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Using Weighted Balls for Training


 From: Jack Leonard jll@jyc.com
Topic: Practice Balls Date: 
Wednesday, December 11, 1996 11:29 AM

You can make 11" or 12" weighted balls by driving large finishing nails in them BUT what are you going to do with 14" & 16" BALLS ?

 Jack Leonard


From: Bob Hale (bhale@juliet.stfx.ca
Topic: Practice Balls 
Date: Wednesday, December 11, 1996 07:35 AM

I am looking for practice balls - Weighted, 14 or 16 inch softballs. Does anyone know where I can find them.  By the way, what is the weight of a 12 and 11 inch softball--generally speaking. I have also purchased weighted softballs, a 9,10,11,& 12 ounce ball. I have also added nails to an old ball to increase the weight, but what does the typical softball weigh? I also would like to know some drills to use with weighted balls.

 Bob Hale bhale@stfx.ca


From: Casey Clutch jclutch@inetdirect.net
Topic: Practice Swings 
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996 07:02 PM  Denny Throneburg (Casey, IL) in a pitching clinic I attended talk about the use of weighted balls and underweight balls to develop pitchers and spoke of the under loading principles. Can't say I have used it but there are people out there using it and have been successful at it. It would make sense if it works for pitching it should work for batting. :)

 Our association just bought several sets of weighted balls (1 lb and 2 lb) for each of the age group teams.

 I wonder if I could have some advice on how to use them? Specifically:

 - are they safe for the younger pitchers (u12, u14..to u19)? (I worry about the strain on young arms - especially doing the full circle windmill)

 - should they be used for full pitching motion or just pendulum or ??

 - who the devil is going to catch the 2 pound ball? (don't look at me.)

 - any other tips or drills (I do have Barry Sammons book but I don't recall if it addressed the younger pitchers in the conditioning section.)


...Wayne Wilson

Coach, St. Albert Angels, Alberta, Canada.

 From: Jack Leonard (internet:jll@jyc.com

Topic: New Bat Technology Rev 2 
Date: Tuesday, January 07, 1997 08:26 AM

When hit in the sweetspot (1" on a singlewall, 5"on a doublewall)it is the same. How many players ALWAYS hit the sweetspot ? Have your daughter hit some new balls with a TPS bat that has been scrubbed with a BRILLO pad and observe where the new ball marks are.Have you ever noticed sometimes a girl will hit a ball the same way she always hits but the ball takes off? It is because the ball has hit the sweet spot. As I have stated earlier the doublewall bat will make a girl with good bat speed THROUGH the ball a great hitter.The Doublewalls are slighly more end weighted than the TPSs.

 Jack Leonard

 Hi Stella..

Check the recent archives - I posted a question about weighted balls about a month back - there were a couple of relevent replies (we fpf folk tend to get off topic often.)

 What weight is your ball? The one's our association bought (I didn't ask for them) are 1 lb. and 2 lb. In Barry Sammons book  he talks of using weighted balls - but he's talking about 9 or 10 oz balls.

 I think the 1 and 2 lb. balls are much to heavy for youth to use for any pitching motion. My (18 yr old) daughter uses them for wrist strengthening only (wrist flips) but she won't use them at all with the younger pitchers she works with. When I want the u14 girls to work with added weight I just give them a 12 inch ball (they play with 11").

 Bottom line: be careful - youth muscles and joints can be fragile while they're developing. I'd only use a 1 to 3 oz extra weight at most.

 ...Wayne Wilson

Coach, St. Albert Angels, Alberta, Canada.



 Weighted balls are great for strengthening the fingers/wrist, forearm, and biceps. A hole drilled through a ball with a bungee chord attached does the same thing, with less cost. The bungee isn't as much fun as seeing the ball go out of the hand, but it doesn't require a catcher, just commitment and dedication. We use the weighted ball, but only at close distances, emphasizing the leverage from, and strengthening the fingers.

 We also stress throwing across the front (open), allowing the muscles to support the joints. Be careful when throwing for distance with a weighted ball. Excess distraction forces on the joints in one arena are frowned on. And then in the other, exercises are promoted that increase it. Go figure.

With a right handed pitcher, in my opinion, the movement of the arm, in an open position, with the arm coming down and going across the front, from the right side, to the left side, is in the most natural, and physically the strongest path it can be in. This allows the muscles to support the action more. The closer to the center the stronger the position of the arm is in. And in this path it stays close to the center for the longest amount of travel prior to the release.


John Gay

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 There is one universal truth in pitch speed, IMHO, and that is this.... The ball can go no faster the last body part to touch it. The finger speed determines ball speed. But the fingers are moved by the wrist, wrist by the forearm, etc.. The point is that all these parts must work together correctly, thus mechanics come before speed. It is also true that the fingers and hand move faster when tension is reduced. A relaxed arm and wrist and fingers work then like a whip rather than like a solid lever. These mechanics also work to distribute the forces more evenly throughout the shoulders and arm, reducing the likelihood of injury.

 Once the mechanics are sound, I have had the best success in developing speed by having our pitchers throw into a net target from close range...5-10 ft, concentrating on strong push, solid plant, and hip/knee closure. The use of the net takes away any fear of wild throws, and lets the pitcher concentrate on the power mechanics and wrist snap. This method also allows for rapid repetitions by using 20-30 balls from a bucket. This drill also helps build up fast twitch muscle fibers and helps on conditioning the muscles for more work.

 Careful use of a weighted ball for wrist snap drills also helps is developing more speed through stronger wrist snap. I do not use weighted balls for full or even half speed throwing in full motion.

Mike Oliver Olathe Ks L'Eagles 12A



 Excellent point concerning safety, especially with the live ball the colleges use now.

