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.

Oregon State freshman Drew Rasmussen pitched a perfect game. Rasmussen uses weighted balls and long toss as part of his workouts.  

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.

Arm health 
Knight did not have any arm injury or elbow strain while pitching for 4 years in high school and summer ball. A proper warm up and a post-throwing routine is highly recommended.


Setting goals
In order to improve, it's a good idea to set goals and evaluate your progress. Knight's goal was 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.
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Weighted Baseball Training Programs >>




Ballistic Training Methods for Pitchers


Request a free Weighted Baseball Program eBook >>

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Reading


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 | bluejays.com
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com

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


References

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)

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