Are Weighted Baseball Velocity Programs Safe and Effective

As far as Pourciau is concerned, he has a vested interest and it'd be hard to consider him objective - even if he really is well-meaning. Individuals with their own preconceived biases (even if innocent and/or well-intentioned) can look at the same set of data, or cherry pick data, to reach disparate conclusions. I'm not asserting that Brent is wrong or right, but he has planted a (seemingly lucrative) stake in the ground and has a position to defend.

2019Dad posted:
roothog66 posted:

Until the past 24 hours, I didn't know it was that controversial, but gotta wonder if WB's is the new "hitting wars."

Sounds like it. I've never heard a convincing explanation of why throwing a 5 oz ball with high intent is "safe" but a 4 oz ball or 6 oz ball is "dangerous."

Yea, let me know if you ever come across an explanation on that. I'd want to pass it along to those softball girls who throw a "weighted" ball their entire lives.

Maybe we just need to teach the guys to throw like a girl?

Also, those heavy balls certainly contribute to the rash of Tommy John surgeries among football quarterbacks...

It's almost as if there must be other factors that come into play?

Having had the night and about 400 Twitter feed posts in a conversation on this on my phone when I woke up, another thought crossed my mind. After reading more of Rinhold's stuff, I now have serious ethical questions. To do a study like this with minors, there is a requirement that the parents sign a release.

Looking back on his blogs, Mike has been anti-WB programs for years. IN fact, in a blog published before he started this study, he writes, concerning the supposed TJ Epidemic, that "the two biggest offenders...are weighted ball and long toss programs." So, hang with me here. He went into the study with a sincere belief that weighted ball programs cause significant injuries. Then, he signs up kids as young as 13 to participate in a program he fully believes puts them at a significant risk of injury. Anyone else see a problem with this?

While I'm sure the releases included a disclaimer that injury was possible, this wouldn't be sufficient if the guy running it actually has a sincere belief that the risk of injury was not just possible, but significant.

roothog66 posted:

Having had the night and about 400 Twitter feed posts in a conversation on this on my phone when I woke up, another thought crossed my mind. After reading more of Rinhold's stuff, I now have serious ethical questions. To do a study like this with minors, there is a requirement that the parents sign a release.

Looking back on his blogs, Mike has been anti-WB programs for years. IN fact, in a blog published before he started this study, he writes, concerning the supposed TJ Epidemic, that "the two biggest offenders...are weighted ball and long toss programs." So, hang with me here. He went into the study with a sincere belief that weighted ball programs cause significant injuries. Then, he signs up kids as young as 13 to participate in a program he fully believes puts them at a significant risk of injury. Anyone else see a problem with this?

While I'm sure the releases included a disclaimer that injury was possible, this wouldn't be sufficient if the guy running it actually has a sincere belief that the risk of injury was not just possible, but significant.

Conducting such a study with young players does seem irresponsible - irrespective of whether or not one had a pre-conceived notion that a wb program causes/doesn't cause elbow/shoulder issues. But if one believes going in that wb programs cause injuries and yet proceeds to conduct the research with minors regardless, then not only is it irresponsible but potentially unethical (I'll reserve judgment as ethics are shades of gray).

IMHO, the person who could suffer the injury should be of age to understand the inherent risks and sign/decline to sign the liability release - and not allow some overzealous parent to put their son's baseball career (or even future strength and arm/shoulder mobility outside of baseball) at risk because they're wide-eyed chasing an athletic scholarship or have visions of their kid playing in the bigs etc.

The problem for me isn't that he did the study. The problem is that he brought kids into a program he designed and was working, at least partly, under the hypothesis that weighted balls cause injury and was looking to both measure their effectiveness and measure the injury rate, which he expected, given his previously published opinions, to be high. I would guess hie disclaimer on release was nothing more than a warning that WB's could be dangerous and the participant takes the risk. However, given the facts, I don't think this is enough. If you were the parent, would it not be an important thing to know that the guy running the test believes they are inherently injurious and was putting your kid in a program for the purpose of quantifying just how dangerous they are?

To give a better example of how to study this, look at ASMI's ten year study concerning youth pitchers and the curve. They started the study with the hypothesis and belief that throwing curveballs at an early age was a significant factor in arm injury rates. It would have been unethical for them to pull in 50 kids and ask them to start throwing curveballs, especially given their sincere belief that they were harmful. Instead, they went and found subjects already throwing them and asked them to log and report their experiences. There's nothing unethical about that, but never would they have done it like Mike did.

We still know nothing about pitching safety. Pitchers get injured and no solution  that was suggested so far has prevented that. Anyone who claims he figured out pitcher health is lying, not even pro ball has figured it out.

 

Now it could be that physical training in pro ball sucks but more likely throwing 90+ overhead is just not what the arm is made for biologically.

Lots of things are effective.  Steroids are effective.  Ritalin is effective.  Stealing signs is effective.  Caffeine is effective.

as with all things, you have to weight the risk/benefit ratio and perhaps most importantly factor in individual genetics when making a decision.

if I was going to have my Kid do a weighted ball program, there are two things I would absolutely do:

1). Have my Kid evaluated by a very highly rated strength & conditioning expert looking for muscle imbalances and weaknesses, and then train to correct those weaknesses and imbalances before beginning the program

2) I would have my Kid do the weighted ball training in person at Driveline's facility.

 

We didn't have Ryan involved in a WB program, because we had heard a lot of negative things regarding them.  Personally, I am not sure if they are good or bad.  There is just too much information on both sides of the issue.  However, now that Ryan is a Jr. in college, and the window is closing, I wouldn't be against him giving it a shot next summer.  Since he only touches 90, and lives 86 - 89, the velocity gains could be the difference in him getting a shot, and him not getting a shot.  He is also a man now, so he is as developed as he is going to be physically.

 

We just bought it.  I had looked at it in the past, but several really good college programs use it for arm care and in season/off season training.  As with all things, I'm sure if it is done incorrectly it could cause harm.  We haven't even gotten it out of the box yet, but my son was impressed with it when they had them use it at a college camp recently.

 

Rynoattack:  Son sat @ 86-89 since soph yr in HS. Touched 90 a few times in college.  Going into Sr. yr in college, spent the entire first week of June @ Driveline in Seattle.  Fall ball had him sitting consistently in low 90's.  He is still following their regime thru the fall & winter. Anxious to see what happens this spring!     As a side note, his roommate  LHP, was in the low 90's Freshman year.  Started Driveline on his own fall of Soph. yr.  Left D1 after soph yr 94-95mph. Dropped down to D2, continued Driveline program and 95-97mph Jr. year.  He was drafted & signed this past June by the Yankees in the 6th round. And yes, both these players started the program at age 20, grown men. 

I've received multiple requests for comment. As I've said before, I don't like commenting about threads about Driveline; I think it stifles free speech. You can get in touch with me on Twitter or email our support staff for questions.

Know that I really enjoy both sides of this debate and I hold high opinions of the posters on this site. I appreciate the contributions and hope this "study" and the broader discussion leads to understanding on all sides.

Kyle Boddy posted:

I've received multiple requests for comment. As I've said before, I don't like commenting about threads about Driveline; I think it stifles free speech. You can get in touch with me on Twitter or email our support staff for questions.

Know that I really enjoy both sides of this debate and I hold high opinions of the posters on this site. I appreciate the contributions and hope this "study" and the broader discussion leads to understanding on all sides.

not always easy to get in touch with you on twitter, you are a busy man (which is good of course).

 

BTW we had a new guy showing up in our Team last week in Training who had all of your driveline stuff and a driveline Shirt and was doing the drills with our Kids. I thought that was pretty cool.

 

unfortunately he was also showing Kids to extend the arms and push the knob to the ball, so I guess I he Needs some driveline hitting Training too.

My recently turned 13yo has been using DL's htkc youth for 2 years (I have l also used Alan Jaeger's, Phil Rosengren's, Lantz Wheeler's, TBR's and Brent's 3x program as well). My 10 year old started it this year. Both my kids have above average velocity and would mostly throw with serious intent during the season. I agree with Mike Reinold that WB is not for anyone and I am fully aware of the risks but there is risk with all ballistic throwing over a several month span. I think a WB program should be progressive and have an age appropiate s&c component, this is why I like DL. For me the main benefit of this program for my kids is the arm (and overall) strengthening component to protect the joints. 

Abt 18/24 months ago when my son was becoming more serious about his pitching role, I bought a 4oz and 6oz ball. I looked into what was out there for pitching programs, and I settled on the Steven Ellis format that has been around forever. 

Warm up with regular 5 oz baseball
3 minutes at 70 feet
3 minutes at 90 feet
3 minutes at 120 feet
1 minute at 70 feet
Then, at 70 feet, I would do:
20 throws with the 6 oz overweight ball
20 throws with the 4 oz underweight ball
20 throws with the regular 5 oz ball
Cool down

I am a big fan of the KISS principle. If you make something too complicated then the kids won't do it. The overweight and underweight ball is only 1oz difference. I suspect injury would not come from the weight difference, but from not doing it safely - failing to get the arm hot, overthrowing, etc.

Anyway, my son refused to do it. He is not willing to risk injury for improved velocity. So the weighted balls are collecting dust.

And that's what I have to say abt that. 

 

Kyle Boddy posted:

I've received multiple requests for comment. As I've said before, I don't like commenting about threads about Driveline; I think it stifles free speech. You can get in touch with me on Twitter or email our support staff for questions.

Know that I really enjoy both sides of this debate and I hold high opinions of the posters on this site. I appreciate the contributions and hope this "study" and the broader discussion leads to understanding on all sides.

Class act, man!  Much respect!

so my son who just turned 15 and has done a modified weighted ball program in the past.  2 days of throwing the various weighted balls and then a bullpen on the 3rd day with regular ball.    The typical exercises you see on driveline,   reverse pickoff etc.    they are on his youtube page.     This yr we are just starting the free program that you can download on driveline.    read it carefully,  he emphasizes the rest, recovery,  warmup and cool down a lot.     my 15 yr old barely has time for that wants to go home etc.   but I do think its an important part of the program. 

Like Kyle says his program has a ramp up,  the first couple of weeks are actually pretty light and the most strenuous part is the long toss portion,  which is tough my son has no interest in putting air under the ball and wants to throw hard all the time,  in fact yesterday  he threw a ball right through the webbing of my 2 yr old barely used Rawling glove,   snapped the laces right off.  

One other thing i would add,   my son does take regular pitching lessons,  his coach's number 1 concern is arm action and throwing safely and he has certified my son as being a good candidate for weighted ball training due to having very good mechanics.  

my freshman is touching 83 right now,   did run and gun 88 with a baseball the other day at a lesson where his coach was trying to show him how his body organized when he just tried to throw as hard as he could,  hoping to transfer that kind of intent to the mound.   He is never sore after throwing,   has no pain whatsoever can throw every day,   we dont ice or run after throwing.  We own a marc pro but he says he feels totally fine and never uses it after throwing,  its collecting dust or he uses after lifiting weights on occasion.    I will report back in about 8 weeks to see how it is going on the plan.    The one thing i did notice though last time we used plan was a more consistent pitching motion,  tighter spin,   breaking ball and changeup much more effective with a lot more bite.    seems like the arm path after throwing balls was much more efficient.  

 

As a follow up i saw the study your talking about and what stood out to me was the max effort throws 3 times a week which is excessive,  saw Brent Porciaou (sp)  talking about it on twitter and went back and forth with him as well.   I dont think the plan they used in the study is safe and I wouldnt do something like that.  Brent's throwing plan is predicated on lifting weights getting stronger,  movement training and proper mechanics  which I also think are important and Im sure what they are doing on sight at Driveline as well.  

gunner34 posted:

As a follow up i saw the study your talking about and what stood out to me was the max effort throws 3 times a week which is excessive,  saw Brent Porciaou (sp)  talking about it on twitter and went back and forth with him as well.   I dont think the plan they used in the study is safe and I wouldnt do something like that.  Brent's throwing plan is predicated on lifting weights getting stronger,  movement training and proper mechanics  which I also think are important and Im sure what they are doing on sight at Driveline as well.  

It wasn't actually Brent's plan - Brent would never even try it. It was a program initiated by Mike Reinhold for his study. I believe he built a strawman program, taking the most brutal, problematic pieces he could find and stitching them together. Recovery is such an integral part of any strength-based program and this one had none.

On another note, speaking from experience - make him use the MarcPro after every session of throwing whether he thinks he needs it or not. It speeds up recovery and I have noticed a remarkable difference in the speed of velocity development when comparing my pitchers who use it and those that don'r.

