Weighted ball for 11 & 12 yo

Should 11 & 12 yo’s practice with a weighted ball? Not necessarily pitching but for mid-warm ups and possibly long toss or one knee toss?

I think of it this way–11&12 yo’s already do practice with an over-size and over-weighted ball.

Now wait a minute, adult MLB pitchers throw a 5 oz baseball with a 9’ circumference…and so do 11/12 yo’s. Why is that “over-weighted or over-sized” for the youngsters?

Compare the game ball of most other sports in the adult version versus children’s version…football, basketball, soccer…many of 'em use a smaller and lighter ball for kids.

A smaller baseball wouldn’t be fair to the hitters, but a lighter baseball for youth would be fair and perhaps healthier on young, still-developing growth plates.

My opinion is that you should never be using a weighted ball. There is a reason the ball is 5 oz. Although many claim that weighted balls give you an increase in velocity, most claims are false or say they get better results when in reality is just feels that way for the pitcher and there was never any actually numerical data. I guarantee there are many many more mlb pitchers who have never touched a weighted ball than those who have. Not to mention how much stress and damage it does to the elbow.

Weighted ball programs are an optimization that should be used only by pitchers who first have achieved a general foundation level of fitness along with joint integrity/stability strength and, finally, sport-specific strength built on top of all of that. Why? Well, increasing the load on the arm as well as arm speed increases the forces on the body - especially the joints (shoulder and elbow) and the small muscles and connective tissues that hold those joints together. It only makes sense that the body be strengthened to withstand those increased forces before subjecting the body to those forces.

Thanks guys…there will be NO weighted balls in this house :slight_smile:

…and what is that reason?

The weight and circumference of a game-legal baseball is specified in the OBRs… that’s the reason.

There’s no particular reason why youth baseball leagues could not depart from the OBRs and specifiy 4 oz game balls, but…they might have a lot of trouble finding lighter baseballs at a reasonable price. Like 6 oz and 7 oz baseballs, the 4 oz’ers just don’t widely exist outside of expensive underweight/overweight training sets.

I didn’t mean literally. :wink:

That said, why do the OBR state it has to be 5 ounces?

Did they perform studies that determined 5 ounces is a magical weight that is least likely to cause injury?

I seriously have no idea why a baseball must weigh 5 ounces other than the fact that it says so in the OBR. It seems completely arbitrary.

If I used 4 ounce baseballs until I was 15, then decided to play high school baseball, I’d be subjected to a “weighted ball” against my will.

I just don’t get why a 5 oz. ball is the norm (other than OBR saying so) and that anything more or less is borderline taboo.

Most game rules are arbitrary…3 strikes you’re out, 4 balls you walk, etc.

However, baseball has been around since the mid-1800’s so it has seen many, many rule changes.

Some rule changes are pretty explicitly made for safety reasons…the move toward outlawing spit-balls after Chapman was killed by one, for example.

Others are made to keep the offense and defense in balance…the move to lower the regulation pitcher’s mound from 15 inches to 10 inches in the late 60’s, after Koufax/Gibson/Drysdale/Marichal/etc just dominated the hitters too much for the (perceived) good of the game. Personally, I liked the 15" mound…ha ha.

So, the 5 oz baseball…I’m not sure when that was written into the OBRs but it is definitely good to have one standard ball weight for the game…at least for professional baseball. Might be a competitive balance kind of thing that sets the standard…adult pitchers might be able to throw a 4 oz’er too fast with too much movement for good offensive/defensive balance. Just speculation…but I’ll bet that somebody at SABR knows the complete history of that interesting question.

Well first let us think if the ball was too light. If the ball was too light, it would be like playing a game of wiffleball. The movement would be everywhere, there would be no such thing as baseball on a windy day, and it would nearly impossible to hit the ball very far.

Well now lets say the ball is heavier. Well first you should know that the average elbow can take 80 Newtons of force before it will snap (there have been studies on this, and you could test it with your own elbow if you so desire… jk, dont try it). With a 5 oz baseball you would have to throw 102 mph to achieve 80 Newtons of force. (you can get this number by taking the sum of the torques using the axis of rotation as your shoulder and the torques on the hand and elbow as the sums.) This also means that if you up the oz to something even as big as 6.33 your elbow would receive the 102mph worth of force only throwing 60 mph. As you can see, the average body would quickly begin to have extreme amounts of stress on their elbows by throwing heavier balls.

Now you may ask well then how is it that people have thrown harder than 102, and my answer is you have to remember to take the sum of all forces when you are throwing a baseball. This includes the movement from the rest of the body (stride towards home which is probably up to 5 m/s and the movement of the upper axis in reference to the hip)

But over all, you will not get very far from the standard physics of what is going on when you are throwing a baseball or a weighted one for that matter.

[quote=“Sunsetblud”]Well first let us think if the ball was too light. If the ball was too light, it would be like playing a game of wiffleball. The movement would be everywhere, there would be no such thing as baseball on a windy day, and it would nearly impossible to hit the ball very far.

Well now lets say the ball is heavier. Well first you should know that the average elbow can take 80 Newtons of force before it will snap (there have been studies on this, and you could test it with your own elbow if you so desire… jk, dont try it). With a 5 oz baseball you would have to throw 102 mph to achieve 80 Newtons of force. (you can get this number by taking the sum of the torques using the axis of rotation as your shoulder and the torques on the hand and elbow as the sums.) This also means that if you up the oz to something even as big as 6.33 your elbow would receive the 102mph worth of force only throwing 60 mph. As you can see, the average body would quickly begin to have extreme amounts of stress on their elbows by throwing heavier balls.

