Weighted Balls (Everyone Please Express Your Opinions)

What do you guys think about weighted balls? I’m thinking about maybe getting some and long tossing with them. Also where do you get them? Does anyone just use a water-logged baseball? Thanks For Your Time…

They have the potential to be beneficial for a pitcher if used correctly.

I have no personal experience with them However, there are lots of people who claim they work. Some weighted baseball sets come with 4oz, 5oz and 6oz balls while other sets come with balls that differ from the normal 5oz ball by more than 1oz. It was my impression that you should only use the 4oz, 5oz, and 6oz balls and you should follow a well-established overload/underload program.

I’ve also heard it said that the weighted balls work only as long as you continue using them implying that their benefit goes away if you stop using them.

I’m skeptical, since most of a pitcher’s velocity is generated in the torso, not the arm or shoulder.

I think that some of the gains that have been seen have come from all the added practice, not the over/under-weight balls.

I’d like to see details on the studies to see how they were constructed and to make sure that confounding wasn’t a problem.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]I’d like to see details on the studies to see how they were constructed and to make sure that confounding wasn’t a problem.[/quote]Dr. Brent Rushall is strong in his contention that ALL of the “studies” that propose velocity benefits of under/overload training are in fact “confounded” regarding scientific method. It’s all in his new book co-authored with Mills. I’m not qualified to evaluate the validity of his evaluations but his arguments are compelling.

Glad to see that I’m not alone on this.

The problem is that I have never been able to see the original studies, and see how they were designed (e.g. what the control groups did). Instead, I’ve only seen the results.

In general, when a guy won’t show you the design of the study, and only shows the results, you should take the results with a grain of salt.

Rafael F. Escamilla1, Ph.D., Glenn S. Fleisig2, Ph.D.,
Steven W. Barrentine2, M.S., James R. Andrews2, M.D., and Kevin P. Speer, M.D.

Pretty impressive group. They reviewed the studies and concluded that overload/underload training resulted in significant improvements. But I’m sure they’re not as qualified as Chris.

“Data from these training studies strongly support the practice of training with overweight and underweight baseballs to increase throwing velocity of regulation baseballs.”

Typically an average HS pitcher will gain about 1 mph at most in a 12 week period. Some more, some less but on average about 1 mph. These pitchers gained significantly more while performing overload/underload training over periods ranging from 6 to 12 weeks. The studies showed pitchers gaining an average of 3 to 5 mph with the younger pitchers (HS) gaining a bit more on average than the older ones. If there is some other type of training the control group could have been doing that would have made the type of gains the overload/underload training did I’d like to see it because as a group pitchers don’t make those types of gains with any other training I’ve ever heard of. Anecdotally I’ve heard of gains from long toss, but to my knowledge no studies have been done to prove it. I do prefer long toss, but that is just a personal preference.

I’m sure that weighted ball training didn’t help Steve Ellis either, he would have picked up that extra velocity by just sticking with his routine. Right.

Using the overload principle while correctly executing proper pitching techniques (mechanics) will produce:

Better Accuracy
Stronger Pitching Muscles
Reduced Injury
Greater Endurance
Increased Velocity

If I’m not mistaken the studies done by ASMI determined that the best results occur with balls that are within 20% range of a baseball. I believe they got similar results with over/under training with bats too. Anyway, they think that 4,5,6 oz balls are the best to use in over/under training. I believe the study found that the law of diminishing returns holds true after 6 oz. So it is not necessarily beneficial to throw a 2 lb. baseball.

I think that IF a pitcher were to do over/under training, that the safest way is with the 4,5,6 oz. balls.

[quote=“LFRoberts5”]Using the overload principle while correctly executing proper pitching techniques (mechanics) will produce:

Better Accuracy
Stronger Pitching Muscles
Reduced Injury
Greater Endurance
Increased Velocity[/quote]
Wow! And what evidence do we have of all of these? How will throwing a non-regulation weight ball increase accuracy with a regulation weight ball?

[quote=“CADad”]Rafael F. Escamilla1, Ph.D., Glenn S. Fleisig2, Ph.D.,
Steven W. Barrentine2, M.S., James R. Andrews2, M.D., and Kevin P. Speer, M.D.

“Data from these training studies strongly support the practice of training with overweight and underweight baseballs to increase throwing velocity of regulation baseballs.”[/quote]
Again, I’m not qualified to pass judgement on this but here are a few quotes from Dr. Brent Rushall about this. So, don’t shoot the messenger.

AND

AND

If pitching arm injuries are at an epidemic proportion with a 5 oz baseball I can’t imagine what the results of throwing a weighted ball would be.

There are better ways to strength train the specific muscles for pitching.

