Barely believable… but it happened.
As I alluded to earlier, we are doing a basic weighted ball throwing and arm care program this winter. The creator, Jamie Evans, can be read about here: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130620&content_id=51230920&vkey=news_tor&c_id=tor
One of his assistants / teachers from the area came in to test the entire team’s velocity as a baseline for 2lb, 1lb, 6oz, 5oz, 4oz and 2oz balls.
3 throws were done with each into a net from a crow hop/shuffle start.
The 2 and 1lb ball throws are just absurd, done with balls the size of softballs that encourage total pushing of the ball. It’s ridiculous they actually included these weights in the testing, thrown for max effort. If you’re trying to imagine what this looks like, imagine someone running up with a softball that weighs as much as a baseball bat and kind of catapulting it awkwardly into the ground.
After this ridiculousness, with balls that weigh more than 6 times that of a baseball, we returned to reality with the 2-6oz balls.
Although i don’t typically crow-hop when i throw, I did figure out a footwork that worked for me as long as I kept the shoulders closed.
The 6oz ball felt like a laser out of the hand - our tester didn’t read out the velocities initially, but his eyebrows raised: “how hard do you throw off the mound, son?”
After the next throw: “you should be excited, you’re going to see some really good gains”
I didn’t really know what he meant, but I figured I was throwing reasonably hard. With the 5oz ball I only picked up the intensity, hurling it with a reckless abandon as though I was trying to throw my arm right out of its socket. I moved my feet fast, overemphasized keeping the shoulders closed, and fired my arm as fast as humanly possibly through release point.
Still no visible reaction from him, although I could tell this was significantly harder, on a 55 degree day, than I had thrown the previous tuesday.
The 4oz ball felt impossibly light, and I gave it everything I had.
Finally, the 2oz ball. I kept the same footwork for the first two throws - an aggressive 2 step shuffle.
“103 - come on, you can do better than that. Take a running start this time.”
Encouraged, I took a 15 foot lead-up run into the side shuffle before letting it loose into the net as hard as possible.
“109 - good! Move the feet as fast as you want your arm to move”
These numbers meant nothing to me - it was a 2oz ball after all. I knew that our top arm had already thrown the 2oz ball 110mph and the 5oz ball 98-99mph that day, so I decided to go learn what my 5oz velocity actually was.
Throw 1: 98
Throw 2: 99
Throw 3: 102
These numbers didn’t register at first. I thought there must have been some sort of mistake. Then I realized I had been throwing the 4oz ball 103-106, and the 2oz ball up to 109 mph. This was the real deal.
Another lefty on our team hit 99, and another righty hit 98mph, but I was the only one to eclipse 100 from this running start.
This was my true max. I now know what my arm is capable of. There’s no reason I can’t be a mid 90s reliever.
Of the others who hit 98 or 99, two of them have hit 95 off the mound and one has hit 96. All of them sit 90-93. There’s no reason I can’t do the same thing…or better.
I realize velocity is only a small piece of the puzzle, but on this occasion, for me, it was a pretty encouraging piece.