Overload / Underload Coaching: How It Works & Why Ball Gamers Ought to Use This Coaching Methodology

There are some, notably on-line, who proceed to unfold incorrect and deceptive details about weighted ball coaching. Our dialogue right here will cope with Overload/Underload (OU) coaching on the whole, and its software to baseball and softball specifically.

1. OU Coaching Outlined

2. A Transient Historical past of OU Analysis and Coaching

3. Different Sports activities That Use OU Coaching

4. The Advantages of OU Coaching

5. Different Baseball Specialists Who Are Proponents of OU Coaching


Utilizing weight-modified implements which are in any other case similar

to these used throughout competitors

The weights of those modified instruments weigh each extra and fewer than the usual aggressive weight.

Such instruments permit athletes to coach extra exactly for his or her sport. Sport-specific power and energy are developed by actions with resistance or help that imitate the joint motion of the ability – SPECIFIC RESISTANCE TRAINING. What makes the sort of coaching so efficient is that the weights of the modified instruments used are heavy sufficient to supply a conditioning impact, but gentle sufficient to not adversely have an effect on the athlete’s mechanical abilities.

Usually, OU Coaching is employed to extend an athlete’s POWER. Energy is outlined as the speed at which one can carry out work, or the power to exert muscle drive shortly. This capability is said to, however distinct from power, which is outlined as the power to exert muscle drive.

For example, power is demonstrated as the power to select up a 30 oz. bat. Energy is demonstrated by the power to drive a baseball 400+ ft whereas swinging that 30 oz. bat.

So long as the instruments used should not too heavy, mechanics should not affected, making OU Coaching what I name “skill-neutral.” In response to printed knowledge (see under) the perfect weight vary for conditioning and efficiency enhancement is as much as 20% +/- the burden of the aggressive implement. I do NOT advocate utilizing baseballs weighing greater than 6 oz., or softballs heavier than Eight oz. There may be some knowledge that signifies utilizing a lot heavier balls can negatively have an effect on throwing mechanics, probably resulting in arm issues. Additional motor-units are recruited whereas throwing these heavy balls which are then not used when the common aggressive ball is used. As pertains to our dialogue right here, the modified implements ball gamers can use are weighted baseballs and softballs, and numerous weights of baseball/softball bats, and/or gadgets hooked up to those bats.

Conversely, the sort of coaching wouldn’t be helpful for coaching different athletic ability areas, for instance, capturing or throwing accuracy. OU coaching might assist a golfer drive their tee photographs additional, however it would not assist remove their slice if they’ve one, or in any other case assist them to hit straighter drives. OU coaching might assist a younger basketball participant who’s having hassle hoisting a basketball excessive sufficient to make a shot in a 10 foot hoop, however the shot nonetheless must be correct sufficient to go in. Accuracy coaching wanted for a selected ability would due to this fact be carried out aside from energy work.

If I used to be working with a pitcher who had management issues, I’d not escape the weighted baseballs and anticipate coaching of this sort to assist him throw strikes. I’d have a look at his mechanics and make any wanted changes, and probably counsel some drill work to assist reinforce the brand new ideas being taught. Such a participant may also be working with weighted baseballs/softballs as a part of their general coaching routine, however this might happen at a unique time, and for the needs of growing extra energy and pace behind his/her throws in addition to conditioning the throwing constructions of the arm.

A possible side-benefit of OU coaching is {that a} participant might enhance their accuracy by advantage of the elevated variety of reps or throws they’re performing. This is able to be an artifact of the principle objective of enhancing energy, nevertheless, and never the principle goal of OU coaching.


The primary analysis involving OU coaching was carried out within the 1970s by the Soviet Union and East-European observe and subject groups. A substantial amount of this analysis has been printed in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals world wide. Shot-putters, javelin, discus and hammer throwers, and sprinters have been the early adopters of this coaching methodology.

Analysis with baseball gamers dates again to the 1960s. That is only a sampling of research involving OU Coaching and baseball. There are dozens extra referring to OU Coaching typically:

1) Coop DeRenne, Kwok W. Ho and James C. Murphy. 2001: Results of Basic, Particular, and Particular Resistance Coaching on Throwing Velocity in Baseball: A Transient Assessment. The Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis: Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 148-156.

2) Escamilla et al. 2000: Sports activities Med Apr; 29 (4): 259-272

3) David J. Szymanski, MEd, CSCS, June 1998: The Results of Varied Weighted Bats on Bat Velocity – A Literature Assessment. Energy and Conditioning, pp. 8 – 11

4) Coop DeRenne, Barton P. Buxton, Ronald Ok. Hetzler and Kwok W. Ho. 1995: Results of Weighted Bat Implement Coaching on Bat Swing Velocity. The Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis: Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 247-250.

