Weighted Softballs

weighted softball throwing program

Weighted Softballs

Weighted softballs can be the edge that you need to beat your competition, or to edge out another player for that starting roster spot.

Throwing velocity, meaning the ability to throw a softball harder is a critical skill for the success of any softball player. This is true for all players, no matter what position is being played, not just pitchers and catchers. It’s also true for both slowpitch and fastpitch players.

It is vital for each player to develop this skill to his / her maximum potential.

Science has proven that training with underweight and overweight balls will increase the throwing velocity of softball athletes.

We at Decker Sports have created a weighted softball throwing program to help all players.

Our Softball Velocity Development Protocol, used with our weighted softballs is the most efficient and effective way to bring out the best in softball players.

Utilizing this training program will enhance the performance of you and of every player in your ball club regardless of position.

Weighted Softballs – Theory

The first principal guiding softball training is the understanding that softball is a ballistic sport.

Throwing involves rapid, explosive movements.

The specific ability to produce these explosive movements is greatly influenced by the percentage of type IIB (fast-twitch) muscle fibers contained within an athlete’s muscle cells.

In order to produce more rapid and forceful contractions of these fast twitch muscle fibers, softball training must be done at 100% intensity (game speed).

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Is Weight Training Enough?

No. Weight training alone will not increase your throwing speed.

Traditional weight training with machines or free weights while performing nonspecific slow movements will not increase the throwing velocity of athletes who already possess a baseline level of strength.

In fact, some research has shown that prolonged heavy, nonspecific weight training may actually reduce movement speeds.

Weighted Softballs – Under and Overweight

Training with underweight and overweight implements has its roots in the speed strength specificity training programs of track and field athletes in the former Soviet bloc countries.

The results from research conducted with these athletes indicated:

A) Employing variable weighted training in implements enhances power development;
B) variations of weight training implements should range between 5% and 20% of “Normal” (Competition) weight
C) a 2:1 frequency ratio of throwing (2 weighted; 1 normal) maximizes power output.

By throwing under weighted softballs, body segments will move at higher-speeds, with less muscle force.

When throwing overweight softballs, body segments travel at slower speeds, but with greater force.

Underweight training can be referred to as speed training

Overweight training strength training.

Power is defined as work divided by time (P=W/t).

Because of the ballistic nature of throwing, safely training the body to develop the greatest amount of power in the least amount of time during the sport specific movement is critical for the development of increased throwing velocity.

 

Weighted Softball Research

In April 2000, a team of researchers from the Michael W. Krzyzewski human performance laboratory, Duke University and the American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, AL reviewed all of the existing research concerning the effects of throwing underweight and overweight softballs (ESCAMILLA, ETAL, SPORTS MED 2000 Apr; 29 (4): 259-272).

They reviewed 11 overweight and underweight studies (6 to 12 weeks in duration), conducted during the off-season.

Data from these studies, “Strongly support the practice of training with overweight and underweight softballs to increase throwing velocity of regulation softballs”.

All but one of the studies reported significant increases in throwing velocity by the underweight and/or overweight experimental groups.

Six of the studies reviewed contain control groups who threw only regulation softballs during the experiment. None of the control groups experienced significant increases in throwing velocity.
Based on this data Escamilla etal. concluded:

“From most of the research now available on weighted implement throwing, it appears that the ideal weight of overweight and underweight softballs is within 20% of the weight of a regulation softball. Hence, underweight softballs should weigh 5.2 ounces and overweight softballs should weigh 7.8 ounces.”

Weighted Softball Throwing Program

The Decker Sports weighted softballs and throwing program is based on the science listed above, and it is designed to improve all players’ throwing velocity. Players can expect their throwing speed to increase by up to 7 MPH or more!

Our Weighted Softball Throwing Program Includes:

One set of 3 weighted softballs.

These balls include:

  • Underload ball (5.2 oz.)
  • Load ball (6.5 oz.)
  • Overload ball (7.8 oz.)

Also included is an in-season and off-season throwing protocol. This program can be easily incorporated into your current throwing routine and is an easy opportunity to maximize all the throwing your already do!

For teams, we also have a Team Dozen which comes with 4 sets.

And like all Decker Sports products, our weighted softballs come with a satisfaction warranty. If you are not happy, return them within 60 days for a full refund.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR WEIGHTED SOFTBALL SET

 

Who Should Use the Decker Weighted Softballs and Throwing Program?

All players, regardless of position, should use this protocol. It addresses the over and under weighted softballs and is optimum throwing velocity is vital in every facet of the game of softball.

Included in the Decker Sports Softball Throwing Velocity Development Protocol is a program designed for both in-season and off-season improvement and retention of optimum throwing velocity.

The focus of the in-season protocol is to maintain throwing velocity. The focus of off-season
protocol is to increase throwing velocity.

 

How to Throw a Softball Harder

Decker Sports strongly suggests the following procedures be adhered to when running an underweight and overweight-throwing training:

1) Proper warming up of core body temperature.
2) Sport specific flexibility exercises.
3) Pre-training warm-up with regulation softball throwing at less than 100% intensity.

Once these steps are completed, the weighted softball training protocol may begin.

Decker Weighted Softball Program is comprised of a 15 week In-Season Training Schedule and a 10 Week Off Season Training Schedule.

Week 1:

  • 2 Sessions for a total of 60 throws.
  • Sequence: 10-20-20-10 (10 Load Ball – 20 Overload Ball – 20 Underload Ball – 10 Load Ball)

Week 2:

  • 2 Sessions for a total of 60 throws.
  • Sequence: 10-20-20-10 (10 Load Ball – 20 Overload Ball – 20 Underload Ball – 10 Load Ball)

Week 3:

  • 2 Sessions for a total of 60 throws.
  • Sequence: 10-20-20-10 (10 Load Ball – 20 Overload Ball – 20 Underload Ball – 10 Load Ball)

Week 4:

  • 2 Sessions for a total of 54 throws.
  • Sequence: 9-18-18-9 (9 Load Ball – 18 Overload Ball – 18 Underload Ball – 9 Load Ball)

CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL WEEK TRAININGS

Note:

Throwing distances for any player should not exceed 150 feet. (Or a distance in which a line drive trajectory with proper mechanics can be thrown.)

Pitchers have three options:

  1. They may throw from the regulation pitching distance off of a standard mound throwing all fastballs with proper mechanics.
  2. Pitch from the regulation pitching distance off of flat ground
  3. Use the long-toss protocol up to 150 feet.

ALL softball players should make each throw during training sessions at 100% intensity (after proper warm-ups have been completed).

While research supports the notion of training with overweight and underweight softballs enhances throwing velocity, all of the studies were conducted during the off-season.

However, for several reasons it seems appropriate to continue training in season as well:

1) There were no injuries reported during any of the studies
2) By limiting variants of ball weight to 20%, it appears that throwing mechanics are not altered Softball players typically lose strength, and consequently throwing velocity, throughout the regular season.

NOTE: Because all of the research regarding underweight and overweight throwing was conducted with high school and college aged athletes, Decker Sports does not recommend use of the over-load ball (7.8 oz.) for athletes under the age of 14 until further research is performed.

It is recommended that athletes under 14 years of age use of the protocol throwing the under-load ball (5.2 oz.) and load ball (6.5 oz.).

Always use proper supervision with a coach or professional trainer when performing the protocol. Decker sports assumes no liability for any injuries that may occur while throwing or catching softballs.

Best of luck in your training!

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