A few months ago, I began a training program that I have avoided for the last 10 years as a pitching coach...weighted baseballs. I avoided it because I was always afraid that if I trained pitchers with weighted baseballs, it would put them at a greater risk for injury, and that alone was not worth it. This year, I revisited the concept and my opinion changed after doing a lot of research and after seeing the results of the training.
I read several studies that incorporated weighted baseballs into a training program for pitchers. Every study had the same conclusion: Weighted baseballs increased velocity vs. a control group. The amount of velocity was different for each pitcher. Lower velocity pitchers stand to gain more than a pitcher who is already approaching 90 mph. In one study, the average gain over a period of 12 weeks was 4.1mph. That is a significant improvement in a short time
The most surprising part of doing research on the subject is the suggestion that weighted baseballs may actually reduce pitching injuries. More research must be done to study this, however.
The results from the pitchers that participated in the velocity training class last winter were impressive to say the least. Each pitcher gained at least 3 mph from beginning to end. Some improved velocities by 6 mph! Needless to say, the results exceeded our expectations and we are looking forward to offering a new and improved version of this program next fall. We are most proud of the fact that all pitchers who participated currently have healthy arms.
Finally, training pitchers to improve velocity involves much more than just weighted baseballs. Our program trains pitchers to improve lower half and core strength and flexibility as a part of the velocity training process.
Do you have experience with using weighted baseballs? If so, we would love to learn more about your experience.
Coach Mike Grady
Coach Grady has 10 years experience working with pitchers of all ages through private and group instruction, including 6 years experience as a college pitching coach. This blog is dedicating to helping pitchers of all ages improve their game.
7530 Tim Ave NW Unit A
North Canton, OH 44720
What others have to say:
"My son is in Grady's VIP program and this was his first time focusing on training to be a pitcher. The program is exactly what you want, there is a movement screening, data driven approach to pitch design, mechanics, velocity , and command, along with strength training. My son has improved his velocity, command, movement and off-speed pitches but most importantly he has improved how he thinks as a pitcher and how to actually pitch, not just throw.
My biggest takeaway from the program is that Mike and his coaches care about helping my son reach his goals and support him. My advice to any parent is to sign your son up for the VIP program and make sure he follows it, you will not be sorry!" - Mike Hampu
"My first and lasting impression of Grady's Pitching School is the enthusiasm Mike and his instructors bring to EVERY lesson. They genuinely interested in your players growth and improvement. Mike isn't trying to make every pitcher throw the same way. He analyzes and experiments with each pitcher, e.g. different release points, different grips, etc. to try and maximize their individual skills. Mike's understanding of pitching and pitch design coupled with the technology is second to none. Mike truly uses the technology to enhance the players' training experience. A lot of young players don't understand or possess the self-awareness to make adjustments. The technology and Mike's analysis with your player allows them to not only see what they are doing, but to see how the adjustments immediately impact the results." -Ian Schechterman