Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weighted Baseball Training Programs

Increase Arm Strength and Velocity 
using Weighted Baseballs

Weighted baseball training programs have been shown to increase arm strength and throwing velocity – when done properly by mature players with good throwing mechanics. 

Some programs use overload training with 6 to 9 oz weighted balls. A standard baseball weighs only 5 ounces. 

Other weighted baseball programs also use lighter balls of 3 to 4 ounces – adding an under-load component to the throwing routine.

Long toss and proper warmup is part of most of the weighted baseball throwing programs. The weighted ball is thrown into a net or backstop at 20 to 30 feet, using step-behinds and good throwing mechanics.

Throw Safely

It's very important to have good throwing mechanics prior to starting a weighted baseball program.

Rules to follow:
   1) Never throw a weighted baseball off a mound or with long-toss.
   2) Don't play catch with weighted baseballs.
   3) Follow a proven training program and warm up properly to avoid arm injury.

What Age?

Weighted baseballs can be safely used by advanced High School guys with good mechanics, college and pro players. Do not use weighted baseballs in Little League.

Throw the weighted ball from 20 to 30 feet into a backstop, using step-behinds. Don't try to pitch the ball, just throw it hard using good mechanics.

Note: This is a throwing program, not a pitching program


New eBook from Driveline Baseball

Are you looking for a program that will help you add 2-5 MPH to your fastball? 

You might have read about programs that mention overloading and underloading, but they don’t give enough detail about how to train with weighted baseballs.

The Ballistic Training Methods for PItcher eBook is now available, and it’s completely free!

New Products from Driveline Baseball

Weighted baseball training has been shown to increase fastball velocity in pitchers of all ages, skill levels, and sizes. The set includes a 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 11 oz. ball – color-coded for easy identification.

This rotator cuff exercise program is the key to preventing arm injuries while promoting arm health, strength, endurance and recovery period.

Driveline Velocity Combo Kit!  On Sale!  -  Best Value
This is everything you need to get started on a sport-specific training program to build towards the golden goal: 90 MPH. Includes both the Jaeger Sports Resistance Bands and the Elite Weighted Baseball Set.

A new product, The Dynamic Pitcher, is now available for purchaseThe Dynamic Pitcher is the most complete and concise training book and video set for youth pitchers!


Recommended Reading

For information about using weighted baseballs, please read:

Weighted Baseballs: Safe and Effective, or Stupid and Dangerous?
by Eric Cressey, December 15, 2009

Do you use weighted baseballs?

Yes, with some of our pitchers.  The asterisk that follows this statement is that they’re only implemented with those who have built a decent foundation of strength and mastered the fundamental mechanics of throwing a regular (5oz) baseball.  So, the athletes we have that may be utilizing weighted baseballs are some of our pro guys, college guys, and more advanced high school guys.  It is NOT something I think coaches should just implement on a gross scale with unprepared 13-year-old kids.

Weighted Baseball Training for Pitchers – Overload/Underload Principles
by Kyle Boddy, Driveline Baseball

At Driveline Baseball, we use a lot of training implements for our pitchers. ...
However, a controversial training aid that we use are weighted baseballs.

"Research backs up the use of under/overloading in various forms, and it’s no surprise that it works for baseball pitchers as well. Dr. Coop Derenne is the foremost expert in this field and has published a number of research papers that indicate that weighted baseball training creates a significant increase in velocity for those training with underweighted and overweighted baseballs. His most popular paper is Effects of Under and Overweighted Implement Training on Pitching Velocity, which concludes that training with either underweighted (4 oz) or overweighted (6 oz) baseballs improved pitching velocity when compared to simply throwing normal baseballs."

Read more

4 Great Reasons To Throw Weighted (and Lightweight) Baseballs

Weighted Baseballs
by Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

It seems like every baseball pitching instructor these days is expected to have a view on weighted baseballs.

So here's my take on weighted balls in one (rather long) sentence:

Weighted baseballs, not exceeding 6 ounces, worked for me in my pitching career (I threw 93-95 mph!) and are just one way (of literally dozens) to improve pitching velocity -- but certainly not the only way, or any more important than any other (like simply throwing a baseball the old fashioned way).

(Ellis uses an overload throwing program with baseballs weighing 6-9 ounces.)

Then and Now on Weighted Balls & Long Toss

- Ron Wolforth, Pitching Central |

In 1992, Wolforth stated: 
The use of weighted balls is possibly the worst idea in a long line of bad ideas. The key to velocity and keeping the arm healthy is developing and using 'proper mechanics'. To add weight to poor or marginal mechanics would be ridiculous at best, dangerous at worst.

In 2004, Wolforth said:
Today (April 2004), many consider me an advocate for both the use of weighted balls and extreme long toss. But the instructive thing for the readers of Webball very well may not be in my current position itself, but instead the why and how of my transition from 1992 to today.

In the past 18 months the pitchers in our facility have gained an average of 7.7 mph. Several pitchers actually exceeded 12 mph hour gains. Prior to our change in philosophy and methodology, the previous 18 months showed an average gain in velocity of 3.2 mph.

Read more

(Wolforth runs the Texas Baseball Ranch, a successful training program that helps pitchers throw over 90 MPH)

The Pros and Cons of 2 Training Methods

Pete Wilkinson, Wilkinson Academy |

The science and the real-world experience profiles are quite clear about the potential value to pitchers of training with over-weighted and under-weighted balls, and there is also little doubt about the great potential value of flat-ground training.

Over-weighted ball throwing is a reasonable form of resistance training in real range of motion.  Under-weighted ball throwing is effective in training the nervous system (okay, the neuro-muscular pathways) to allow the arm to go faster.  Flat-ground training offers the opportunity for higher numbers of repetitions at relatively greater safety.

There is no question that these methods have been shown to be effective - when used in the right ways. This article is not so much about whether they are effective devices, but rather whether we coaches can make them effective and what our reasonable choices are.

(Wilkinson played baseball for USC and is one of the top pitching coaches in the Northwest. Many of his students have gone on to play in college. He currently coaches the Bellevue High School Varsity Team.)

The Effects of Graded Weighted Baseballs on the Velocity 
& Accuracy of a Thrown Baseball
By Dr. John Bagonzi

While it's been quite some time since I've written about weighted baseballs, I have never lost my zest for the positive effects of overload training on the velocity of a baseball. . . and with good reasons -- both objective and subjective. Several years ago, I did my doctoral thesis on the improvement of pitching velocity through resistive forces and came up with very solid evidence that working out with weighted balls markedly improves one's velocity. Though not looking for such, I was also struck by the discovery that weighted ball use improves not just speed but accuracy as well.

Of the hundreds of pitchers I have trained, none has experienced arm strain as the result of correct use of the weighted ball. In fact I have found that those pitchers who maintain a consistent year-around throwing program that includes weighted ball use, develop stronger arms and are indeed less prone to injury.  

Read more


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