Weighted balls are a fairly common training device for pitchers, but one that really needs some caution thrown into the mix.
Here are 5 tips that will help you pitchers as they practice with weighted balls.
As many of your pitchers demonstrate, pitching a standard weight ball is hard enough, so adding more weight can sometimes make things worse, rather than better.
To make sure your pitchers get the most benefit out of practicing with weighted balls, here are 5 tips for pitching with weighted balls:
- Be Careful with Younger Pitchers – With pitchers 12 years old and younger be REALLY careful using any ball heavier than the standard ball. Their shoulder joints are still growing and developing and the extra weight can sometimes cause joint problems so they really shouldn’t be used for this age group.
- Limit Reps and Distance – For pitchers 13 yrs and older that are still developing both physically and fundamentally – their limited use can be good. Limit the time you use them to no more than 8 pitches, from no farther than ¾ distance.
- Keep the Fundamentals the Same – If a pitcher has to change her pitching motion even the slightest bit in order to pitch a weighted ball, then it’s not doing her any good. Many pitchers will really struggle to pitch a weighted ball and will use more shoulders, head or upper body than in their regular motion. If so, then it’s only teaching the pitcher how to throw incorrectly. Remember, you never want to work harder to get worse!
- Go Lighter to Throw Faster – To help increase speed, a lighter ball helps a ton! Pitching a lighter ball makes it much easier for a pitcher to speed her hand up at release, thus pitching the ball faster. Try pitching the lighter ball a few times, then the regular ball a few times and continue alternating. Have your pitcher work on keeping her hand speed at release as fast with the regular ball as she does with the lighter ball.
- Trying to Get Stronger – pitching strength comes from having stronger legs, stomach, back and hands. If you’re using weighted balls to help your pitcher get stronger, then make sure she’s also strengthening these other major areas that pitchers use on every single pitching motion. For a GREAT pitching strength drill check out the Basketball Pitch eDrill.
Another option to the weighted training ball is our 14” Training Softball. I love this ball because it is designed with a special cover that has a unique feel, which allows pitchers to improve their grip. The raised seams on the ball help pitchers learn how to better use their hand – thus improving their release, spin and overall pitching.
And on the other side of the size spectrum, our Zip Ball (7” in circumference) is one of the best pitching training aids ever developed to teach wrist snap and how to put spin on the ball.
For all of our great pitching training tools:
- Pitching Training Aids
- The Complete Book of Pitching
- 30 Drills for Pitchers Manual
- Practices & Workouts for Pitchers Drill Manual
- Pitching DVDs
For all of our great pitching eLearning (on-line training) products: