The history of weighted baseballs reaches back well into the 20th century. Some pitchers used lead baseballs almost triple the weight of a normal baseball (5 ounces) as a training and/or warmup tool. During this time, the throwing of weighted baseballs was perceived as risky and often led to injuries. In the 21st century and specifically since 2015, weighted baseballs have a much-improved image but are still shunned by some. Generally speaking, we know more about arm health and the value of recovery time and exercises which have kept more players on the field and out of the training room. Throwing weighted baseballs do pose a risk to throwers but can provide serious strength gains and can assist in the “getting loose” phase of throwing.
Various plastic covered weighted baseballs have been marketed over the years. As the balls are mostly used for short catch play, there was no need to invest in long-lasting leather coverings. However, since the acceptance and daily usage of weighted baseballs, leather coverings are much more desirable and the only model we offer at Plyoshop.com
Risks and Rewards:
There is no risk-free training method when it comes to overhand throwing. Injuries can unfortunately occur without the use of weighted baseballs and for reasons not the fault of the player or coach. Many of the injuries incurred by weighted baseballs fall under the category of “too much too quick.” This means that the athlete is either taken on too great of a workload too quickly or isn’t warming up enough before engaging in high-stress throwing. It’s important to have a detailed and rigorous warmup routine which gets the body and arm prepared for throwing. It’s essential that a qualified and experienced coach assist you with offseason and in-season use of weighted baseballs. Inadequate preparation can have serious and long-term health consequences.
It’s debatable at what age players can safely use weighted baseballs as part of baseball training. Maturity level and body development are factors which are unique in all athletes. Consults a qualified coach before beginning a throwing program which includes weighted baseballs and consider a slow and conservative approach to their integration.