Weighted Balls for youth players

At what age do you suggest using weighted balls?

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Certainly wouldn’t consider it until after puberty at the earliest. For my boys, I hope they never use them. I think the current fad has been going long enough that observable trends are emerging and there are some scientific studies starting to be published. The early data is not good in my opinion but certainly do you own research.



“At what age do you suggest using weighted balls?”

It is recommended by Dr. Mike Marshall an expert in male growth patters who started all this and formulated the perfect training regimens for youth and adults that you do not start any “sport specific“ overload exercising until males turn biologically 16 (not chronologically) when all growth centers in the Elbow have solidified. He starts these athletes (field and mound throwers) with a 6 lb ball and 10 lb. wrist weights. No more than 120 days consecutive of “sport specific” Overload and Underload interval training.

Because many of his clients and practitioners goaded him for years to allow youth throwers to participate he reluctantly (even with his non-injurious mechanics) formulated a youth 60 day program where motor drills are performed to exactly produce an “inside of vertical forearm pronated" articulation that produces no injurious stress. These can be performed with the lighter Plyo (dead blow) balls as youth weight because they are much lighter and easier on the logistics.

Warning! many organizations (non-credentialed and credentialed) are now using the weighted balls, weighted baseballs and wrist weights but forgo the mechanics! This is a big mistake that has resulted in Dr. Marshall’s prediction that it will be even more harmful if Pathomechanics (joint injurious mechanics) are employed during this type of training!

This is what is now happening everywhere. You even have well meaning but research challenged individuals doing pseudo science (surveys) on unsuspecting youth and adult pitchers to see if they get injured in the studies. This is very problematic when they were warned in advance by an actual expert that if you produce traditionally learned throws (intuitive “outside of vertical” forearm supinated) that you would suffer the consequences, People were injured in that study leaving Mr. Reinhold with some splainen to do.

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Other than what you post here and a few old grainy videos on YouTube of Dr. Marshall throwing, I have never heard of anyone using this style or seen anyone pitch in this style that you so forcefully evangelize. Is there a current college or pro pitcher that I can follow who throws with mechanics you would endorse? I would like to watch them pitch so I can better understand what it is they are doing. Can you post some game videos of pitchers using Dr. Marshall’s mechanics?

Also, can you explain how peer reviewed studies using commonly accepted research methods are " pseudo science"? What explaining would be needed by studying the effects of a program developed and sold by others on willing participants within a research environment ?

My son is about to turn 12. We have been using the Total Control “dead blow” balls as a weighted ball for about a year and a half. We do a variation of the NPA hold drills and repeat the drills with close range throws into a net. He has had great results from these workouts, with zero aches or pains. He was clocked this summer at 73mph from 50ft. These workouts are not the only reason he throws hard, but it has definitely helped him with endurance and velocity.

I think age 11 my boy is 13 he started at age 11 and he is a beast also look at my video I post of me on workout drills the tpoic is workout please watch might give you some ideas of what to do

I think your boys should use weighted balls it gives them very great strong muscles

They (i.e., weighted-balls) should never be used to throw (only for holding in the hand and moving the arm slowly) unless they weigh less than a traditional ball, which to be quite honest is too heavy to start. Just a physics professor and former pro pitcher (with injuries) talking.


“Other than what you post here and a few old grainy videos on YouTube of Dr. Marshall throwing”

I’ve never witnessed Dr. Marshall throwing lately ever? When he was researching he used younger professionals and Amateurs who showed up with career ending injuries and pitchers seeking Velo. He used 500 frames a second high speed 35m film, then had it digitized.

“I have never heard of anyone using this style or seen anyone pitch in this style”

It’s difficult to see his tenets in others unless you are educated in what they are! people who understand the information see some or many of his tenets in already playing MLB, College, High school and youth level pitchers. More and more pitchers are adding his tenets as time goes by.

You also may be mentally locked on the idea his full motion (bottom half and top half) that will not be accepted in the baseball establishment fully because of traditional repetition, aesthetics that continue pathomechanical teachings that still plague pitchers everywhere.

The bottom half mechanics while much superior can not be stealthily applied like the top half mechanics and coaches will not hand them the ball, been there!

“you so forcefully evangelize”

Just giving our approach, when it comes to youth pitchers and throwers, I wish I could force! It’s now an ethical consideration now in that it all proves out as factual. I never see joint injuries any more and could not go back the other way knowing these injuries would instantly return.

“ Is there a current college or pro pitcher that I can follow who throws with mechanics you would endorse? “

Dr. Marshall endorced many current MLB pitchers top half effort even though they do not perform most of the tenets perfectly.

He said Verlander had the best Humeral/forearm arrival timing and many more tenets close!