  • what happens with the body

  • after the ball passes the

  • centerline of the body?

 The momentum and weight of the arm, plus the leverage applied to the ball (with my students after they become fast and flexible, we use muscles to assist a good motion) will bring the shoulder around, which will bring the upper body around, which will bring the hips around, into a fielding position.

 Even if they don't come around, or stay open, they are:

 1. Already into the flow of the game, even before the ball is out of the hand very far, pitchers will know where it will go in the strike zone. Being aware of the location should bring them to attention faster than any one else on the team if it is a fat pitch, or to the batters strength. (Usually a fielder has to wait until the batter swings, then judging from the swing, and pitchers speed, they will know how to react to the ball).

 2. The pitcher is a thinner target being sideways, glove is on the side to the batter, and the pitcher only has to move the glove up or down to protect themselves. She is not in a better fielding position. But she is in a safer position. If she is sideways, she is not able to point her belly button to the ball, so if she doesn't catch it with the mitt she can block the ball with her body keeping the ball in front of her. (Good mechanics),(Ouch). If she has slow reflexes she is in danger facing, or sideways.

 IMHO a lot of pitchers are side tracked away from their #1 job, to pitch the ball as good as they can. Many times I have seen otherwise good pitchers coming around too soon, taking away from the pitching leverage, by being more concerned about fielding that pitching. Every pitch, is the most important pitch, of the game. Approach each pitch with vigor and enthusiasm, one pitch at a time. Then, after they have used all of their ability to pitch the ball, their #1 job is to field the ball.

 3. One thing I picked up from Ron Boldon (I should have thought of it myself), is to get the glove up and protect the face after the pitch. Especially with the new live balls.

  • We have a guy in our program

  • who teaches the kids to stay in the

  • open position, closing the

  • pivot foot to the stride foot

I teach to bring the knees together. The weight from the legs keeps you upright on the landing as opposed to the knees being apart, acting as a counter weight for a person that bends forward at the waist. Bringing the feet together tends to stiffen the legs, and subtracts from the leverage applied when the stride leg extends aggressively, or holds the body against a firm front side, after the landing.

 I use the weighted ball for strengthening drills not to teach pitching motion.


John Gay


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I agree with Barry that pitching is an anaerobic activity (oxygen not used as an energy source) and do recognize that aerobic conditioning assists a pitcher keep her overall stamina throughout a game. It is also important to remember that increased pitching power (or speed) is probably more easily attained by improving mechanics than by attempting to improve the ability of the muscles to produce force. Pitching by itself trains the muscles and in order for further training to take place, overloading must take place.

I would like to first go into further depth on anaerobic energy delivery and then speculate on possible training drills which are specific to improving this energy delivery process in the pitching motion.

There are basically two types of anaerobic exercise. The basic difference between the two is the length of time of the activities . Remember that anaerobic activities are intense explosive activities. For short duration activities (1-5 sec) the energy required for the activity comes from immediate energy stores (ATP & CP) within the muscle cells itself. With adequate rest between exercises, the muscles are able to fully recover without any fatigue problems. This more or less describes the pitching motion. In contrast, intense activities of longer duration (10-25 sec) require more energy than can be delivered from ATP & CP within the muscle cells. Muscle glycogen is used which results in the formation of lactic acid. Most people can relate to the burning or heavy feeling in a muscle after prolonged intense activity.

Training the energy supply system for anaerobic activities requires repeated bouts of intense activity which use the identical muscles of the activity being trained for. Where lactic acid production is not a factor in the activity, shorter bouts of activity should be used.

Therefore when trying to train the energy supply system for the pitching motion, the exercise should used the muscles used in the pitching motion (pitching itself therefore makes the best sense) and it should be a short intense explosive activity. The difficulty becomes providing resistance which can be added to the normal pitching motion. Weighted balls come to mind in terms of overloading the system. However, due to the increased centrifugal forces applied to the shoulder, there is an increased risk of injury. In an older  pitching manual I have seen a drill where resistance is applied throughout the pitching motion by holding onto both ends of a bat and having the non pitching hand lead the motion and provide resistance. I feel this drill would suffer due to a slower speed. I must admit the exercise which theoretically shows the most promise to increase force which can be provided by the pitching muscles is the Finch Windmill. I have never had the good fortune to see or use the device but it appears to have the ability of overloading the muscles without overly increasing strain forces at the shoulder. I'll cut this discussion off, I'm running on.

Bill Daub, Edmonton Warriors, U14, Alberta, Canada



 I would like to send you my evaluation of the Finch Windmill.  Feel free to use this information in your advertising.

The Finch Windmill is a well-constructed, well-designed piece of equipment. I believe the Finch Windmill to be the best of all the devices available that are used to train the shoulder muscles used in the windmill pitching motion.  While weighted balls may appear to offer similar benefits, they have the disadvantage of adding centrifugal forces to the shoulder joint, which increase the risk of rotator cuff injury.  The Finch Windmill applies forces, which only oppose the rotational pulling forces of the pitching motion, thus minimizing the risk of training injury. 

For the same  reasons, the Windmill is also a very useful device for training the muscles used in the "over the top" overhand throwing motion. The arm motion utilized in this throwing technique is closely mimicked by the Finch Windmill which, as in the pitching motion, allows the muscles to be trained with slightly increased resistance in the same coordinated movement.

Power, a function of speed and strength, is of prime importance in pitching and throwing.  The Finch Windmill allows for high-speed training with increased resistance and an ultimate increase in power, all under controlled conditions.

It would also appear that the Finch Windmill would be an excellent device use with patients rehabilitating from shoulder problems.  With its' infinitely variable resistance, it could be used for both strengthening, even at very low levels, and increasing range of motion.

Bill Daub

Exercise Physiologist

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada



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