When my son played youth baseball, weighted baseballs were all the rage. Just a few ounces heavier than a regulation-weight baseball — and available in a few different weights — these balls supposedly helped players to improve arm strength and throwing velocity.
A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the effects of lightweight (4.4 oz.) baseballs with regulation-weight baseballs (which weigh between 5.0 and 5.25 ounces) on throwing accuracy, throwing velocity, arm swing velocity, and minimum shoulder external rotation, in adolescent players.
Study authors found that “pitching training with an appropriate lightweight baseball substantially enhanced the arm swing velocity and throwing velocity of the adolescent baseball players,” and can “reduce the risk of injury without altering pitching patterns.” (Yang, et.al.)
“Compared with regulation-weight baseballs, lightweight baseballs generate lower torque on the shoulder and elbow joints without altering the pitching movement and timing.”
Using a lightweight baseball “teaches” faster throwing motion muscle memory, whereas using a weighted baseball slows down pitching motion and, subsequently, muscle memory. Similar studies have been conducted — with similar results seen — using a lightweight bat instead of a weighted bat, as it relates to the development of bat swing velocity.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!