Best Weighted Balls for Pitching Training

weighted balls

What are Weighted Balls used for in Baseball?

Weighted balls are used in baseball training to help clean up the arm action and improve throwing mechanics. They are primarily used by pitchers, but all baseball players can benefit from implementing them into their throwing routine.

Weighted balls are thrown before catch play, and allow athletes to get the arm loose, while also addressing mechanical concerns. Everyone will have a different weighted ball routine, which will consist of different drills and plyos that meet their needs.

My understanding of the science behind weighted balls is: that when throwing a ball heavier than a baseball, your arm will work in a more efficient path to avoid stress on the arm. The goal is to blend these movement patterns with lighter-weighted balls and eventually a baseball.

Pitchers are encouraged to use their weighted ball throws as the time to focus on what they want to work on. Then when pitchers engage in catch play, they want to leave the thinking behind.

So look at your weighted ball throws as the place to make adjustments and practice good habits. They are an essential tool for baseball players and can play a big role in helping you throw harder.

Baseball players who are interested in practicing with weighted balls need to be equipped with the most reputable brands. I want to use my professional baseball knowledge to share the best weighted balls used by myself and other professionals.

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Best Weighted Balls for Pitchers

1. Marv Balls

Marv Balls - Velo Set (Soft Shell Plyo Baseball) Original

Marv Balls have slowly grown to be one of the main plyo balls used in weighted ball training. Professionals prefer using Marv Balls because of the seams that provide a baseball-like feel in the hand. You want to throw a weighted ball that can best translate to your baseball throw, so find a plyo ball that allows you to do so.

I experimented with different brands of weighted balls, and I can confirm that Marv Balls feel the best coming out of my hand. I also noticed that Marv Balls seem to be more durable than other plyo balls and stay true to their shape. This is great if you plan on throwing your weighted balls against a hard surface like a concrete wall.

Pros

  • Better Feel: Seams on the plyo balls can translate better to throws with a baseball.
  • Long-Lasting: Made with durable materials that can withstand many throws.
  • Stays True: Maintains circular shape after many throws.
  • Easy to Travel: Includes bag for storing.

Cons

  • Price: Quality plyos can be more expensive than competitors.
  • Preference: Might not like the seams on the plyo.

2. Driveline

Driveline Baseball PlyoCare® Balls - 6 Weighted and Durable Training

Driveline is well-known for its pitching programs that incorporate cutting-edge technology and analytics. Driveline revolutionized weighted ball training and greatly contributed to the growth of plyo ball throwing seen today.

The company has a line of weighted balls, and they are used by many professional baseball organizations. It is worth noting that Driveline is a well-respected organization in the baseball community, so that adds value to their weighted balls. I appreciate Driveline plyos because of their durable PVC shell that can withstand a lot of force.

Pros

  • Reputable Brand: Driveline is a well-respected brand in the baseball community.
  • Strong Plyos: Durable PVC shell and design that gives them extra longevity.
  • Free Program: 16-week program that includes a get-started guide and tons of drills.

Cons

  • Price: Quality plyos can be more expensive than competitors.
  • Texture: The ball can feel slick in the hand especially when you sweat.
  • Loses Shape: You can add air back, but I have noticed my Driveline balls lose shape over time.

3. TAP

TAP Conditioning TAP Max-Grip Weighted Ball- Set of Six |

TAP plyo balls were the first set I used when learning how to throw weighted balls. They are still used in professional organizations and are produced by a quality brand, known for other baseball products.

What I like most about the TAP weighted balls is their 21oz plyo ball. This weight can not be found in Driveline or Marv Ball sets, and is a favorite by myself and other professional teammates I have had. The outer shell has a softer texture that can seem to be of cheaper quality.

Pros

  • Reputable Brand: Produced by a well-respected brand in the baseball community.
  • Great Weight: Includes a nice variety of weighted plyos.
  • Price: Cheaper price when compared to Marv and Driveline.
  • Easy to Travel: Includes bag for storing.

Cons

  • Material: The plyo balls feel softer compared to others.
  • Durability: Will not last as long as Marv or Driveline.
  • Shape: The ball will lose shape over time and is harder to put air into.

