Weighted balls substitute for long toss?

i was wondering if throwing weighted baseballs could be a good substitute for long toss.

I ask this because last year we received record rainfall and had extraordinary number of games cancelled because of rain.

[quote] Weighted baseball program

  1. 6 oz. 20 throws @ 70 feet
  2. 4 oz. 20 throws @ 70 feet
  3. 5 oz. 20 throws @ 70 feet[/quote]

This is the program I use. Could weighted baseballs be a good substitute for long tossing? To me it seems like it would and if it rains as much as it did last year, I need to still be able to get me arm stronger a consistent basis.

Thoughts, feedback, opinions are more than welcome. Thank you!

There is evidence showing that weighted baseball training can increase velocity, while there is no scientific evidence supporting an increase of velocity by long tossing. However, long tossing does have its benefits. Using both in collaboration would be much more beneficial.

Take a look at these two articles:
Baseball Long Toss: The Never Ending Debate

Weighted Baseballs Increase Pitching Velocity?

Logic tells me that long toss strengthens the arm. You have to use more energy to throw a ball 300 ft than 200 ft. I also think that it helps with arm action by allowing the throwing to keep a lose arm and develop good habits, which would lead to velocity increase.

Is your opinion of my question that I should use weighted baseballs instead of long tossing?

I said that you could use both training methods together for maximum results. Long loss will help condition your arm, but there is no proof that it increases velocity. And as far as “good habits,” long toss actually does not develop good habits because it forces you to alter your throwing motion by throwing the ball further. Especially when you are throwing over 120 feet.

How should they be split? How often should I do both in-season? I will probably be a starting pitcher, so I will pitch 1 to maybe 2 times a week and I would long toss before games. I think we would have 2-4 games a week and practice on everyday but Sundays. That all hinges on no rain, which probably won’t happen.

Depending on how my team does, I should have a brief window between high school and travel.

What would your advice be on how and what I should throw?

Typically, you should only use a weighted baseball training program during the off-season, but continue using long toss throughout the regular season. If you’re pitching on three days rest, and you are pitching on Thursday for example. You should long toss Monday and Tuesday, and probably only extend out to about 90 or so feet the day prior to your start.

I wouldn’t recommend and many other pitching instructors would not recommend using weighted baseballs during the season. If your season is beginning soon, just focus on long toss and developing your rotator cuff through rotator cuff exercises with either 2.5 to 5 pound weights, or with cords.

On what days do you normally have baseball games?

Depending on whether your doing a losing phase in which you throw on an arc this article about indoor long toss my Alan Jaeger might be worth a read


It rains a lot here, too. Weighted baseballs are still not a substitute for long toss.

I think, liked stated by TheUltimatePitcher, that long toss isent a magic bullet to more velocity. But I dont understand the limits on distance. There was a quote in the linked article from Tommy John, paraphrasing, “Shortstops dont longtoss, so, why would pitchers.” Its that sort of simpleminded tunnel vision that has idiot high school football coaches all over the country implementing lifting programs were a defensive tackle and a wide receiver are doing the same workouts and running programs. Of course you have to put an arc on the ball to extend to 200, 250 or 300 feet. So what? Clearly it takes more arm strength (the conditioning element that Ultimate spoke of) to throw the increased distances regardless of arc (you reach a point where if the arc is too steep it will shorten the throw). The element that Jaeger really tries to get across in his program is the part where you throw coming back in, back down to 60 feet, with the same intensity and arm speed that it takes to throw say 280 feet. The key thing that is developed (potentially) is arm speed and…buzz word warning…“intent” to throw with a high degree of effort that probably wouldnt be duplicated if someone never progressed beyond 120 ft. As for mechanics getting messed up, Im sure it has happened before, which means the person probably didnt really have locked in machanics to begin with. Any workout whether it is weighted balls, longtoss, lifting or sprinting has to be translated to the mound to have any effect on meaningful velocity. I dont see a difference between longtoss and anything else.

I agree with you. But I also agree with ultimatepitcher, they should both be used in a program. I believe there hasn’t been any research showing that long toss is effective of ineffective because it’s different for every person. I believe if you long toss consistently with enough intensity, just like with nay workout, you will see an increase in arm strength. I also believe the same with weighted balls.

Fall of my junior year I threw 73 mph. With a winter of hard work, a crazy exercise class, weighted baseballs, and constant throwing, I threw 79-82 that January at tryouts. I never long tossed because I live in Ohio and that’s impossible to do when there’s a foot of snow plus 2 degree weather.

A thought just occurred to me, could these programs be combined in the same workout. I wouldn’t be able to throw weighted baseballs before games, but I wouldn’t want to either. But say on a day where I was throwing to strengthen my arm, I long toss, like the Jaeger program, then after my final pull-downs I threw my weighted baseballs? It seems like the best of both worlds.

Also, I have another question, how many throws should I make at each part of the pull down? Is it just a ‘how you feel’ thing like when you are moving back?

Let me know what you all think. Thank you for your input!

Great discussion.

I feel that you need to use them both.

It might rain a lot but you can still get out there when it isn’t raining and LT. The other option is to get some LT in as a part of your pregame warm up.

I’ve seen guys use the weighted balls in season, not sure how that worked for them. I’ve also seen guys use weighted balls before and after a LT session.

I used weighted balls as a part of my rehab and during my offseason as well as LT and I felt that it was beneficial using both. Rather then one or the other. Side note before my rehab I use to just LT.

Okay so for the pull down throws Alan Jaeger goes into depth a little more but you should be making throws every 10 feet back on the way in and around 20-25 throws when your arm is in good condition.

For in-season long toss schedule, Trevor Bauer summed up in his tweet what his throwing in between starts as:
Trevor Bauer ‏ @BauerOutage
@MStrooo7 day after: mild long toss. day 2: long toss and spin breaking balls. day 3: long toss and bullpen. day 4: touch and feel, 5: start
* The mild long toss days would involve not aggressively pulling down after the stretching out phase.

Also I know in Tuff Cuff Mr. Ellis is quoted about saying “When I reached the point in my off-season throwing where I moved onto the pitcher’s mound… I stopped using weighted balls because I didn’t want to place too much stress on my arm.”

And for the comments about long toss being a cure for velocity or questioning intent Eric Cressey has this article about the top 4 long toss mistakes

Long toss is just one component to the work a pitcher needs to do, along with lifting, sprints, running, rotator cuff work, stretching, etc. If there was one cure it wouldn’t be that hard to succeed.

Thank you for the links!

Jimster said: “A thought just occurred to me, could these programs be combined in the same workout.”

There would be others more qualfied to answer this than me, but, I would assume it would be the overuse aspect of doing two different types of throwing programs at the same time. High intensity throwing is going to require some recovery time.

As for coming back in on longtoss, we dont do a set number of throws or a throw every 10 yards or anything, just sort of a slow walk back in, so, going from say 270 feet back to 60 feet maybe would get in 12-20 throws depending on the day. As long as the intensity stays up and as you get back in you keep hitting your target chest high and throws are straight your good. When we get back to 60 feet my son will usually want to take 5-15 throws, depending on the day, at the same intensity but really focusing on throwing strikes, in his experience this makes it more transferable to the mound. Im assuming this relates to release point.

It is easy to let the intensity slip on the throws coming back in as you know your closer. Dan Blewett has a short article on his website (danblewett.com) about working the longtoss with Alan Jaeger in L.A. just a few days ago. Gives a good first hand about the “pull down” phase of coming back in.