05
01
2013

MaxVelo Velocity Program Study Results and Conclusions

All around the Internet, you can find people with pitching and velocity programs that claim to increase velocity and arm strength – including the MaxVelo program, which is our in-house program.

A quick internet search for “How to Increase Pitching Velocity” yields anything from “3 Easy Steps to Increase Throwing Velocity” to claims of 5-10 MPH gains.

However, most of the programs just have average velocity gains for a given population without a ton of detail given. Nothing has been tested against a control group or even a different throwing program.

How do you know if the velocity program you are using works? I’ve always been a proponent of publishing as much data as possible on our training program, so below you’ll find the results from a study we did on our MaxVelo velocity program.

At RIPS Baseball, I was lucky enough to influence the throwing program for many of our athletes. Additionally, there were a group of athletes who followed their own throwing program, or didn’t do one at all. This gave me three groups of athletes to work with:

  • Control Group: Did their own thing (usually nothing, or very little)
  • Basic Group: Standard throwing program (detailed later)
  • MaxVelo Group: Advanced velocity training

The Control Group did their own thing. This was usually limited to bullpens, some band work, and their own weight lifting.

The Basic Group included athletes who did not miss more than 20% of their workouts, and performed basic strength, conditioning, and velocity development work developed by me. Here’s an example of a workout:

  • Warm-Up (Wrist Weights, Band Work, Foam Rolling, Dynamic Stretching, Boxing Bag Punches)
  • Resistance Training (Squat Variant, Single-Leg Work)
  • Plyometric Work (Skaters w/ Medball, Box Jumps)
  • Corrective Exercise (Pallof Press, Side-Lying External Rotation)
  • Throwing Program (Indoor Long Toss Variant, +/- 20% Weighted Baseball throws [4 and 6 oz])
  • Cardio Finisher (Kettlebell Swings, Tabata Timing)

Basic Group weighted baseball training rarely exceeded 9 oz. baseballs on the overload side and never exceeded 3 oz. baseballs on the underload side. (They performed a weighted baseball throwing routine that was very similar to the Free Weighted Baseball eBook that I published in 2011.)

The MaxVelo Group included our advanced velocity program, which is well-documented throughout this site, as well as our extensive YouTube channel. Examples of training include, but were not limited to: Connection Ball Training, Advanced Deceleration Training, Plyometric Training, Reciprocal Stress Training, High-Speed Video Analysis, Rhythmic Stabilization Methods, etc. Again, only athletes who made 80%+ of their workouts were included, though none had to be cut from this group for qualification.

Pitcher Populations

Control Group

  • 14 junior-high and high-school aged participants (14.86 +/- 1.5 years of age)

Basic Group

  • 20 junior-high and high-school aged participants (13.8 +/- 1.32 years of age)

MaxVelo Group

  • 10 junior-high and high-school aged participants (15.1 +/- 1.44 years of age)

Instrumentation and Measurement

Fastball velocity for all groups was measured using a JUGS Pro Sport Radar Gun (Tualatin, OR) designed by Applied Concepts:

JUGS Pro Sport Radar Gun

JUGS Pro Sport Radar Gun

The gun was tuned and all velocities were measured with a maximum deflection of 3 degrees away from launch angle from behind the throwing target. The highest velocity after six throws was recorded and used for any given athlete. The tenths digit was turned on.

Data was saved in a MySQL database for later analysis.

Procedures

All athletes were allowed to warm-up to the extent that they self-reported ready to throw. Fastball velocities were recorded every two weeks for each group, though we will present final results only in this blog post.

Measurements were taken from directly behind the throwing target with a minimum of deflection. Since this was a throwing-specific program (not all participants were pitchers), athletes were instructed to throw from a crow-hop or running start. Examples of such a throw follows:

Velocity Program Results

After twelve weeks of training, the results were as follows (click for larger image):

MaxVelo Analysis

MaxVelo Analysis

  • Control Group: 70.8 MPH pre-test, 70.3 MPH post-test (0.5 MPH loss)
  • Basic Group: 68.1 MPH pre-test, 70.3 MPH post-test (2.2 MPH gain)
  • MaxVelo Group: 72.0 MPH pre-test, 79.1 MPH post-test (7.1 MPH gain)

Analysis of Velocity Program Results

But how can we say that the MaxVelo results are not attributable to variance? Below we will present analysis of variance tests (ANOVA) demonstrating that the results between the programs are statistically significant.

