Development

Do weighted baseballs work?

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There’s been a lot of discussion about weighted baseballs and their level of effectiveness and safety. Many coaches are strongly against the use of them, while others stand by them religiously.

I will not comment on the science of weighted baseballs, because although I’ve done countless studies on them, science isn’t really my thing. I will say however, that the research I did do on weighted baseballs intrigued me enough to try it.

And that brings me to the point of this article. I wanted to document my own experience of throwing weighted baseballs.

I think it’s safe to say that Kyle Boddy at Driveline Baseball has solidified himself as the guru of weighted baseball training. So discovering Kyle and his program allowed me to dive deep into the research of weighted baseballs.

Lets take a step back for a second and uncover some of my history as a player. I was a second baseman/centerfielder. As a high school player, I was recruited mostly for 2 reasons: I had speed, and I was GREAT with the glove.

However, my lack of arm strength pretty much limited me to second base and the outfield. I had more than enough range and ability with the glove to play shortstop, but my lack of arm strength was a liability.

My freshman year in Junior College I was the Conference Player of the Year as a second baseman. However, the following year I started experiencing elbow pain. This was right around the time when Tommy John was starting to spike in prevalence, and I was scared that I would become another victim.

Foolishly, I stopped throwing altogether in hopes that rest would heal my sore elbow. To my overwhelming surprise, it got WORSE. How could that be? I wasn’t using it for anything!!

An MRI showed inflammation in my elbow, and slight fraying of my UCL, but as a position player and not a pitcher expected to snap off big curveballs, it was expected for me to make a full recovery with just rehab.

I was now entering my third year of Junior College after being forced to redshirt my 2nd year. My arm was “healthy” and almost entirely pain free. But that wasn’t the issue. The issue was that my already below average arm strength had diminished even further. Much, much further.

Although I felt like I was throwing at 100% intensity, I had no zip on the ball. NONE! I was even a liability at second base now, because I couldn’t complete the back end of a double play unless the ball was smoked directly at the shortstop.

With my arm being a liability in the field, I was forced to DH most of my redshirt sophomore year. Which was very unusual considering I wasn’t a home run guy, and still hit leadoff for most of the year.

Needless to say, most big time college recruiters weren’t looking for a leadoff hitter with no position on the field. This heavily limited my options when transferring schools.

Luckily, I had an extremely good Division 2 school that was willing to take a chance on me. But my junior year was much of the same. I played second base, but again could not turn a double play effectively. However, I was hitting and stealing bases and being extremely effective in other aspects of the game so that the coaches HAD to play me.

Finally, with about 2 weeks left in the season, they moved me to centerfield where they could hide my lack of arm by having me just hit the cutoff man who was about 30 feet out into the outfield grass.

I was embarrassed.

Immediately after the season, I started Drivelines weighted baseball program when I found his eBook online. Previously, I had heard mixed reviews on weighted balls, so I was skeptical.

My previous arm injury made me even more skeptical.

But something HAD to change! As a competitor and a tireless worker, I couldn’t stand having a part of my game be such a liability.

So I decided to give the weighted baseball program a try. At the time, I rationalized my lack of information and research about weighted baseballs and their safety with this:

“I’m either going to get a stronger arm, or I’m going to blow out my arm trying. I’m not going back for my senior year with the same horseshit arm I’ve had the last 2 years. If I blow out my arm, so what! I’m 22 years old at the tail end of my career. I have NOTHING to lose!”

This mindset allowed me to attack the weighted ball program without the fear of getting hurt. I didn’t care.

So the summer going into my senior year, I did the program religiously. And not just chucking weighted balls as hard as I could into a net. No, not just that. I did the intense warm-up with plyocare balls and J-bands. As well as the cool-down afterwards.

My first day on the program my best throw was 71mph on a crow hop. As a COLLEGE baseball player. A STARTER for a good Division 2 program. You read that right, 71 mph!!!

I was disgusted!!

So every other day (3 days a week) that summer, you would find me at the field for about 1.5 hours a day. Throwing. Throwing different color balls, different weighted balls, different sized balls. Throwing these balls as hard as I could. Nothing to lose.

“You either get a stronger arm, or you blow it out trying,” said the little voice inside me. Beads of sweat dripping down my face and my drenched grey t-shirt stuck to my back.

By the end of the summer (3 months later) I was consistently 77-78 mph.

This was GOOD progress.

And I was pleased enough to continue the program through the fall season on top of our daily collegiate practices.

Needless to say, my arm was exhausted. On top of all the throwing we did in practice everyday, I was continuing to do my 1.5 hour routine of throwing weighted baseballs every other day. I was “hanging”, as us baseball players say.

But I pushed through those days where my arm just didn’t feel up to it. I couldn’t afford to miss any days! I wasn’t good enough to miss any days.

Something funny began to happen after about the 5-month mark. My arm started to feel healthier. My arm wasn’t as easily fatigued. I could throw not only harder, but also with more effort for LONGER periods of time.

Hmm.. This was interesting…

I kept pushing.

I decided I would do the weighted ball program through Christmas break (January 9th), and then l would back off for about 3 weeks to let my body recover before the first game of the season.

So January 9th was my last “test” day. The last day to throw the ball as hard as I can in front of a radar gun.

I threw the ball 84-85 mph that day.

14 mph gain in 7 months.

I led my team in outfield assists my senior year. Two of them saving a game winning run that our team would eventually go on to win.

Now that I’m coaching, I hear more and more debates about whether or not weighted baseballs are healthy, or if they even work.

If you ask me the science behind it, I’ll refer you to Kyle Boddy.

But if you ask me whether or not it works and is healthy, I’ll say yes 100% of the time!

I show you the exact throwing program I used in my FREE ebook which you can access by entering your email below…

About Brian Hamm

My name is Brian Hamm and I am all about "Baseball Development". Through my journey as a high school and college player, I always felt that a competitive advantage eluded me. I constantly researched and discovered new resources, ideas, and theories that have shaped how I coach today. It’s my goal to work relentlessly in order to give my players, clients, and coaches the biggest competitive advantage that will allow them to reach their full potential. My mission is to spread my knowledge to baseball players around the world and help change the developmental process forever.

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