Weighted Ball Question

Dear Mike:

I enjoy reading your advice and opinions on this page. I have a question regarding weighted balls. We have a senior pitcher who is a fringe DI RHP, but his velocity hovers around 85-86 MPH. He is our #1 varsity starter and has thrown this hard since his freshman year. I suggested throwing the weighted balls this off-season. He has suffered from tendonitis in his throwing elbow as a junior. His physical therapist says that throwing the weighted balls is not a good idea and could be dangerous. He suggested our pitcher just throw regular baseballs. I have done extensive research with weighted balls and have nothing but excellent results. I strongly believe in the over and under training principles, but I am not in the medical field. As far as your training goes, why can’t our RHP throw the weighted balls? Our pitcher as never suffered any tears or fractures in the arm just strains and soreness. I really feel he is being held back by the therapist not being able to throw the weighted balls. Once and for all, so I can tell future players in our program, are weighted balls medically dangerous? With solid functional strength and mechanics, can weighted balls hurt your arm? Your professional opinion is needed to help me deal with this situation.

Coach Kreber
Omaha Central HS Baseball

I would recommend using bands or cable machines to mimic the throwing motion, and resistance will create more weight then a baseball would…

I don’t throw weighted balls, and I don’t let any of the kids on my team throw weighted balls…Nobody is used to throwing those heavier balls so it screws up mechanics and thats what causes the stress and soreness in the elbow

I don’t have the credentials Mike has but i’d definetly recommend the bands or cables…
You dont want your pitchers to tear or fracture their arm as proof the weighted balls aren’t good…take the strains and soreness as a warning!


Weighted balls are prefectly fine as shown by Mr. Ellis is his ebook the complete pitcher, and by other baseball professionals.

The absolute key is too use the right WEIGHT. 4 oz, 5oz (regular) and 6oz.

The 5 is for general throwing you use the 6 to build strength, the 4 gets your arm used to increased speed and whip, and then you rap it all up with the 5.

The results are there if you look at coach Krebers in depth research/testing.

I myself have even found results, and I started the program at the beginning of october. (6 weeks of heavy mechanical and pitching work, and I’ve noticed 3 miles per hour average gain)(my mechanics are far better than when I started, finishing pitches, keeping my elbow up, hitting spots better).

I WOULD RECOMMEND WEIGHTED balls, but ONLY with a proper throwing program, and done in a responsible and safe manner.

Unfortuately I haven’t read his ebook. At first I was kinda against their use but the more I read about them the better they sound. I don’t have a really strong stance one way or the other. The research definitely seems to show an increase in velocity. Its hard to argue with results. I’ve seen several independent studies that covered a variety of overhand throwing sports and they all seemed to show an increase in velocity. What I don’t know is whether or not they will throw off throwing mechanics. IF it throws them off then I would be hesitant to use them but I just haven’t seen any real research to show that. I imagine that would be hard to prove in a scientific study.

I do think that if you are going to use them that your arm should be in pretty good shape before you start using them. I would also make sure you get a good warm-up before each workout.

Until I’m shown otherwise, I believe they will help increase velocity. Being in the medical field doesn’t make you an expert on overweight/underweight throwing. I would guess that you have done more research on the subject than the therapist. (I’m not trying to put him down. I don’t know who he is.)

I think the final call is up to you. Kinda puts in a tough situation because what you believe goes against what the therapist says. As for my opinion, I think they are fine.

My recommendation to use weighted baseballs (4 oz., 5 oz., and 6 oz.) comes only from personal experience – I used them and they worked for me and my pitching. The weighted ball program I used is available on my Web site.

Funny thing was, I didn’t research weighted baseballs before I used them. A friend of my dad’s, who was a college coach, simply gave us the two weighted balls – 4 oz. and 6 oz. – and my dad and I used them each off-season throughout college and pro ball.

It was really no big deal then, and I think it’s no big deal now.

Now I know that weighted baseballs are looked at differently today – there’s a lot of uncertainty and concern surrounding their use. I fully understand, too. If you don’t have good mechanics, you may have an increased risk of injury because the 6 oz. ball, for example, is 20% heavier than a normal 5 oz. baseball, which presumably means there’s more stress on the arm.

However, I had very good pitching mechanics, so that never factored into a concern for my dad or me.

Last year I began to research the topic a little because one instructor, who has a popular pitching Web site, was writing articles, which were 100% against weighted baseballs and 100% opposite of my own good experience with them.

In my findings, I came across some studies in a couple of different scientific journals that showed use of weighted baseballs (not exceeding 6 oz. and not less than 4 oz.) were just fine, and both showed that they actually promoted pitching velocity similarly to overload/under load weight room training.

Bottom line: For me, personal experience wins. I like weighted baseballs in the off-season. The key for me was to use them AFTER I had been throwing for about 3 to 4 weeks so that there was a good “throwing base” already established. I used them for about two months. Then, I cut off use once the season got underway, and I focused on fine-tuning accuracy and off-speed pitches.