He said Lincecum top half his first 4 years was very good and why Driveline (A Marshall taught word) mimics his top half arrival action in their preferred (spiral stair case) mechanics. At that time he forearm pronated all his pitch types but sadly listened to someone and started experimenting with a supinated Slider that ruined his ability to drive pronate. Dr. Marshall also predicted Lincecum demise by less than a year because of that long stride.

“I would like to watch them pitch so I can better understand what it is they are doing.”

You are not going to learn anything until you read the information in order to then pick out where others are getting close or have achieved the mechanic.

“Can you post some game videos of pitchers using Dr. Marshall’s mechanics?"
Here is an MLB player pronating his Cutter. It would be even better if he Elevated his Humerus and delivered with a high arm vector

“Also, can you explain how peer reviewed studies using commonly accepted research methods are " pseudo science"?

When you peer review non clinical research (surveys) and let the mountain of mistakes pass as merited, you are nothing but a spell checker for well meaning but very poor science. I’ll give you a small example of physical education terminology that all of them make every time and it never is cleaned up and passed as truth. One of the throwing tenets that Dr. Marshall teaches is the difference in a “forwards Cross step” footwork (true Crow step) where the ball side leg stays in it’s lane and crosses in front and the “forwards drop step” where the leg drops around behind the glove side leg. Dr. Marshall discovered that the Humeral forearm timing is perfect with the true Crow step and way late with the drop step. This is why we practice staying in your leg lanes the way we are built to drive forwards correctly. There’s another tenet that you can find in some! In submitted research (all of them), these researching x-baseball pitchers call every bottom half bipedal action as a Crow hop when none of them produced a true Crow hop and actually were performing a Drop step, an injurious gateway bottom half mechanic. None of these researchers, nore their supposed peers ever catch it. There are hundreds more. There is clinical research on how peer review fails often making them a rubber stamp.

“What explaining would be needed by studying the effects of a program developed and sold by others on willing participants within a research environment ?”

You would have to explain that the traditional mechanics that all youth boy’s produce are pathomechanical with just a baseball! If you participate in this study there is a good chance you are going to be injured!

Were any of these clients youth players, that got injured?

Ignorance is hardly a good excuse any more. This info has been in the public domain for 20 years now.

Especially someone like Reinhold. Again this will build into an ethical problem for them all when the info is understood by all and practiced.

Here are some of the tenets that eliminate injurious mechanics.

  1. Forearm pronate all pitch types. Eliminates “Hyper ballistic involuntary Elbow extension”. Maddox pronated 4 out of his 5 pitch types. The best pronator now is kyle Hendrix, Thor and many more now. Steve Carlton threw one of the only forearm pronated Sliders, very healthy.
    Halladay cutter photo halladaycutterXMOrelease.gif

  2. Have your ball arrive to “Driveline Height”(the highest point your ball side Elbow reaches during drive) simultaneously with glove side foot plant (benchmark) by forearm supinating and outwardly rotating your Humerus at least 75% of it’s range of motion, your hand will be under the ball with the ball showing to the center fielder with a 45 degree bend in the elbow. Eliminates Tommy John surgery. Here is where Verlander is close.

  3. keep your Humerus centered in it’s glenoid cavity from drop in to recovery. Eliminates laxity and labrum pathologies. Watch Grienke, he’s best at this.

  4. Pop your elbow up at release, do not pull down. Watch Lincecum for the best of this.

  5. Stride short, stay tall and rotate 180 degrees to recover. This is the tenet that is pushing Velo up every where. Watch all the newer power pitchers. These tenets are being taught now but unfortunately for youth pitchers, MLB pro’s are secretive. It’s very difficult for this info to come in from the bottom up! People naturally want to see an MLB guy do it first, well that took about 20 years to just get a few curious like you.

There are many more! many MLB pitchers perform some of the tenets. The ones that get most of them close have long careers.

Dirtberry - I’ve read many post of yours where you refer to “Forearm Pronate” What exactly does this mean?

Is it when, for example, the pitching hand of a right hander twists counter clockwise after releasing the ball?

My sons hand/forarm turns like this when he throws and I’m not sure if it is safe or not for him.

Here is a link to him throwing. Probably not the best angle.


Pronation of the hand/forearm immediately after ball release is generally a biomechanical inevitability. It is safe as it means the hand/forearm are rotating the same direction as the upper arm (i.e. humerus).

Marshall wants you to pronate prior to ball release.

Nukes dad,

“ you refer to “Forearm Pronate” What exactly does this mean?”

We have 2 joints at the Elbow. The forearm joint turns the Ulna and radius in either direction from a nominally centered position. The forearm rotates around it’s longitudinal axis by forearm pronation or forearm supination. Put your hand out in front of you palm down, turn your thumb down, this is forearm pronation contracted primarily by the pronator terres muscle, turn your thumb up and you witness forearm supination.

