Weighted balls


#1

Coachs,
I have been coaching little league for a long time and am learning all the time as well.
My pitching question is about using weighted balls, I am currently coaching
9-10yr olds,
I have been using a weighted ball with my son, but I was wondering what you or others think about it. I have never used these in the past.
Thanks


#2

I really hope your kids mechanics are sound and they are throwing a regulation ball pain free and without soreness. Weighted Balls will only speed up the process of injury. I didn’t let my son throw weighted balls until he was close to 13 yrs old. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first but it did jump his velocity. It took hard work and dedication and careful monitoring but the strides were tremendous. Some things to consider though:

  • tubing
  • core exercises
  • mechanics(private pitching coach)
  • video taping
  • long toss
  • weighted balls

Were all key in the process. Knowing your child’s threshold is key as well. But if it were up to me I believe weighted balls at 9/10 yrs old is not a good idea. Most kids at 9/10 do not have great mechanics. Work on the mechanics first before moving on to the balls. Heck we are still tweaking mechanics as we speak , we have been for the past 3 years!!!


#3

I don’t believe that using weighted balls makes sense because most of the power in a throw is generated by the legs and the torso, not the arm. The arm’s main role in the throw is to release the ball at the proper moment, and the research that I have seen suggests that throwing with weighted balls messes up that timing.


#4

50% of your total velocity is generated from your shoulder to your fingertips. To ignore this is to doom yourself to mediocrity.


#5

Based on high speed analysis of pitchers, many people have come to believe that this is a questionable number.

Other studies put the contribution of the arm at more like 20%.


#6

I use backwards chaining with my pitchers, start with arm action and work backwards. I’ve seen and documented on our charts that when I have them throw with nothing but their arm(chest facing target, no shoulder rotation, etc). That their velocity is 50% or greater of what it is when they do a full throw. What studies are you citing? If what you are saying is true, with no rotation of the shoulders using this drill, Billy Wagner would only be able to throw around 20 MPH. Sorry, but that’s hogwash.


#7

In my opinion and experience, the value of the internal rotation of the shoulder is greatly overrated. You can see this if you look at anyone who throws like a girl; they only get their power from the internal rotation of the shoulder, the extension of the elbow, and the flexion of the wrist. I’d say 20 MPH when throwing this way is just about right (even for Billy Wagner).


#8

Based on high speed analysis of pitchers, many people have come to believe that this is a questionable number.[/quote]I’m with you on this one Chris but I’m not going to speculate as to what the number really is.

That being said, I prefer the holistic approach where arm action is one of the tools in the toolbox I don’t want to ignore. I don’t want to ignore any of them.


#9

I agree, but I think that people tend to put too much emphasis on the arm (which is the obvious – but most likely incorrect – thing to emphasize).


#10

I don’t believe that using weighted balls makes sense because most of the power in a throw is generated by the legs and the torso, not the arm. The arm’s main role in the throw is to release the ball at the proper moment, and the research that I have seen suggests that throwing with weighted balls messes up that timing.[/quote]

Where is the research you have seen? Show me the research that specifically states weighted baseballs hurt ones control. Not some smuck telling me it hurts control but real research with people employing weighted baseballs and the research indicating their control is suffering as a result from them. They have already been proven to increase velocity by many many people Coop Derennes being the most prolific. So please post the link you have that states with research what you are saying. What you think about them is 100% irrelevant to me for reasons that you already know, where is the research that you said you have seen that discredits weighted baseballs?


#11

I apologize but I had to stand up and clap my hands on this one!

We work on this at least twice a week as well. Single most thing that helped my son’s control was backwards chaining!


#12

I don’t believe that using weighted balls makes sense because most of the power in a throw is generated by the legs and the torso, not the arm. The arm’s main role in the throw is to release the ball at the proper moment, and the research that I have seen suggests that throwing with weighted balls messes up that timing.[/quote]

??? Chris ? Where is this research? I have personally seen my son’s arm speed develop using a good weighted ball program. :lol:


#13

I think this article by Dick Mills makes sense…

http://www.pitching.com/article_11.php

I also think that some of the benefit from using weighted balls could be due to the added practice, not from the weighted balls per se.


#14

Here’s some documented research…

EFFECTS OF THROWING OVERWEIGHT AND UNDERWEIGHT BASEBALLS
ON THROWING VELOCITY AND ACCURACY

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.

Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC, 27710

American Sports Medicine Institute
Birmingham, AL 35205

Running Header: Throwing Overweight and Underweight Baseballs

Re-Submitted September 3, 1999

SPORTS MEDICINE

The purpose of this review was to determine how throwing overweight and underweight baseballs affects baseball throwing velocity and accuracy. Two studies examined how a warm-up with overweight baseballs affected throwing velocity and accuracy of 5 oz regulation baseballs. One of these studies showed significant increases in throwing velocity and accuracy, while the other study found no significant differences. Three training studies (6-12 weeks in duration) using overweight baseballs were conducted to determine how they affected ball accuracy while throwing regulation baseballs. No significant differences were found in any study. From these data it is concluded that warming up or training with overweight baseballs does not improve ball accuracy. Seven overweight and four underweight training studies (6 - 12 weeks in duration) were conducted to determine how throwing velocity of regulation baseballs was affected due to training with these overweight and underweight baseballs. The overweight baseballs ranged in weight between 5.25-17 oz, while the underweight baseballs were between 4-4.75 oz. Data from these training studies strongly support the practice of training with overweight and underweight baseballs to increase throwing velocity of regulation baseballs. Since no injuries were reported throughout the training studies, throwing overweight and underweight baseballs may not be more stressful to the throwing arm compared to throwing regulation baseballs. However, since currently there are no injury data related to throwing overweight and underweight baseballs, this should be the focus of subsequent studies. In addition, research should be initiated to determine whether throwing kinematics and kinetics are different between throwing regulation baseballs and throwing overweight and underweight baseballs.