Journey On posted:

Rynoattack:  Son sat @ 86-89 since soph yr in HS. Touched 90 a few times in college.  Going into Sr. yr in college, spent the entire first week of June @ Driveline in Seattle.  Fall ball had him sitting consistently in low 90's.  He is still following their regime thru the fall & winter. Anxious to see what happens this spring!     As a side note, his roommate  LHP, was in the low 90's Freshman year.  Started Driveline on his own fall of Soph. yr.  Left D1 after soph yr 94-95mph. Dropped down to D2, continued Driveline program and 95-97mph Jr. year.  He was drafted & signed this past June by the Yankees in the 6th round. And yes, both these players started the program at age 20, grown men. 

That is great info!  Please keep me posted!  

roothog66 posted:
gunner34 posted:

As a follow up i saw the study your talking about and what stood out to me was the max effort throws 3 times a week which is excessive,  saw Brent Porciaou (sp)  talking about it on twitter and went back and forth with him as well.   I dont think the plan they used in the study is safe and I wouldnt do something like that.  Brent's throwing plan is predicated on lifting weights getting stronger,  movement training and proper mechanics  which I also think are important and Im sure what they are doing on sight at Driveline as well.  

It wasn't actually Brent's plan - Brent would never even try it. It was a program initiated by Mike Reinhold for his study. I believe he built a strawman program, taking the most brutal, problematic pieces he could find and stitching them together. Recovery is such an integral part of any strength-based program and this one had none.

On another note, speaking from experience - make him use the MarcPro after every session of throwing whether he thinks he needs it or not. It speeds up recovery and I have noticed a remarkable difference in the speed of velocity development when comparing my pitchers who use it and those that don'r.

Like I said, I normally don't comment, but yeah, if you own a Marc Pro you should be using it every single high intensity day at the very least. The results are incredible, and this comes from someone who is a huge skeptic about these things.

Kyle Boddy posted:
roothog66 posted:
gunner34 posted:

As a follow up i saw the study your talking about and what stood out to me was the max effort throws 3 times a week which is excessive,  saw Brent Porciaou (sp)  talking about it on twitter and went back and forth with him as well.   I dont think the plan they used in the study is safe and I wouldnt do something like that.  Brent's throwing plan is predicated on lifting weights getting stronger,  movement training and proper mechanics  which I also think are important and Im sure what they are doing on sight at Driveline as well.  

It wasn't actually Brent's plan - Brent would never even try it. It was a program initiated by Mike Reinhold for his study. I believe he built a strawman program, taking the most brutal, problematic pieces he could find and stitching them together. Recovery is such an integral part of any strength-based program and this one had none.

On another note, speaking from experience - make him use the MarcPro after every session of throwing whether he thinks he needs it or not. It speeds up recovery and I have noticed a remarkable difference in the speed of velocity development when comparing my pitchers who use it and those that don'r.

Like I said, I normally don't comment, but yeah, if you own a Marc Pro you should be using it every single high intensity day at the very least. The results are incredible, and this comes from someone who is a huge skeptic about these things.

Is that the case whether or not you have any soreness -- should kids who "feel fine" and have no soreness still use it?

Different perspective:  Randy Sullivan at FBR is a Master Physical Therapist, Pitching Coach and a pretty good guy to see if you are experiencing arm pain.  When my son was 15, I asked Randy what his thoughts where on having him start wieghted balls..... he was quick to say not until he felt that my son was physically mature enough, had demonstrate a certain level of profciency with his mechanics, strength to support the associated stress, as well as, what he considered an acceptable level of mobility and flexibility.  

In Janaury of 2018 my son (17 years old) will incorporate a less intense version of a "standard" wieghted ball, long toss and wieght lifting program into his reqular FBR routine as I am not yet sold on (overly cautious) weighted balls, long toss and wieght lifting.  My stance on being overly cautious is driven by the fact he went from sitting 72-73 and touching 74 to sitting 85-89 and touching (90 at PG) and (91 at UA/BF) in less than 2.5 years while training at FBR....all without wieght lifting, using wieghted balls or long tossing. My son is a 2019 LHP 5' 10" @ 185lbs.

 

 

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