It's called Specificity
What actually works best is to train using what you use in competition. It is called specificity. And nothing works better than that. Nothing. No amount of weight lifting, overload training, running, nothing.
What works best is to go out there and just practice the sport. That is the problem with pitching today. Pitchers are not 'training' their bodies to throw downhill with stress. If you believe in training overload then why wouldn't you believe in training the body to do what it is supposed to do in competition? Doesn't make much sense to me. That 'taking the stress off thing' is exclusive to baseball pitching. I know of no other sport where that type of thinking is popular for getting an athlete better. As for throwing off the mound I was speaking of professional pitchers. But even 9-19 year olds would also be better off if they could do it consistently.
You will never see any evidence in a skill sport that training harder has any merit. Training harder doing what? The only thing that works in skills sport like golf or pitching is doing the sport itself. What do golfers do to get better at golf? Do you see them pumping iron or swinging weighted clubs or hitting weighted balls? What they do to improve is hit more golf balls with accuracy focusing on better swing mechanics. There distance increases when they develop better timing within their swings.
If all this training stuff worked then football college running backs would get faster at the end of their college careers than when they entered. After all look at all the training they get for four years straight. This has not proven to be true at all.
No evidence for weighted balls
Do you know that there is not one shred of evidence that weight training has improved baseball pitching at all - although in my opinion is has caused more injuries and reduced performance. Why should you train in a skill sport harder than game requirements? By doing what? How will doing something other than actually pitching from the mound focusing on hitting the glove - help a pitcher get better at pitching?
That is exactly what all of these people are missing in professional baseball. The 2 lb weighted ball or 3 lb or shotputs, for that matter, will prove to add absolutely nothing. But they will hurt pitchers in lots of ways. One way, by wasting their time and confusing the body. They will actually build in faulty movement patterns. What are pitchers trying to move? A 5 oz ball - not a 1 or 2 lb ball, a 15 lb ball, a shotput or a 300 lb lineman.
Remember you do not need a lot of strength to move that 5 oz ball. None of those things will help increase arm speed since there is little you can do to increase any pitchers arm speed. The body has to do that. Even long toss has proven to be a waste of time. No proof there that it increases velocity. None. And pitching is not arm strength - it is arm speed.
In pro ball thirty years ago, they did none of this foolish stuff. How did they get better? Throwing a 5 oz ball from a mound more often. That's what Koufax did and everyone else.
Most real 'sports scientist' would confirm that arm speed cannot be improved by long toss, flat ground throwing or weighted baseballs. It has been proven endlessly that drills in sports have done far more harm than good and yet everyone has endless pitching drills or drills in all sports.
Scientific proof means it has been proven by valid study unlike the only study that has tried to prove that weighted baseballs work but the study is flawed as many studies are.
How to Throw Harder
Are pitchers throwing harder now? No proof of that at all. Are they more injured? I would say that can definitely be proven. Did they throw more innings back then? You bet they did. How are they doing now? Not too well. And they have five man rotations. Does that tell you anything?
No amount of weight training, weighted balls, running or long toss can help a pitcher can throw harder. I believe the only way you will see pitchers get better is to throw off the mound more - not less. Eliminate substituting flat ground throwing for throwing off a mound since pitching is developing force going downhill throwing to a target. Any type of flat ground throwing is not helping get a pitcher better at pitching. And throwing from a mound more often is what will help all pitchers improve velocity, command and will condition their body to do what it is supposed to do - and that is throw often to a target downhill using acceleration and deceleration. No other type of conditioning is better for a pitcher.
The baseball world is all 'belief based' and most of it is pure nonsense such as distance running, in-season weight training, flat ground throwing for less stress, long toss for more velocity or weighted baseballs.
There are beliefs they will hold on to forever, such as get bigger and stronger and you will throw harder. The problem with getting bigger is that many times bigger ends up slower so there is no gain. And by the way there is a limit as to how fast somebody can move. So there is a limit as to how fast everyone can throw based on that. Remember what force is: mass (size) times acceleration (body speed). So for smaller pitchers they have to be able to be more explosive or move quicker. And that is the only way they will ever throw harder.
The baseball world will continue to produce less and less skilled pitchers because they are not asking the right questions but are listening to the wrong people. And who will continue to suffer. Baseball pitchers at all levels. And coaches will continue to wonder why pitching doesn't ever seem to be getting any better.
Why is baseball pitching different, because pitching is a skill sport like golf. You are required to to repeat the same movement over and over while trying to hit a target at a specific distance every single time. So that should change your viewpoint completely about how to train.
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