What is My Favorite Weighted Ball?

Marv Balls - Velo Set (Soft Shell Plyo Baseball) Original

Give me the Marv Balls! These weighted balls have been my favorite for the last few years. Every day I throw plyos, I use Marv Balls. I am a big “feel” guy when it comes to throwing, so I will utilize any tool that will better translate to my actual throwing.

I noticed with weighted balls that do not have seams, I am more susceptible to cutting the ball. This is a bad habit that baseball players want to avoid, but it is hard if you have no seams or the ball is slick.

The seams and texture on the Marv Balls allow me to feel my spin even if I am sweating or throwing in light rain.

One thing I touched on was how Marv Balls seemed to be more durable than other plyos. To add to that, I leave a lot of my baseball equipment in my car since I use it every day… One drawback is that weighted balls tend to expand or shrink depending on the temperature outside, so I advise keeping them indoors.

What I have noticed, however, is that even with temperature change, the Marv Balls continued to keep better shape when compared to my Driveline and TAP weighted balls.

I advise all baseball players to try different weighted balls before purchasing a set. What works for me, might not work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Weighted Balls Safe for Baseball Players?

There is always a risk involved when throwing a baseball. That is why you must be a mature baseball player who understands how to properly throw, before using weighted balls. Weighted balls are a great tool when in the right hands. It’s crucial to start with an appropriate weight, follow proper training protocols, and prioritize good throwing mechanics to minimize the risk of injury and enhance performance.

What’s the Difference Between Plyo Balls and Weighted Balls?

In my opinion, these terms can be used interchangeably. Some people might classify plyo balls as soft plastic balls and weighted balls as leather baseballs that are weighted. If you were to use either term in a baseball environment, both are acceptable. A plyo and a weighted ball are both a ball that is weighted differently than a regular baseball.

How Do Weighted Balls Improve Pitching Velocity?

When used properly in a structured weighted-ball program, weighted balls can promote better mechanics. This can then translate to more efficient mechanics with a baseball, which can result in higher velocity. Other variables come into play with increasing velocity, and that is why proper mechanics will not guarantee faster velocity.

How Often Should I Throw Weighted Balls?

This answer will be different for every athlete. Weighted balls can be thrown every day for baseball training, but it is important to listen to your body and monitor your throwing volume. Once you understand how your body responds to volume and intent, you can incorporate a weighted ball schedule that best fits your needs.

Should You Practice Pitching With a Weighted Ball?

Throwing weighted balls is great when used on a mound. Professional baseball players will throw them off the mound into a net or wall that is a short distance away. This allows the pitcher to go through various drills and work on mechanical adjustments. The best part is the athlete can practice many reps without the need for a catcher or a partner. Pitchers should incorporate mound throwing into their daily routine to maximize mechanics.

What are the Benefits of Throwing Weighted Balls?

Weighted balls can improve arm path, which can enhance overall mechanics. When you throw a ball that is heavier than a normal baseball, your body recognizes this difference and will try to work in an efficient pattern to reduce stress. This can help improve mechanical flaws in your pitching delivery.

What Weighted Balls for Pitching Drills?

Every pitcher will be different, but generally speaking, 16oz is the highest athletes should go when using weighted balls on the mound. The heavier balls will do a better job at promoting a healthier arm path, and then you can work your way down in weight.

Are Weighted Balls Suitable for Youth Baseball Players?

Weighted balls can be suitable for youth baseball players, but it’s crucial to approach their use with caution. Young players are still growing, and excessive or improper use of weighted balls can lead to injury. Any training program involving weighted balls for youth players should be supervised by a knowledgeable coach or trainer who can ensure that the exercises are age-appropriate and performed with proper technique.

Where Do I Throw Weighted Balls?

To increase the longevity of your weighted balls, you should throw them into a net or a padded wall. I understand that this is not always possible, and you have to work with what you have. I have thrown weighted balls into a concrete wall, brick wall, chainlink fence, tree, and even a mattress. I am all for getting your work in, no matter how you have to do it. Just understand, that harder surfaces are more likely to damage your weighted ball.

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