“Is it when, for example, the pitching hand of a right hander twists counter clockwise after releasing the ball?”

Yes and no, while it is a good sign that he also releases (recovery phase start) by forearm pronation, the important part is did he drive the ball with forearm pronation and recover the forearm with forearm pronation ?

“My sons hand/forarm turns like this when he throws and I’m not sure if it is safe or not for him.”

To know for sure you need isolated upper torso high speed video from being set at a 2 degree off set looking over the ball side shoulder.

If you are Kinesiologically inclined you can see if he arrives at the back (Humeral/forearm transition arrival at glove side foot plant (benchmark) ) by forearm Pronation or forearm supinating that carries with it where your Humerus will go involuntarily and intuitively.

This is important to get right to protect your child and manifest his best performance.

When you take the ball back by pronating your forearm during the lengthening kinetic (first) chain the Humerus inwardly rotates (internal rotation of the shoulder) some times to full range of motion making it to late to start the rotational acceleration phase, meaning you start to rotate over your Glove leg while your Humerus is still not ready to throw he Humerus must be fully outwardly rotated in order to start the (linear acceleration phase) ball forwards. From this positional start of acceleration the forearm fly’s outwardly causing intuitive forearm supination drive. this is highly injurious to the elbow/forearm joint! and the main Dr. Mike Marshall tenet to learn to mitigate this problem mechanically.

Forearm pronate all your pitch types!

“Here is a link to him throwing.”

Nice, watch when his glove side foot lands and the position his his arm is in, this is very good and allows him to pronate intuitively because of the unseen Humeral/forearm transition at the back that had his Humerus outwardly rotate when he was dropping in. Understand that all directional pitch types can be pronated including the Curve ball.

“Probably not the best angle.”

That’s OK, keep it up it only gets better. The best angle comes from directly above but who has a hanging gantry or cat walk to play with. Be sure to take side and rear views from both the stretch (runner 1st, 2nd, and 3rd) and wind up.

I would say it depends on what you are using them for.

I use plyo ball drills to help pattern my athletes arms and fix and arm path issues. The should rotation is actually slower during these drills and intensity level is low as I am looking to get them to feel what they are doing.

If you are looking to pull down and light up a radar gun I think that they have to meet some fundamental strength requirements to ensure that they have the capacity to meet the demands of throwing over and underweight balls.

The #90mphformula is a great resource for this from Dr. Josh Heenan.

Remember that there needs to be a purpose behind any type of training for an athlete and meet their individual needs.

Hope this helps.

Weighted ball training is very good for young athletes who are looking to go to college for baseball. I personally used weighted balls and saw a big jump in my velocity from 80 mph to 86 mph consistently. There are also big league pitchers who have used this to bounce back from injuries and get better as a pitcher and I think that anything that the pros use are good enough for youth athletes. An example of this is Kyle Zimmer who spent the summer at driveline, which is the company that has been broken through with weighted ball training, throughout this spring, has pitched very well, and his velocity has bounced back very nicely. https://www.mlb.com/news/prospect-kyle-zimmer-progressing-with-royals/c-297588020 . DrStrangeThrow to your opinion that weighted balls shouldn’t be used to throw just slow arm movements is kind of absurd. You can get injured during any type of throwing but the difference between throwing a normal five ounce ball and a heavier ball is the amount of stress put on the elbow according to Mike Reinold. I personally have had no issue with weighted balls and have seem tremendous improvement throughout the years that I have used them. DP2Outs I started using weighted balls at age 16 and haven’t stopped using them. Since I have gotten to college where we have a different weighted program than I was used to it took me a couple weeks in order to adjust but overall have seen no injuries or any setbacks. The most important thing to remember when you have a youth pitcher using weighted balls is to not push it too much and make sure that they use the correct form. It also depends on what kind of weighted ball program you want them to go into there is the weighted baseball six week program or the plyo ball program that most colleges use in order to get their pitchers warmed up faster before the game. The college that I play at uses these everyday unless we have an off day and we follow the program religiously. The main thing about the plyo ball program is that it is not too stressful on the arm it actually helps it recover from days of throwing faster and helps them maintain shoulder and elbow strength. Here is a link that goes farther in depth about a plyocare program and can help you get started with it https://treadathletics.com/plyocare/ most people use driveline balls which are 55$ through their website https://www.drivelinebaseball.com/ I hope that this helped you out in deciding what you should let your kid do.

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Agree on that with you. As far as I know, there are many different types of balls and different materials. The safety baseball, for example, is a bit like the Japanese rubber baseball, which is specially designed for 3- to 5-year-old kid players. They are lighter and softer than cheaper synthetic materials. These baseballs incorporate miniature lightweight aluminum racquets.