Monday, December 22, 2014

Bridging the Gap - Playing Inner City Baseball

Baseball Beyond Borders 2014 Annual Film: Bridging the Gap

Baseball is a beautiful game. It teaches you a lot about life.EC Parker, coach

Watch the cameo appearance 
by switch pitcher Henry Knight - throwing long toss.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Top High School Switch Pitchers 2015

Ambidextrous Pitchers - Class of 2015

Switch Pitcher Henry Knight, Franklin HS, Seattle
The Class of 2015 has only a handful of ambidextrous pitchers, but they are very talented – with the skills to play multiple positions. One ambi fielder has played every position for the varsity team. Plus, most of the ambidextrous players are solid hitters, which is becoming a trademark.

This list highlights the top ambidextrous high school baseball players from the class of 2015. Sorted by last name.


Cole Critchfield (2015) - Star Valley High School, Afton, Wyoming

Cole Critchfield is a 6'2" athlete who plays basketball and baseball. In the summer, he plays P, 1B, and OF for the Jackson Giants of the American Legion.


Tyler Hopman (2015) - Old Bridge, New Jersey

Tyler Hopman
Tyler Hopman is a 6'4" switch pitcher who plays for Old Bridge High School Knights in New Jersey. In an interview, he said that he feels a lot stronger throwing lefty.

When not pitching, Hopman plays center field right-handed. He bats exclusively from the left side.
Kurt Johnson (2015) - Royal High School, Simi Valley, California

Kurt Johnson is a 6'1" ambidextrous thrower who plays 1B and Pitcher. Johnson is listed as a BHP on Perfect Game, with an 80 mph fastball (2013). 
College commitment: Sacramento State as a LHP.


Henry Knight (2015) - Franklin High School, Seattle, Washington

Henry Knight is a switch hitter and ambidextrous pitcher who has played every  position in high school. He served as a relief pitcher and closer in his third year on varsity. 

As a switch hitter, he posted a 10-game hitting streak with a .640 OBP. In the past 4 years, he hit over .500 in summer ball.

Henry Knight warming up to switch pitch in a summer game
During the summer, Knight played shortstop, second base, catcher and pitcher for the Columbia City Reds in Seattle. He posted a 0.875 ERA as a closer - helping the Reds team to a 3rd place finish in the Mickey Mantle state tournament.

Knight threw 94 strikes over 11 innings in a summer game as the starting switch pitcher. He held the hard hitting Seattle Select team scoreless over the final nine innings in 90 degree heat.


Brett Kolacki (2015) - Bremen High School, Midlothian, Illinois

Kolacki is a 6'5" ambidextrous pitcher at Bremen High School. Kolacki throws about the same speed with both arms (75-76 mph). As a junior, he posted 46 strikeouts in 46.2 IP. He plays OF/INF and bats right-handed.


High School Switch Pitchers >>


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Weighted Ball Program for a High School Pitcher

Why use weighted balls?

Weighted implement training is a proven way to increase arm strength and throwing velocity. Many college baseball teams use weighted ball programs to prevent arm injuries and add velocity. Now elite high school players are learning how to safely train with weighted balls to become stronger and healthier throwers.

Average high school pitchers who do regular workouts – using overload-underload training – can increase their throwing velocity by 5 mph in six weeks.

This 2 minute video highlights a few exercises to build strength in the arms, shoulders and back. This was the first training session for Henry Knight – a switch pitcher – who does equal reps with both arms.

Strengthening the decelerating muscles will improve your ability to accelerate a baseball.

Switch pitcher weighted ball workout. 
Over six months, Knight gained strength and velocity – with both arms – after training with exercise bands, weighted balls, and wrist weights. 

Weighted balls work! 
Knight gained 5+ mph in velocity over the first six weeks with both arms.

Note: His height and weight remained constant, so the significant velocity gain can be attributed to the daily workout routine.

Setting goalsIn order to improve, it's a good idea to set goals and evaluate your progress. Knight's goal is to strengthen his rotator cuff to prevent arm injury – while increasing throwing velocity and command.  

The basic concept of the weighted ball training program is to strengthen the decelerator muscles and stabilize the shoulder joint. Pitchers will develop a "feel" for throwing while  improving their arm motion and mechanical efficiency.

At Driveline Baseball, each pitcher uses a personalized workout routine in the MaxVelo Program. Pitchers from Oregon State University use a version of this workout routine and several college and pro pitchers train at Driveline in the off-season.

There is no shortcut to increase throwing velocity. The typical workout takes 1 hour x 4 sessions a week. Plus, all the pitchers do long toss twice a week.

Weighted Baseball Training Programs >>

Ballistic Training Methods for Pitchers

Request a free Weighted Baseball Program eBook >>



by Duggan Moran, Crossover Symmetry

The decelerating muscles of your arm, the brakes for your arm, need to be the primary focus for all ball players. The latest research shows that strengthening these vital decelerating muscles in the preseason will protect your arm from injury as well as increase your throwing velocity.

Hacking your Arm Action: A hidden power of overload training by Ben Brewster

Some Perspective – Just a training tool
Weighted balls are just another training tool to use, just like long toss. There are hall-of-fame pitchers that loved long toss, just as there are hall of fame pitchers that never threw a ball over 60 feet in catch play. It’s about what training tools and techniques produce the desired level of performance. For those of us who can’t just roll out of bed and chuck a ball 90 miles-per-hour, it’s always worth keeping an open but critical mind of whatever possible tools may best help you achieve your end goal. 

Velocity Development Program (MaxVelo) Study Data and Conclusions
by Kyle Boddy, Driveline Baseball

Overload-Underload Training for Baseball
by Jon Davis, CSCS

Pitching Workouts by Steven Ellis

Strength Ratio Between Internal and External Rotators Defined
by Jim Moran, PT, Shoulder Specialist

Training with Weighted Balls to Improve Throwing Velocity
by Bobby Congalton

Janssen sings praises of weighted-ball program |
By Gregor Chisholm /

Tom House's Velocity Plus Program will be a gamechanger in multiple sports
By Adam Revelette


Bagonzi, J. A. 1978:  The Effects of Graded Weighted Baseballs, Free Weight Training, and Simulative Isometric Exercise on the Velocity of a Thrown Baseball.  Master's thesis, Indiana University.

Coop DeRenne, Kwok Ho and Alan Blitzblau. 1990: Effects of Weighted Implement Training on Throwing Velocity. The Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, 4, 16-19.

Rotator Cuff Tutorial - Anatomy
3D anatomy tutorial on the rotator cuff (YouTube)