Chan were elected onto the board.

baseball biomechanics career board has now been created. If you have a job, internship, academic position, or other opportunity, please post it on this board. This board is specifically for baseball biomechanics positions with MLB organizations, universities, technology companies, institutions, and others.

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Borrowing a biomechanics term, we plan to carry our momentum forward into early 2021. ABBS has partnered with a number of other societies with upcoming meetings. In January, the ASMI Injuries in Baseball Course will include an “ABBS Challenge” with a panel of ABBS members analyzing and discussing the biomechanics of sample baseball pitchers. In February, ABBS will host a baseball biomechanics session as part of the mid-year symposium for the International Society of Biomechanics in Sports. In March, ABBS will host a panel on baseball biomechanics in Major League Baseball at the SABR Analytics Conference. More courses and events will follow during the year for ABBS, alone and with other organizations. In addition, ABBS social media and career board should strengthen the bonds within our community.

So as you can see, it’s been a remarkable first year for ABBS. Biomechanics is becoming more and more vital for baseball players and organizations to maximize performance and minimize the risk of injury, and we look forward to working with you to improve our great game.

Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D.

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