Tennis ball for underload training

Hey i was planning to use tennis balls for underload training planning to throw about 30 with the tennis ball and 30 with a normal baseball and i was wondering if i am throwing 74-78 right now could that bring me up to 82-84 in about three to four month and would it be a high risk injury?


be careful. we did an overload/underload program and had an immediate 2 to 3 mph after 2 weeks, but we strained the front of the rotator cuff for the first time ever as a 15yr old. our experience is consistent with coach baker’s post on using the weighted balls. coach baker seems to have a good background to speak from.

we tossed 10 pitches VERY EASY today one week after the strain with no pain but we are taking it very slow. we are going back to our 150 pitch bullpens at about 70% maximum and the last 20-25 at near maximum. it worked for 5 years with no arm problems, so we will try it again.

it could be that maturity and extra strength causing the additional velocity would cause the shoulder to get tender even if we stayed on the regular weight throwing, but i really don’t think so.

i wouldn’t count on a 5 to 8 mph gain just using the light balls and regular balls. but be sure and post what you do and the results.

hope this helps,

Is there a specific reason that your bullpens go 150 pitches , and how frequently do you do these ??

Tennis balls tend to be a little too light for safety, although we did it a lot when we were kids. I just remember that was the one thing that gave me a sore arm back then.

Hey guys, I just wanted to weigh in with my two cents on the lighter ball theory.

I’ve had mild success with pitchers in college throwing a lighter ball for 10-15 throws before switching back to a regular baseball. But we don’t use a tennis ball, as I agree they are a bit too light. What I do is get a handful of batting practice balls (not the good pearls our pitchers use) and get a drill with a medium-sized drill bit and drill two holes all the way through the ball so that there are holes in the middle of all four “horseshoes” on the ball.

We use these balls for 10-15 warm-up throws before the pitcher actually steps on the mound to finish warming up. We only do this during preseason or offseason bulllpens, never before a game. I’ve found that it helps most guys get a feeling of better arm speed. But the key, as a coach, is to watch closely to make sure the pitcher’s mechanics don’t change.

This alone won’t help increase velocity much, in my opinion, but coupled with other mechanical drills and weight training can make a difference.

yes. you try to build more arm strength than you will ever need and you should almost never throw 150 pitches. the 150 pitches are not all at maximum velocity. the vast majority are thrown at 70% of maximum effort (the leo mazzone method found in his pitch like a pro book).

you need to build up to this level. start with 15 to 20 minutes of throwing into the end of a cage and build from there. if you get a running crow hop to throw the ball, you usually have good mechanics. then gradually move to getting loose by stretching and warming up (the first thing you always do) and throwing into the end of the cage until loose, then throow 150 pitches nice and loose. you must learn to listen to your arm. if it gets sore in the joints, you have a mechanical problem or you’re going too fast. if you’re reasonably sore in the belly of the muscles (not too little, not too much) you’re doing it right.

have used this program for five years with 9 to 14 year olds going three days a week and never two days in a row. we’ve had very good success with it.

we’ve completed this program on a back porch or 2 car garage in a hoodie or sleeves with a propane heater a safe distance throwing into a net set up 15 to 30 ft away. it’s not the best situation but it will protect your arm.

find something that works and do it. the difference between good major league pitchers and those that get released or don’t get it done is execution.