How to Choose a Baseball Training Ball
Here is what you need to do...
There are two different categories of training balls; hitting development and arm strength development. So, the first thing is to know which kind you are looking for. The next thing is to know the age of players you will be working with. First I will talk about the hitting side of training balls.
There are two different types of training balls; weighted balls which work on strength and extension through the zone. These balls are not meant to be hit from live pitching otherwise they will cause significant damage to the bat. They should be used in soft toss or off of a tee. The balls weigh 15 ounces, which is three times as much as a normal baseball. At first it will fill like you are hitting a brick, but eventually you will get stronger and develop the swing like what is supposed to happen.
The second kind of hitting training balls are your basic whiffle balls. These are used to develop optimal hand-eye coordination and work on squaring up the baseball on the barrel of the bat. The best way to use these balls is to stand 20-30 feet away from the hitter and throw them with a good amount of velocity. These balls will move and break a lot which really challenges the hitter to develop their hand-eye coordination and square the ball up every time. If the hitter can conquer a wiffle ball moving all over the place, hitting a regular baseball with little movement will be a lot easier.
Now to go the throwing side of things. Weighted baseballs are a huge part of developing arm strength. The goal is to use balls that weigh more than the standard 5 ounce baseball so when finally throwing a regular ball it feels like a toothpick in your hand; resulting in more velocity when throwing. Weighted baseballs range from 6 oz to 14 oz, almost three times the weight of a normal ball. Depending on the age and how mature the player is, balls should be chosen so the weight will not hurt the arm of the player. After the age of 15, any weight of ball should be safe to use. Just like lifting weights, work your way up with the weight of ball and do 10-15 throws at each stage. After getting through the final weight, go back to a normal baseball and throw it as hard as you can to gain maximum arm strength. If at anytime a ball feels too heavy, or the arm starts to hurt, back off immediately and rest the arm as long as needed.
Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.
The hardest thing will be throwing the heavier balls with proper form. The higher the weight of the ball, the more important it is to use proper technique while throwing otherwise injuries are more likely to happen. Don't stand too far apart from your partner while throwing, the goal isn't to throw for distance, the goal is to improve arm strength.
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When did you first do this & how did you get started?
I first started using training balls in 8th grade, and my dad introduced them to me during the summer right before I started 9th grade in order to get me ready for my first high school season.