For physically mature athletes, weighted ball training has several benefits including improved mechanics, velocity and command but improved arm fitness is the most obvious.
Fitness can be described with a variety of words – strength, endurance, or conditioning. When a pitcher has poor arm-related “fitness,” it generally means his tissue has a low injury threshold. This can be due to insufficient muscular strength, low muscular endurance, poor soft tissue quality, etc.
In pitchers poor arm fitness can manifest as the inability to hold pitching velocity deep into games, the inability to “bounce-back” after throwing or constant soft-tissue arm issues.
Varying the load using weighted balls helps improve arm fitness factors.
The most common responses from athletes and coaches who begin weighted baseball training correctly are:
- “My velocity floor increased. I used to sit 84-85 and touch 89, now I cruise 87 and touch 90.”
- “I hold my velocity deeper into games.”
- “I recover faster, and I am not as sore after an outing.”