An interview with two of LTP's best


#1

…kyleb and LankyLefty, if you object to this posting in any way, I’ll remove it. Great Interview Btw!


#2

good stuff


#3

pretty cool, its great to see 2 key contributors from this site sharing thoughts.

? for Kyle & LL… whats ur thoughts on weighted ball training for 13 yr old (smaller kid… 5’4 100lbs)?

My son has a great pitching coach who trains with Ron Wolforths combat pitching routines/influence.

They incorporated some O/U loading w/ 4 6 & 7 oz balls… 25-30 total throws from the wind up, flat ground & into a target 15-20 feet away at 85-90% effort.

Did it 2 weeks & my son felt a tweek in his forarm and UCL area. very minor & was a non issue after that.

We stopped the weighted o/u… i wasnt too cozy with it anyways & the minor tweek feeling made my decision to stop pretty easy.

I know his coach wants to revisit it in the fall… i love o/u training & agree with LeftyLanky’s statements on intent & efficiency development, i just wonder if there are any safe usages at his age or is the 4,6&7 oz to much at this age as well.

thoughts?


#4

I have a question as well. If you have a pitcher that is inconsistent with their arm action, sometimes the elbow drops below the shoulder a bit and they sling it a bit (not a good whippy sling) could a weighted ball help get the feeling of staying behind the ball (not necessarily on top of the ball) and applying the force behind the ball instead of cutting across the ball? If so would a 7 oz ball be a good option or 8 oz.? At what age would this be an option when used for helping with arm action?

I’ve just noticed that kids, when throwing a football, rarely have an elbow that drops below the shoulder. So maybe a heavier baseball would have the same effect. I’ve never used weighted balls before so just curious since arm action was mentioned in the interview.


#5

I have a feeling you will find a inconsistency earlier in the action, either balance, the way they seperate their hands, the way they drop the ball or something else, all mechanics need to be repeated and anything that changes can effect something else dramtically. A weighted ball might help but you might not be fixing the root of the problem. Basic repeatable mechanics!


#6

I’m aware of the importance of repeatable mechanics. The point of the weighted ball is could it help the pitcher get the “feeling” of staying behind the ball? Kids/pitchers respond to different teaching styles. Some kids you can talk mechanics, show them mechanics and they get it. Some kids you can do the same thing and it won’t click. Some kids need to get the “feeling” of something and their brain will do the rest. It’s why I like the Hershiser drill. You can say “lead with the hips” and some kids will get it but some need to “feel it” and that drill allows them to understand how it feels to lead with the hips. There will be times when you stumble onto kids, if you haven’t already, that have a great feel for pitches. Even when they look “mechanically off” some days, they still throw strikes. Their brain just figures it out. Maybe a weighted ball could help some get the “feeling of staying behind the ball”. So that’s the question. I think we all agree on the importance of mechanics but I think there are times when we start thinking we are smarter than the human brain and we are not.


#7

From video clips of pitchers and what i have read your elbow should be at or below your shoulder.


#8

Yes, I realize that but there is a point when a pitcher’s elbow gets a little too far below the shoulder and he loses velocity. From the interview:

“The second benefit to weighted balls are that they “clean up” your arm action, for lack of a better term. If a player pushes a 5 oz ball or has a weird hitch in his arm action, or whatever, those inefficiencies are going to be exaggerated when the player increases the weight of the ball. This idea applies to a lot of things – sloppy form or inefficiencies in a movement pattern are revealed when the load increases. You may be able to round your back and get away with it in a 135lb deadlift, but if you try to deadlift with that kind of form with 400lbs on the bar, the inefficiency in your movement pattern will be exaggerated.”

Having never used weighted balls for teaching pitchers was wondering if they may help give the pitcher the “feeling” of staying behind the ball. If so at what age would this be a reasonable option to help make someone’s arm action more consistent? And what wt. ball could help accomplish this? I guess it’s really a question for LL or for someone who has lots of experience with weighted baseballs.


#9

My son - who turned 14 in January -has done a weighted ball program prior to baseball season for the past 3+ years. I credit that throwing program, the two instructors he’s worked with, and of course my son’s willingness to work hard with the success he’s had pitching so far.