Why throw a 4 ounce ball or a ball that’s lighter? Wouldn’t this be bad? Wouldn’t you recommend throwing something a little heavier than regulation? Where can I get weighted balls?

dm,
That sounds like one person throwing in weasel wording to try to discredit the study. The study said further studies were justified. They didn’t change their conclusion.

The study didn’t say that it would help pitching overall it simply said that it would help with velocity. In fact, the review concluded that it did not improve accuracy. No surprise there.

I know we disagree on this subject so why don’t you go ahead and post a rebuttal and then we’ll just agree to disagree.

Woodell89,
The purpose of throwing the lighter ball is to teach the arm how to move faster. The general principle of overload/underload training has been around for a long time and it’s efficacy is well established. The basic principle is so well established that a paper like that written by Rushall has to be considered “poor science” at best and that is a gracious assessment. Those less gracious might hint at scientific dishonesty for reimbursement.

[quote=“CADad”]I know we disagree on this subject so why don’t you go ahead and post a rebuttal and then we’ll just agree to disagree.[/quote]No rebuttal from here. As I said, I’m not qualified to judge what Rushall wrote. I just post it for info.

I’m on the fence on whether or not weighted balls can improve velocity. I’ve seen people on both sides of that put forward very compelling arguments. So, I can’t or won’t get into an argument or an “agreement to disagree” because I don’t have a strong opinion either way on the issue. Actually, I have no opinion on it. I do have an opinion on claims of it increasing accuracy. Again, that’s just my “opinion” on theoretical grounds, for whatever that might be worth. Nothing to others, I’m sure. :slight_smile:

[quote=“CADad”]The basic principle is so well established that a paper like that written by Rushall has to be considered “poor science” at best and that is a gracious assessment. Those less gracious might hint at scientific dishonesty for reimbursement.[/quote]You may very well be right. It’s the basic premise of the entire book that he wrote with Mills. That being that the “science” the baseball world has been relying on and drawing conclusions from all these years, is flawed in scientific method and therefore irrelevant. He then goes on to reference those studies he believes actually are valid and draws his own conclusion from them instead of from the allegedly flawed ones.

I suggest that one must read the book in order to really evaluate it. He has much more discussion around all of this. I only grabbed these particular ones because I thought they would spark discussion. I guess that worked. :smiley:

Is the weight of the baseball the only variable in the weighted ball equation? I don’t think it is. The body makes adjustments to protect itself. In particular, throwing a heavier baseball will result in a shorter arm swing as well as a shorter stride. Watch a football quarterback throwing a much heavier football. He will have a short arm swing and about a 2 foot stride. The heavier the object being thrown, the closer the body it is manipulated. The body moves the object close enough that the body’s strength can handle it safely. So, I propose that throwing a heavier ball alters one’s mechanics and that (improved mechanics and/or timing) could be the cause of an increase in velocity.

Tom House claims that everyone they’ve worked with using weighted balls (4,5,6 oz) has achieved a 3-6mph increase in velocity. The question in my mind is, “What is the real source of that increase?” Many people probably think it has to do with strength. I’m not so sure.

My limited experience with weighted balls shows that the biggest gains come right after starting to use them and that later gains are much smaller. My guess is that the initial gain comes from simply teaching the body how to put more effort into throwing as the gain comes far too soon to be related to gains in arm strength.

[quote=“CADad”]My limited experience with weighted balls shows that the biggest gains come right after starting to use them and that later gains are much smaller. My guess is that the initial gain comes from simply teaching the body how to put more effort into throwing as the gain comes far too soon to be related to gains in arm strength.[/quote]’

That makes sense and if that if the case then perhaps the same gains can be made by simply telling a pitcher to throw the ball as hard as he can for a given amount of time. That would eliminate the possible injury risk of the weighted ball.

if anyone thinks weighted balls work you know nothing about baseball ok. So you should stop playing right now. YOU DO NOT THROW WITH YOUR ARM. No matter how big a arm mussel is it will not help you throw harder. you have to have a good core not arm. The body delivers the ball at high speeds and the arm is on for the ride. Weighted balls can also hurt the arm in the long run putting more stress on the UCL and the antier band {wrong spelling} and could lead to injury. The only way to gain speed is to train your body to be more explosive to deliever the ball.

yo relax… dont blast the subject so hard. i think they can be benificial. btw the arm does have a little bit to do with how hard you throw. also genetics. but you are right for the most part saying the core is a huge part of your delivery. also strong legs are a huge help. weighted baseballs…so many discussions…i know people who have seen gains from them but they must be used correctly. i actually plan to invest into a set since i do know people that they worked for. i dont think they are the answer of course but i believe they can help to some extent. no evidence has shown they help or hurt so…why not.