5) Coop DeRenne, Barton P. Buxton, Ronald Ok. Hetzler and Kwok W. Ho. 1994: Results of Underneath- and Overweighted Implement Coaching on Pitching Velocity. The Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis: Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 247-250.

6) Coop DeRenne, Kwok Ho and Alan Blitzblau. 1990: Results of Weighted Implement Coaching on Throwing Velocity. The Journal of Utilized Sport Science Analysis, 4, 16-19.

7) DeRenne, C., Tracy, R., and Dunn-Rankin, P. 1985: Rising Throwing velocity. Athletic Journal, April, 36 – 39.

8) Bagonzi, J. A. 1978: The Results of Graded Weighted Baseballs, Free Weight Coaching, and Simulative Isometric Train on the Velocity of a Thrown Baseball. Grasp’s thesis, Indiana College.

9) Litwhiler, D., and Hamm, L. 1973: Overload: Impact on Throwing Velocity and Accuracy. Athletic Journal, 53, 64-65.

10) Brose, D.E., and D.L. Hanson 1967: Results of Overload Coaching on Velocity and Accuracy of Throwing. Analysis Quarterly. 38:528-533.

11) Elias, J. 1964. The Impact of Overload Coaching on Velocity in Baseball Pitching. Unpublished Grasp’s thesis, Springfield Faculty, Springfield, Massachusetts.

12) Egstrom, G.H., Logan, G.A., and E. L. Wallis 1960: Acquisition of Throwing ability Involving Projectiles of various Weight. analysis Quarterly 31:420-425.


Over and underloaded implements and strategies are used very successfully by athletes in lots of sports activities to reinforce efficiency:

Monitor & Area: heavier and lighter discuses, javelins, shot balls (shot putters) and hammers; sprinting with resistance, corresponding to pulling weighted sleds, sporting weighted vests, and downhill working on a slight downward slope, being towed whereas working, and working on a excessive pace treadmill (overSPEED coaching) .

Swimming: sporting swimming gloves that permit for extra water to be pulled throughout an arm stroke; swimming whereas dragging an implement or in any other case artificially producing drag on a swimmer.

Heavier footballs (over the usual 15 oz) are thrown by quarterbacks; heavier basketballs are utilized by basketball gamers. Boxers prepare with completely different weights of boxing gloves.

Word that ALL of those coaching implements are used to enhance POWER and/or SPEED by the joint range-of-motion (ROM) within the exercise being skilled, which might result in enhanced efficiency.


Profit #1

Applicable power and conditioning regimens, corresponding to OU Coaching, can cut back and even forestall arm accidents associated to throwing by rising STRENGTH/ENDURANCE. Elevated Energy – helps forestall damage. Elevated Endurance – helps preserve throwing velocity, permits for extra pitches to be thrown earlier than tiring.

The muscle tissues, tendons, ligaments and bones (even nerves) of the shoulder and arm on the whole will positively adapt to an acceptable improve in coaching load. They develop into harder and extra sturdy, capable of deal with better workloads. Such coaching should conform to the next two tips:

1) The coaching load is adequate to supply the specified coaching impact, but not so nice as to negatively influence throwing (or hitting) mechanics.

2) The thrower’s program introduces OU coaching step by step and systematically, using a coaching precept often called Progressive Overload (Clarkson & Watson, 1990). This precept states that “power and endurance can’t be elevated except the muscle tissues are pressured past their regular workload. To extend the workload, improve the frequency, period and depth of your train program.”

To successfully and safely improve throwing velocity, depth is elevated by utilizing 20% +/- OU balls, period is elevated by step by step rising the variety of OU throws carried out with every exercise, and frequency is elevated by the variety of days of throwing exercises. Arm/shoulder constructions skilled on this method are extra able to dealing with the common aggressive sport necessities, that are lower than these imposed by the OU conditioning. An arm conditioned for making quite a few throws with a 6 ouncesball will greater than probably out-perform an arm skilled solely to carry out beneath a 5 oz. load (capability, mechanics and over-use concerns apart).

Dr. Mike Marshall, in his Pitching E-book (Chapter 32, pp. 5 & 6), describes an idea he calls “Plioanglos Coaching” as a method of coaching the exterior rotator cuff muscle tissues (decelerators). That is just like the concepts expressed above:

“Plioanglos coaching means including resistance to ahead ballistically rushing pitching arms to extend capacities of lengthening deceleration muscle tissues to cease.”

Maybe that is finest summed up by means of the well-known conditioning precept S.A.I.D. – Particular Adaptation to Imposed Calls for (Wallis and Logan, 1964). This precept states that the physique will adapt to emphasize imposed on it (so long as it’s not extreme, during which case the physique breaks down). One secure and efficient approach of doing that is with OU Coaching, using the aforementioned tips.

