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Revolutionizing Pitcher Training: What are Plyos?

By: Ashley Sunshine

What Are Plyos?
Plyos are rubber balls filled with sand, designed to mimic the shape and size of a softball. Their primary function is to provide feedback to the brain, enhancing the pitcher’s awareness of their arm and body’s position in space. This feedback mechanism is crucial for developing efficient and healthy pitching patterns.
Plyos are not the same as weighted balls, which can be controversial due to potential arm health risks when used at high intensity for velocity training. Instead, plyos promote pattern efficiency and overall arm health. When overload plyos are thrown at low to moderate intensities, arm action slows down, allowing the trunk and arm to sync better, reducing the arm’s workload and promoting healthier mechanics.

The Impact of Plyos on Training, Health and Performance

  1. Enhanced Feedback: The sand inside the plyos shifts as the ball is thrown, giving the brain more information about the arm’s movement and positioning. This heightened feedback helps pitchers refine their mechanics more effectively than with traditional softballs.
  2.  Warm-Up Foundation: Plyos should be the starting point of a pitcher’s warm-up routine. By beginning with plyos, pitchers gradually build up intensity and ensure the coordination of their body and arm. This approach prepares the body more effectively than traditional warm-up methods that often isolate the arm from the rest of the body.
  3.  Promoting Pattern Efficiency: Efficiency in pitching is about maximizing the trunk’s role in the motion. Poor stability in the trunk forces the arm to compensate, leading to inefficiency and potential injury. OGX plyo programs help pitchers build trunk stability by utilizing different start types to maximize trunk contribution, while plyos simultaneously target arm segmentation and whip action.
  4. Promoting Velocity: An additional benefit of plyos is their role in promoting arm length during the pitching motion. Appropriate arm length is crucial for the efficient transfer of energy from the lower body through the trunk and finally to the throwing arm. By encouraging pitchers to achieve and maintain length through the arm, plyos help maximize the kinetic chain, ensuring that energy generated from the legs and core is effectively transferred through the arm to the ball.
  5.  Promoting Adjustability and Variability: Another key benefit of plyos is training the pitcher’s arm to be adjustable and variable. This means that regardless of changes in trunk motion between pitches, the pitcher’s arm can adapt and maintain performance. Introducing different weights within a plyo program helps pitchers develop this crucial adaptability

Conclusion

Plyos are a critical tool for improving pitching efficiency, promoting arm health, and teaching adjustability. When plyo weights are prescribed appropriately, they can dramatically impact pitcher performance at all ages. By incorporating them into warm-ups and training routines, pitchers can develop better trunk stability and arm variability, enhancing their overall performance and resilience in the game. Be sure to check out the OGX website to order plyos for your pitchers today!

A pitcher throwing plyos. What are plyos?