How Does One Go About Developing Velocity?

How Does One Go About Developing Velocity?

By: Ernie Smith

In a prior post I’ve described that almost all velocity development programs involve some form of long toss and weighted balls.  But are you aware that there are ways to enhance velocity that have nothing at all to do with long toss or weighted balls?

  • Identify and address any constraints you have in strength, mobility, or asymmetry.
  • Find a movement pattern that has zero pain.
  • Get older and grow. Age and height will add velocity over time (Sgori: JSES ’15).  The average is 1.5mph per year and 1.2mph per inch grown.
  • Various types of workouts can add velocity due to the fact that sport specific strength comes into play. Here is a list of studies provided by Mr. Mike Reinold during his ASMI presentation in 2020, and the average velocity increases experienced by subjects:
    • 6 weeks of dumbbells = 1.7% increase
      • Escamilla: JSCR ‘12
    • 4 weeks of tubing = 4% increase
      • Escamilla: JSCR ‘10
    • 5 weeks of plyometric drills = 2% increase
      • Escamilla: JSCR ‘12
    • 7 week core stability and power program = 6% increase
      • Palmer: JAT ‘12
    • 6 week med ball program = 14%
      • Raeder: JSCR ‘15
    • 18 week total body strength = 2.6%
      • Ramos Veliz: JSCR ‘14
    • 6 week core stability program = 4.9%
      • Saeterbakken: JSCR ‘11

I’ve prior quoted Mr. Reinold as saying “There are zero studies on the effect of long toss on velocity.”  He also said that long toss and weighted balls are not freebies.  “They are equal to and more stressful than pitching off a mound.”

Mr. Ron Wolforth of the Texas Baseball Ranch has stated that velocity is “one of the more formulaic things we do” but has also strongly cautioned players to work with professionals in this arena. 

Mr. Matt Hobbs is the pitching coach at the University of Arkansas which many consider an elite program.  Mr. Hobbs also spoke at ASMI ’20.  Arkansas doesn’t let players go past 120 feet throwing during the first two days after a bull pen.  He strongly suggests a day off in there too.  Day three after a bull pen is when Arkansas schedules more aggressive longer throwing, and they only use long toss with college pitchers at 80-85% effort (out to about 200’).

In an earlier post I mentioned that professionals in the areas of motor learning, skill acquisition, kinesiology, anatomy, and biomechanics have been working in silos.  When one understands the concerns expressed above, one has a better feel for the problems we are trying to solve and why an inter-disciplinary team like ours is important to the development of elite throwing athletes.

Ernie Smith, Founder and CEO, Illinois Baseball Edge, Ltd.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith, aka “Smitty”, founded the Illinois Baseball Edge, Ltd. in 2021. His coaching career began long before that in the summer of 1980, and continues to evolve today with over 110 seasons of experience (if one counts Spring, Summer, and Fall separately). His focus upon long term player development and performance enhancement, with measurable results, is an approach not often found in baseball or softball and has led to some significant milestones. In recent years that approach has blended well with the evolution of player centric training methods including hyper personalization.
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