Professor Coop-DeRenne, University of Hawaii has done at least 8 studies over 10 or more years involving at least 200 pitchers and has never had an injury!!! More specifically:

1982: Pilot Study

Purpose: To determine the effects of overload AND underload baseballs on throwing velocity over a 10 week program.

Subjects: 10 high school pitchers.

Group 1: underload baseballs
Group 2: overload baseballs

Results: 1. Significant increases in velocities with both groups. 2. Average gains were approximately twice as great would underload group (4.5 MPH), then in the overload group of (2.9 MPH). 3.no arm injuries.

1984: Replication of 1982

Purpose: to compare the effects of overloaded AND underload baseballs want throwing velocity over a 10 week training program.

Subjects: 30 high school pitchers.
Group 1: overload
Group 2: underload
Group 3: control group

Results: 1.significant velocity increases. 2.Group 1 gains equal 4 MPH, Group 2 gains equal 5 MPH, Group 3 gains equal.88 MPH. No arm injuries.

1986: Underload Project

Purpose: to determine the effects of underload baseball training on throwing velocity over a 10 week training program.

Subjects: 34 high school pitchers.
Group 1: underload
Group 2: control group

Results: 1.significant increases, Group 1, underload it, gains 3 MPH, Group 2, control group, decreased 1/2 MPH. No arm injuries.

1987: Integral Project

Purpose: To compare two integral weighted implement training programs on throwing velocity.

Subjects: 41 high school pitchers
Group 1: heavy-light-normal weight sequence
Group 2: heavy-normal; light-normal
Group 3: control group

70 University pitchers
Group 1: heavy-light-normal weight sequence
Group 2: heavy-normal weight; light-normal weight
Group 3: control group

Results: 1.significant increases in throwing velocity. 2.Group 1 5 MPH and 4 MPH gains respectively; Group 2,5 MPH and 3 MPH gains respectively; Group 3,. 9/10th MPH and-2.8 MPH loss respectively. No arm injuries reported.

1988: Replication of 1987

Purpose: To determine the effects of two integral weighted implement training programs on throwing velocity over a 10 week training program.

Subjects: 110 University pitchers

Group 1: heavy-light-standard weight sequence
Group 2: heavy-standard; light-standard weights
Group 3: control group

Results: 1.significant increases. 2.Group 1, 3 MPH gains; 2.Group 2, 3 MPH gains; 3.Group 3,-3 MPH loss. No arm injuries reported.

Based on the above studies one can say the following:

  1. That warming up using overload or should I say weighted baseballs did not appear to improve throwing velocity immediately after warming up with them.

  2. Using weighted (over load and under load) baseballs did significantly improve throwing velocity.

  3. Using weighted baseballs did not affect accuracy.

  4. There were no reported injuries in any of the studies.


#15

I think this article by Dick Mills makes sense…

http://www.pitching.com/article_11.php

I also think that some of the benefit from using weighted balls could be due to the added practice, not from the weighted balls per se.[/quote]

Sorry Chris but dick Mills opinion on weighted baseballs is NOT research. In fact it exactly what I said I didnt want to see, its some SMUCKS opinion on weighted basballs! What Bamajeff posted is research.


#16

[quote=“chinmusic”]…dick Mills opinion on weighted baseballs is NOT research. …its some SMUCKS opinion on weighted basballs! What Bamajeff posted is research.[/quote]Chin. As a point of clarification, Dr. Brent Rushall is the one who’s feeding Dick Mills’ about weighted balls. He also goes into detail about why the research on weighted balls (including the one shown above) is, in his words, confounded and therefore irrelevant, including Coupe de Renne, Flesig, etc. In his recent book, Rushall writes/evaluates several research studies and finds, in his estimation, that they each have critical errors in method. I have no way of refuting or corroborating Rushall’s statements but thought I’d just add this as a clarification. I know the reactions Mills elicits but Rushall’s the one to look at with much of what Mills is saying these days. I know CADad believes that Rushall’s just a pawn of Mills but Rushall’s the one saying all of this and is the one who wrote 90% of the book. So, his arguments are the ones that must be refuted. Going at Mills, although many have fun doing this, just isn’t enough.


#17

???

Looks like an opinion to me and not research?


#18

[quote=“baseballbum”]Looks like an opinion to me and not research?[/quote]I guess you could say that. It’s an opinion about the research methods. I just don’t have the credentials to say whether Rushall’s statements are right or wrong.


#19

I have similar concerns. Given my understanding of how the pitching motion works, I don’t doubt that the benefits (though small) are real. The question is whether the benefits are due to the weighted balls or to something else.


#20

What if the baseball had originally been 6 oz instead of 5? Would there be a concern about the ball being heavier than 5 oz or would we be having a debate about how it is bad to be throwing a 5 oz ball? What if the ball had originally been only 4 oz? In other words, I am not convinced that there was ever any real science put into creating a 5 oz ball. Nor do I think baseball got lucky and just happened to pick the perfect weight.

Getting into a debate about whether or not the mind can handle the difference of the throwing one ball verses another is beyond me. But it does seem that when I throw a 6 oz ball with my son (very modestly) that after a few throws my body and mind simply adjust. When I come back to a 5 oz ball my mind and body readjust after a few throws. When I throw a football it takes me a few throws and then my mind and body adjust.