0:10 What is a velocity program and what does it include?
0:36 Is velocity a priority at this point in your career?
0:45 Are you prepared to seriously commit to a velocity program?
1:24 Is it the right time in your season to start a velocity program?
1:52 Have you done some research and talked with a variety of coaches and players with velocity program experience?
2:23 Have you been medically cleared to begin a velocity program?
2:56 Have you asked yourself why you want to start?
What is a velocity program and what does it include?
Although there is no concrete definition of the term "velocity program", I like to define it as a program designed to safely and effectively increase your ability to throw a baseball/softball faster. This program usually consists of a few main components:
1. Is velocity a priority at this point in your career?
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is whether or not throwing a baseball faster would make much of a difference at your age. At younger ages, more time should be spent on the fundamentals.
2. Are you prepared to seriously commit to a velocity program?
To fully reap the benefits of a throwing program takes a lot of dedication and commitment. Using fitness and bodybuilding as an example, these programs require following a program in its entirety. However, some athletes will cherry pick certain exercises that they like doing, and then wonder why the program they're doing isn't working. Choosing certain parts of different programs might work in theory, but might not neccessarily work in practice.
Even worse, not following a program or exercise(s) properly could potentially lead to injuries and/or decreases in performance, which is something no athlete wants to go through.
3. Is it the right time in your season to start a velocity program?
Starting a velocity program in the middle of playoffs may not be the best time, whereas the offseason or directly before the season starts may work better. Picking a good time is different for everyone and requires you to sit down and strategize with your coach and your parents.
Also, the velocity program you decide to take on might also have some recommendations on when the best time to start would be so make sure to look into this.
4. Have you done some research and talked with a variety of coaches and players with velocity program experience?
These days there are SO many throwing programs available, with each one guranteeing x, y, and z results. As I've said so many times before, nobody is going to take care of you and your goals like you are; not your coach, not your teammates, not even your own dad, so it's up to YOU to do your due diligence.
The best way to find out about a program is to talk to somebody who's been through it (preferably someone who knows a bit about your situation and goals), so that they help figure out if a certain program is right for you.
5. Have you been medically cleared to begin a velocity program?
Often, it's not the act of doing a program that causes injuries, but it's some lingering injury that's been lurking in the background that causes further injuries. I highly recommend getting medically cleared to be certain if you're ready for a program.
6. Have you asked yourself why you want to start? More questions to ask...
- Is this something you need?
- Does this make sense for the position you're playing?
- Are you just hopping on the bandwagon of velocity training?
other Opinions from around the web
We believe that it's always better to hear more than one opinion, so we put together some of what other industry leaders are saying about this topic.
Mike Reinold, one of the most popular and respected leaders in the field of sports medicine, rehabilitation, fitness, and sports performance, wrote an extensive article about weighted baseballs and states that he has 4 strict criteria when evaluating who may want to start a velocity throwing program:
- Full skeletal maturity
- Efficient throwing mechanics
- Baseline of strength and conditioning (usually a year or more of training)
- Baseline of arm strength and dynamic stability (usually a year or more of training)
If you're trying to decide whether or not you want to use a velocity throwing program, Mike's article is a MUST READ for everyone as it includes an analysis of a study done to test the efficacy of such programs.
Eric Cressey, another highly respected leader in the field of kinesiology, has this to say:
- "they’re only implemented with those who have built a decent foundation of strength and mastered the fundamental mechanics of throwing a regular (5oz) baseball."
- "It is NOT something I think coaches should just implement on a gross scale with unprepared 13-year-old kids."
- "We don’t start throwing weighted baseballs until we’ve built guys up on their long tossing and the arm is 100% ready. In other words, weighted ball work starts up right around the time that bullpens start."
Be sure to check out rest of Eric Cressey's full article here.