Wiffle-Ball Is Certainly Fun... But For Pitchers?
As a kid, there was nothing better than a little wiffle-ball home run derby in the backyard. Over the shrubs was a dong. Anything else was an out. And we played for hours – or until we’d foul one off into the gutters on the neighbor’s roof.
If the ball cracked, which almost always happened, we’d give it the ‘ole athletic tape treatment. And when that stopped working, we’d wrap the ball in black electrical tape.
By the time we were done, the ball was as hard – and heavy – as a rock.
As for the aluminum siding on the side of the neighbor’s garage, which often took the grunt of our swings? Well… let’s just say it was a good thing the neighbors worked during the day.
That’s how we spent our summers. And it was great.
In some respects, it was through wiffle-ball, that me and the other neighborhood kids learned baseball.
We’d "claim" the names of our favorite hitters and pitchers. I was usually a right-handed Don Mattingly at the plate (he actually hit from the left side) and The Eck (Dennis Eckersely) on the bump.
Let's face it, wiffle-ball is as American as baseball itself... but baseball players really got to be careful... I always encourage my ball players to do anything throwing that isn't a baseball with their other hand -- or avoid it all together.
Wiffle-ball throwing is no different.
You see, because the wiffle-ball is so light, the risk of shoulder impingement if thrown too hard increases dramatically. And because most pitchers don’t warm-up prior to throwing a wiffle-ball, the arm is often just not ready to be whipped at the velocity that can be generated because the implement is so much lighter than a baseball.
So should you do-away with wiffle-ball? No way, man. But be aware that throwing with your other hand, under-hand throwing or avoiding throws all together may be the best way to prevent shoulder injury that can occur when throwing a wiffle-ball too hard, too soon without being properly warmed-up (because it's just too light).
And if you do decide to throw with your throwing arm... take it easy. Don't over-throw!
Yours in baseball,
The Complete Pitcher™