Medicine balls have long been one of my favorite tools to help build strength and power as a coach. I’m not a big fan of in the gym weightlifting, I feel like to often the focus becomes competitive; who can bench press the most weight, who can curl the most reps, and the real goal of training for strength is lost: to give you an edge on the baseball diamond.
Medicine balls offer the resistance necessary to build muscle tissue, but are used with natural body movements, training muscle memory and increasing the strength of the stabilizers – the muscles that prevent injury and improve baseball conditioning. The following two extremely simple drills can help to improve throwing and hitting power, without creating a bulky, unnatural body type more akin to an olympic weightlifter than a pro ball player.
Overhand Medicine Ball Throw
Have two players line up, somewhere between 5-10 yards apart from each other, depending on their strength levels and the weight of the medicine ball. They should get into an athletic stance, similar to what they would be in if they were throwing and catching a baseball over a long distance.
The first player to throw will start off with the ball low, at his or her waistline, and then bring the ball up in circular motion to their back shoulder, before using the momentum they’ve built to carry the ball up forward and toward their throwing partner. Medicine balls are heavy, and using a traditional one hand movement can be bad for your shoulders. Make sure they use their entire bodies – because that’s the point. We’re trying to build
the core strength of your players.
The catcher should not attempt to grab the ball out of the air, for the same reasons I just mentioned. The players should be far enough apart that the ball will bounce once off the ground before reaching their partner, making the catch much easier, and much safer.
Underhand Medicine Ball Throw
All the rules and setup are the exact same for the underhand throw, including the starting position. But instead of bring the ball up and over, the player will rotate backwards, bring the ball past their back hip, and then rotating forward and lobbing it over to their partner underhanded, with two hands.
These drills will affect all parts of baseball, and your sure to see improvements next time you practice hitting drills, or pitching drills. And if you’ve got any questions or suggestions, make sure to pipe in below in the comments section! Thanks!