Profit #2

Improved on-field efficiency – elevated throwing velocity (or bat pace).

Elevated arm pace all through the throwing Vary of Movement (ROM). This attribute is developed by throwing a ball weighing 20% lower than the aggressive ball. As a result of the ball weighs much less, the arm strikes extra shortly by its ROM, resulting in elevated throwing velocity. Throwing lighter balls has been proven (each clinically and on the ball subject) to be the most effective means of accelerating throwing velocity. Swinging appropriately lighter bats helps develop elevated bat pace. That is also referred to as overSPEED coaching.

A observe on “gentle” ball coaching, highschool and older gamers: This may be a superb approach for pitchers specifically to get a great quantity of throwing in between begins with much less stress on the arm. For youth ball gamers – why will we make lighter bats for youthful ball gamers, but make them throw the identical 5 ouncesball that guys like Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson throw? That youth fields are smaller makes little distinction relating to the size of a number of the throws that younger gamers must make. These little arms nonetheless must generate quite a lot of drive to propel the ball. Underweight balls (Four oz.) are a GREAT instrument for gamers of all ages.

Profit #3

Enhanced neuromuscular conditioning.

In response to Vern Gambetta, Energy and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago White Sox, the first supply of fatigue in baseball pitching just isn’t metabolic, however neural. The metabolic calls for – conditioning – are simply not that nice in baseball or softball. Do not misunderstand – I am talking right here of the talents required to be a great hitter or pitcher. Being nicely conditioned remains to be vital, as this can assist forestall damage, however little question you have seen gamers like John Kruk, David Wells, Tony Gwynn, and others. Excessive degree performers who should not notably nicely conditioned.

Neural fatigue happens on the motor-unit degree. Within the act of pitching, for instance, the Central Nervous System sends a nerve impulse to a motor unit (MU) within the shoulder concerned on this course of. The power of those MUs to transmit these alerts, with optimum frequency and pace, diminishes over time. This “breakdown” happens on the nerve synapse/biochemical degree, which THEN results in slower and weaker muscle contractions.

In baseball pitching, throwing muscle tissues and tendons within the shoulder are stretching and contracting repeatedly whereas accelerating and decelerating the arm throughout an overhand throw – fixed biochemical exercise on the neuromuscular junction. As neural fatigue units in, it turns into manifest in mechanical issues. For instance, a pitcher dropping their shoulder later within the sport, resulting in a lack of management or velocity. The powerful factor is, this “fatigue” is normally not felt by the pitcher, however it happens however.

That is the place correct conditioning (OU Coaching) is available in. Analysis has proven that neurons adapt to emphasize very like muscle tissues do. Motor neurons uncovered to high-frequency impulses find yourself with extra developed neuromuscular junctions which seem extra able to dealing with high-intensity impulses higher than these not uncovered to related stress. The S.A.I.D. precept in impact once more.

Does this imply OU Coaching is idiot proof, and has by no means harmed a participant? In fact not. Most any kind of conditioning, carried out incorrectly, could cause issues or damage. Throwing itself, be it footballs, baseballs, rocks or no matter, has harmed many a throwing arm. Working is the reason for many knee and ankle accidents. Shoulder issues amongst swimmers are frequent. Ice skaters typically undergo from some very painful leg illnesses. I might go on, however you get the purpose. All of those accidents and issues happen as part of the athlete’s common follow and aggressive actions. Performing them correctly minimizes the danger, after all. So does quite a lot of power and conditioning strategies, together with OU Coaching.


Dr. John Bagonzi. Former pitcher with the Purple Sox. Often known as the “Pitching Professor” and writer of the extremely regarded e-book, “The Act of Pitching.”

Dr. Tom Home. Former pitcher with the Rangers. Writer/co-author of a number of books, together with “The Successful Pitcher” and “Energy Baseball.” Private pitching coach to Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Mark Prior, and others.

Dr. Mike Marshall. Former Cy Younger Award winner with the Dodgers. Writer of the e-book, “Teaching Pitchers” and the pitching coaching DVD, “Dr. Mike Marshall’s Pitching Educational Video.”

Dr. Coop DeRenne. Former skilled participant, teacher and advisor to the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. Most likely this nation’s main baseball researcher, supervising 16 hitting and pitching warm-up, biomechanical, and visible analysis tasks utilizing over 600 novice {and professional} hitters and pitchers as his topics. Co-author (with Tom Home) of the e-book, “Energy Baseball” and different baseball coaching books.

ASMI – The American Sports activities Drugs Institute

All of those specialists possess impeccable credentials and favor some kind of weighted ball coaching.

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