Here are the one-way ANOVA results between all three groups:

Anova: Single Factor
SUMMARY
Groups Count Sum Average Variance
control 14 -7 -0.5 7.986154
basic 20 44 2.2 7.487368
maxvelo 10 71 7.1 8.244444
ANOVA
Source of Variation SS df MS F P-value F crit
Between Groups 339.3091 2 169.6545 21.71799 3.7E-07 3.225684
Within Groups 320.28 41 7.811707
Total 659.5891 43

Such a low p-value indicates that the differences between the averages of each group is statistically significant. Additionally, the variances between each group were fairly similar

ANOVA results between Control and Basic:

Anova: Single Factor
SUMMARY
Groups Count Sum Average Variance
control 14 -7 -0.5 7.986154
basic 20 44 2.2 7.487368
ANOVA
Source of Variation SS df MS F P-value F crit
Between Groups 60.03529 1 60.03529 7.80693 0.008719 4.149097
Within Groups 246.08 32 7.69
Total 306.1153 33

The low p-value indicates that the differences between the averages of the Control Group and the Basic Group is statistically significant.

ANOVA results between Control and MaxVelo:

Anova: Single Factor
SUMMARY
Groups Count Sum Average Variance
maxvelo 10 71 7.1 8.244444
control 14 -7 -0.5 7.986154
ANOVA
Source of Variation SS df MS F P-value F crit
Between Groups 336.9333 1 336.9333 41.63877 1.72E-06 4.300949
Within Groups 178.02 22 8.091818
Total 514.9533 23

The low p-value indicates that the differences between the averages of the Control Group and the MaxVelo Group is statistically significant.

ANOVA results between Basic and MaxVelo:

Anova: Single Factor
SUMMARY
Groups Count Sum Average Variance
basic 20 44 2.2 7.487368
maxvelo 10 71 7.1 8.244444
ANOVA
Source of Variation SS df MS F P-value F crit
Between Groups 160.0667 1 160.0667 20.70529 9.47387E-05 4.195972
Within Groups 216.46 28 7.730714
Total 376.5267 29

The low p-value indicates that the differences between the averages of the Basic Group and the MaxVelo Group is statistically significant.

Other notes about the data:

  • The MaxVelo Group had no athletes lose velocity. The Basic Group had a few athletes who lost velocity through the training period. Many athletes in the Control Group lost velocity.
  • The MaxVelo Group had a higher pre-test velocity (72.0 MPH) than either the Basic Group (68.1 MPH) or the Control Group (70.8 MPH). Since velocity gains are asymptotic, it can be theorized that the effective gain of the MaxVelo Group should be adjusted upwards due to the more “difficult” starting point. However, further research outside of the scope of this project would be required to figure out if the differences were statistically significant and what the magnitudes of the differences might be. If it exists, the effect is likely to be small given that the difference in pre-test velocities is not that large.
  • It is not clear that the one-way ANOVA analyses were the best way to tackle the analysis of the data. Given that the differences were obvious, the ANOVA tests did not tell us much, even though the variances were close to each other and the samples were similarly grouped (distributed). Improvements and/or criticisms of the data analysis are welcome, and follow-up analysis on the data can be performed if necessary.

Discussion

The major findings in this twelve-week training period were:

  • A comprehensive “strength and conditioning” program with a basic throwing program seemed to increase velocity in most participants (Basic Group)
  • Advanced velocity development training methods (MaxVelo) vastly outpaced both other groups

These findings are similar to that of authors who have done various types of over/underload training techniques, such as DeRenne’s work with weighted baseballs (Effects of Under- and Overweighted Implement Training on Pitching Velocity, DeRenne 1994), who reported modest velocity gains in large samples of high school and university pitchers using just a periodized weighted baseball training program.

However, while participants in the Basic Group showed steady improvement of throwing velocity over the twelve-week period, participants in the MaxVelo Group had realized nearly their entire gains for the twelve-week period in the first six weeks (7.1 MPH gain for full program, 6.7 MPH gain at the halfway mark). Further testing, analysis, and research is scheduled to determine what factors – if any – played into stagnant growth in the second half of the training period.