He started the program for this season back in December and made it thru January until his baseball practices got too intense to allow him to continue. Each hour session includes work on building the legs and core followed by work on the arm via bands, tubes, ropes, and yes, weighted balls. They do a number of throws all of which are measured and recorded. I can’t say anything bad about the program and suggest it to any Father who has a kid interested in pitching.

That said, your child should never use weighed balls except with trained personnel. Both of the guys that my kid works with have worked directly with Wolfworth and he’s done classes at their facility on a couple of occasions.


#10

[quote=“RJ35”]I have a question as well. If you have a pitcher that is inconsistent with their arm action, sometimes the elbow drops below the shoulder a bit and they sling it a bit (not a good whippy sling) could a weighted ball help get the feeling of staying behind the ball (not necessarily on top of the ball) and applying the force behind the ball instead of cutting across the ball? If so would a 7 oz ball be a good option or 8 oz.? At what age would this be an option when used for helping with arm action?

I’ve just noticed that kids, when throwing a football, rarely have an elbow that drops below the shoulder. So maybe a heavier baseball would have the same effect. I’ve never used weighted balls before so just curious since arm action was mentioned in the interview.[/quote]

absolutely. The weighted balls could certainly help the pitcher get the feeling of staying behind the ball better. Again, if he’s dropping his elbow way low, he’s going to feel how inefficient that is when you give him a 7 oz ball. No guarantees, but more often than not the body figures out more efficient movement patterns based on this feedback. He may find this problem disappears after getting used to the weighted balls.

I’m not sure what age is best…I don’t think it would be a problem to do weighted balls with a younger kid, but I’d be cautious with going too heavy. I wouldn’t go over 7 oz with a younger kid to start, and not below 4 oz for underload. Those numbers are just based on my personal experience. Personally, I COULD throw the 9 and 11 oz balls with some intensity, but I didn’t feel comfortable really airing them out. Err on the side of caution especially when first starting a weighted ball program.


#11

No guarantees, but more often than not the body figures out more efficient movement patterns based on this feedback. He may find this problem disappears after getting used to the weighted balls.

Thanks for the response. Makes sense to me even though I’ve never worked with weighted baseballs. I know people are wary of them but I think back to coaching little league in the midwest and about 15 minutes into an April practice the balls were so wet and muddy I’m guessing they weighed well over the advertised 5 oz. and the kids all survived.

I would agree if you are looking for a velocity boosting program look for someone who has a program that has shown some results but there might be something to playing some catch with a weighted ball to help a pitcher find their most efficient arm action. It’s at least something to consider.


#12

FWIW, the NPA created and follows a “fitness pyramid” which consists of 5 levels of fitness. Foundation fitness is at the bottom of the pyramid. Joint integrity/stability is the next level up. Functional strength via machines and then free weights are the next two levels up. At the top of the pyramid is velocity training. The point behind the pyramid is that you must work your way up from bottom to top. What this means to this thread is that weighted balls (part of the NPA’s velocity training protocol) shouldn’t be attempted until you have sufficient foundation fitness, joint integrity and functional strength.

Also, it is all too common for people to talk about weighted balls without defining a proper throwing program including the weights to use. Some programs stick to 4, 5 and 6 oz balls which are probably safer if you don’t know what you’re doing. Other program use even heavier balls but place limitations on distance and number of throws (and, probably age though I don’t know the details).


#13

Sorry for the late response, been so busy with the facility and some other side projects of mine.

I would be careful to prescribe under/overload baseballs to intentionally alter someone’s biomechanical patterns. This generally won’t work with anything lighter than 8-10 oz, because you can throw a 6-7 oz ball the same way you would with a 5 oz regulation ball. This warrants a lot of caution, as changing the biomechanical pattern of how you throw a ball can be injurious and/or detrimental to velocity if you aren’t intending to do this!

Like a lot of things, you can’t just blindly have kids do this if they are younger or have mechanical flaws you want to correct.

We kicked off our research trial to study the effects of our Velocity Development Program with 10 kids. I look forward to sharing the results at the midpoint (3 weeks) and at the end (6 weeks) with everyone here.