Now you may ask well then how is it that people have thrown harder than 102, and my answer is you have to remember to take the sum of all forces when you are throwing a baseball. This includes the movement from the rest of the body (stride towards home which is probably up to 5 m/s and the movement of the upper axis in reference to the hip)

But over all, you will not get very far from the standard physics of what is going on when you are throwing a baseball or a weighted one for that matter.[/quote]

I’ve got a question:

At what point would my elbow snap throwing an 8 oz. baseball? A 10 oz. baseball? A 12 oz. baseball?

I have no idea how to calculate these things.

Anyways, we aren’t talking about 2 oz. baseballs here. I’ve got a ball lighter than 5 oz. and from what I can tell it doesn’t move much more or less (and this takes into account the fact that it’s most definitely not weighted evenly as the weight loss was due to me drilling holes in it) and I can’t throw it that much faster than a regulation ball.

As for the heavier ball, why did you use 6.33 instead of something like 6? How much force can the elbow withstand on an even 6 oz. ball?

Still, I think my point remains. In an alternate world, if we all grew up throwing 4 oz. baseballs because that was the norm, would there be such debate over the use of 5 oz. baseballs as “weighted balls”? If not, then why is there a debate over using 6 oz. baseballs? The argument can not be “because a 6 oz. baseball adds more stress to the elbow than a 5 oz. ball”, because while that’s true, the same is said for throwing a 4 oz. ball then moving to a 5 oz. ball.[/i]

I used a 6.33 oz ball because it had an even number of 60 mph. Just by looking at the answers tho I could tell you that a 7oz ball would probably be around 40 mph.

The fact is, there are people who can throw a 4 mph ball ALOT faster. I have seen some kids busting 100 mph who can hardly throw a real baseball 80. The fact is, if you were training your arm to throw a 4 oz ball your entire life, you could probably get 110+… How easy do you think it would be to hit a 110 mph fastball? Eventually the ball would just be going to fast to even have the efficient reaction time to react to the ball. So I dont think 4 oz balls would be a serious option.

The reason 5 oz is good is because it is enough weight that people arent busting 110 consistently, there isnt (in relation to lighter balls) alot of movement, and it is light enough that very few people if any will ever hit the thresh hold for the amount of pressure that could be put on an elbow. How many people do you know that can throw a 5 oz ball 102? Now how many do you know that can throw a 6.33 oz ball 60? I bet alot of us can…

Also, once you are throwing a lighter ball harder, you are taking up alot of radial acceleration which is a lot of extra stress on the shoulder. With a 5 oz ball the majority of the acceleration is tangential. The difference between 4 oz to 5 oz is much different than the difference between 5 oz and 6 oz… The sum of torques and forces on the elbow are NOT linear.

[quote=“Sunsetblud”]I used a 6.33 oz ball because it had an even number of 60 mph. Just by looking at the answers tho I could tell you that a 7oz ball would probably be around 40 mph.

The fact is, there are people who can throw a 4 mph ball ALOT faster. I have seen some kids busting 100 mph who can hardly throw a real baseball 80. The fact is, if you were training your arm to throw a 4 oz ball your entire life, you could probably get 110+… How easy do you think it would be to hit a 110 mph fastball? Eventually the ball would just be going to fast to even have the efficient reaction time to react to the ball. So I dont think 4 oz balls would be a serious option.

The reason 5 oz is good is because it is enough weight that people arent busting 110 consistently, there isnt (in relation to lighter balls) alot of movement, and it is light enough that very few people if any will ever hit the thresh hold for the amount of pressure that could be put on an elbow. How many people do you know that can throw a 5 oz ball 102? Now how many do you know that can throw a 6.33 oz ball 60? I bet alot of us can…

Also, once you are throwing a lighter ball harder, you are taking up alot of radial acceleration which is a lot of extra stress on the shoulder. With a 5 oz ball the majority of the acceleration is tangential. The difference between 4 oz to 5 oz is much different than the difference between 5 oz and 6 oz… The sum of torques and forces on the elbow are NOT linear.[/quote]

Of this I am aware.

I feel like we are posing questions to each other that are slightly askew from the points the other person is trying to make.

You are throwing lots of scientific data at me when all I really want to know is why throwing a 6 oz. ball is so terrible? I know it causes more stress to the elbow (obviously), but it’s not like a 5 oz. ball is stress free. Why is throwing ball weighing 5 ounces so much worse than throwing a ball weighing 6 ounces?

Are you saying it is not a terrible thing that heavier balls cause more stress and destroy peoples arms every year? That data is the proof that heavier balls are very bad… I dont understand what you are trying to get at.

You are saying “what is so terrible about a 6 oz ball” when I just showed you all the stuff that is so terrible about a 6 oz ball. The fact that it puts that much more stress on the elbow is terrible. The fact that it can destroy your elbow for the rest of your life is terrible. The fact that there is no proof whatsoever that it actually increases velocity just makes it profoundly stupid to even consider using a heavier ball…

There is nothing magical about 5oz. Quarterbacks throw footballs which weigh lots more.

The whole weightd ball overload/underload protocol is about neuromuscular patterning - basically, training the body and mind to move the arm quicker. The danger comes in when you use a ball that’s too heavy and try to throw it with the same mechanics - the same arm extension - as with a 5oz ball. Take quarterbacks, for example. They throw a much heavier football without problems. But they don’t extend their arm as much as a pitcher. If they did, they would be looking at an injury. I kid who picks up a regulation size but weighted baseball very well may try to chuck it just as hard as a regulation weight baseball.

Similarly, a really light ball can also lead to injury because the faster arm speed can tax the decellerators. Anyone here about thrown their arm out of the socket throwing a wiffle ball?

So, weighted ball programs need to be done properly and by people who are already conditioned to that level. Most young pitchers have other things they need to work on first.