Since the specific mechanisms for increasing throwing velocity have yet to be pinpointed in research, no hard conclusions can be drawn from this study. However, hypotheses that advocate overall general physical preparedness, under/overload throwing techniques, deceleration training methods, and other similar methods to improve throwing velocity seem to be supported based on the results.

Comments, suggestions, and constructive criticisms are welcome in either this blog post or emails to Driveline Baseball – support@drivelinebaseball.com.

Comment
17
Garrett

Median and range of velocity change please.

drivelinekyle

Median is no problem. What did you mean by Range?

Garrett

Ya. Basically to see the extent outliers had on the data. Especially with small sample sizes and no crossover methodology.

With selection bias and the other problems in the study (non-blind), it’ll be hard to make any legit statistical argument, but that is pretty pointless. (Unless we’re trying to publish a statistical paper instead of training athletes.)

khan

Just great, especially the conclusions (always nice to see someone who is critical of their own work and unwilling to make baseless claims).

I think 79.1-73 is 6.1 rather than 7.1, though, and I assume the 6 week increase was 5.7?
Sorry to be ocd, but everything else is done so carefully that this deserves to be perfect.

drivelinekyle

Whoops – in the source data (as you can see in the ANOVA analyses), it is correct. In the chart data it is wrong. I will be updating shortly. It was 72.0 -> 79.1 MPH. Thanks!

drivelinekyle

The data has been updated. Thank you for pointing out the typo!

Thomkins

I don’t understand why guys who were throwing bullpens consistently lost velocity over 12 weeks? For a 14 year old kid that seems very abnormal to me. Most every 14 year old ive seen is growing and throwing more will help them throw harder

drivelinekyle

Throwing more will help them throw harder, you are right. Most of them were doing very little throwing. Bullpens once per week is not throwing much at all.

Thomkins

well that explains it

drivelinekyle

Hence why it’s the Control Group – it’s a common thing to do in the off-season (nothing).

Thomkins

also it’d be great if we could see each individual before and after number and what work they did exactly. if there was one guy who was hurt or something and lost 7 MPH while one guy jumped 17 MPH that would cause big swings in the data. Also, the difference in the basic and max velo groups workouts don’t seem to be large enough to justify grouping them totally separately.

one more thing, I don’t know anything about ANOVA but ran a t-test between the groups to convert it to my language and got control and basic at the 90% confidence level, so not quite publishable level but still good. max velo and basic were way up there 99.5% or something but again it’d be great to see the individual data because a few outliers in something like this can make data look more convincing than it is.

I love that you keep track of all this though, great work

drivelinekyle

I can post the data later when I’m at home. No massive outliers were recorded like that, however.

The differences are fairly large, IMO. I can’t post the exact MaxVelo workouts, but there was – at most – a 20-25% overlap in exercises.

Thanks for doing the t-test. My stats chops are rusty; I last took 300-level Econ courses 9 years ago!

Thomkins

thanks for the replies, very interesting stuff. I can’t tell from the descriptions but were the actual throwing a baseball (weighted or normal) programs the same for the basic and maxvelo groups?

also why do you gun pitchers off crow hops instead of the mound? I’ve seen it done many places and always wonder how much does it matter. I knew a guy who could throw 100 MPH off a crowhop and couldn’t ever hit 88 off the mound and knew a guy who never had more than 1 or 2 MPH between crow hop and windup

drivelinekyle

The throwing programs were very different. Probably the area with the least overlap.

We use crow-hops for a variety of reasons – increasing intent to throw hard, working on linear movement, etc. There is also the fact that not all of the participants were pitchers. Many of our clients are position players who want a stronger arm.

We don’t have any kind of disparity like that. What we find is that someone’s max crow hop throw is very similar to a fully adrenalized pitcher on a mound in a game situation.

Cromulent

Were there any dropouts in any of the groups?

Tim biertzer

My son turns 14 this July. Can he follow your program? I thought I read somewhere in your brochure that you should be 16?

support@drivelinebaseball.com

Tim, 14 is right at the cut off for training between the Dynamic Pitcher and Hacking the Kinetic Chain.

Send an e-mail to support@drivelinebaseball.com and we can get you set up with a phone call with one of our trainers to see what matches up best

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