In the third episode of the @Topvelocity #pitchingtips we discuss how weighted balls can be beneficial to pitching velocity. Studies have shown that weighted balls do help pitching velocity, but the increases only tends to be 2-3 mph. Sometimes, people go up more than the average, but our point is that usually you don’t see tremendous gains of velocity from weighted ball programs. We recommend that if you want to gain velocity you should go with a full body training approach to develop explosive power. The way the kinetic chain works is by transferring power from the ground all the way up the body to the arm. So, pitchers should train to build power from the ground up by developing an explosive lower half. Once they have added the power and learned the correct mechanics of a high velocity pitcher then they can move onto the end of the chain which would be weighted balls.
Pitching Mechanics and Weighted Baseballs
Players who want to throw at a higher velocity usually have something technically wrong with their body that is keeping them from 90+ mph. For example, they might not have enough power or they might have mobility issues. These issues can cause you to alter your mechanics in order to try and maximize your velocity. Oftentimes, this puts too much stress on the arm and leads to injury. So, if you are one of those guys it can be extremely dangerous to try and do a weighted program with those poor movement patterns. All you would be doing is adding a load to dysfunction and that never ends well. Instead you should build the power and learn the correct mechanics and then you can add the weighted balls. This is the best and safest way to obtain the benefits of weighted ball training.
Coach Steven shows us the leaderboard in this episode to give an example of the power you need to build before you attempt working with weighted balls. The guys on our leaderboard are the most powerful athletes that have came through Topvelocity and it is no coincidence that they also have the highest velocity. High velocity pitchers are extremely athletic and they need to be in order to power themselves through the positions that they put their bodies into. All of our athletes had to develop the same explosive power that high velocity pitchers have in order to start seeing the velocity gains. We recommend that you try to get near a 30+ inch vertical jump, near a 10 ft broad jump, and around a 1.5 10 yard dash. To get these numbers they needed to be very strong and explosive in the weight room. It was only after they developed the power and learned the mechanics of a high velocity pitcher that they started training with weighted balls in level 3 of the 3x program.
In review, pitchers need to develop the correct mechanics and build explosive power before they attempt to start a weighted ball program. Building the power first and fixing your mobility issues will allow you to more easily adapt to the high velocity pitcher’s mechanics. Once you have developed the power and learned the correct mechanics then you can begin working withe weighted balls to increase throwing velocity. Learning the correct mechanics of a high velocity pitcher makes it safer to train with weighted balls because you are using the kinetic chain to take stress of the arm. If you plan on doing a weighted ball program without good mechanics proceed with caution because you can seriously damage your arm. In some cases it may require surgery. So, be smart about it, develop explosive power first, then learn the mechanics and then train with weighted balls.