Welcome to the Command Ball FAQ, where we provide answers to a wide variety of popular questions pertaining to our new command balls. Please email email@example.com if you think we missed any!
Why should I use Command Balls and how can they help my command?
The idea of command balls spurned from the concept of introducing variability to the traditionally static and redundant task of throwing 5oz baseball to a target in non-competitive situations. While task specificity certainly has some place in motor learning, contemporary research regarding skill acquisition has supported the notion that increasing subtle variation in task constraints can expedite learning and force athletes to adapt to different stimuli. Instead of teaching command by repeatedly cueing a relatively subconscious skill, increasing the variability of size and weight of the baseballs forces athletes to explore different motor solutions, building out movement parameters and the ability to command different pitches organically. As a result, athletes can work to improve their kinesthetic awareness by throwing different weighted and sized baseballs without taking inefficient internal shortcuts that they've accumulated by exclusively throwing with a 5oz. Given the theory and results behind our Command Balls, we believe that they can have a positive impact on an athlete's command simply by incorporating them into their regular side, flatground, and mound work.
Can I use Command Balls to develop command of my secondaries? How do they affect my other offerings?
While testing Command Balls with both our own athletes on-site and our trial schools remotely, we found that the best way to incorporate the increased variability of different pitch types is to ease into it over the life of the program. Locating different weighted and sized implements can and should be challenging for athletes at first, so focusing on the primary pitch for athletes should be enough stimulus to start. Once athletes begin adapting and progressing through the program, we believe incorporating increased variability via pitch types can help add new challenges and potentially further improve command of an athlete's arsenal.
Can I use Command Balls while in-season?
Yes. The remote trial schools that worked their way through our Command Program were all in-season when incorporating the program with their athletes.
What is the recommended RPE or intent levels while going through the program?
The Command Program is designed to accommodate athletes who are both in and out of season by setting very loose restrictions as to what intent levels need to be ehibited when throwing these baseballs. Staying above 70% RPE assures that we are not just wasting throws that have relatively low transfer to max intensity pitches. However, by keeping that as the only limitation in regards to intent, it allows the athletes to use autoregulatory measures to assure that they aren't blowing it out during a mid-week side session or a lightly designed short-box. We want you to stay within your comfort zone with regards to your program, while at the same time avoiding wasted reps.
What were the results of your Command Ball testing and who participated?
We tested our Command Balls with several in-gym athletes who were going through an off-season program alongside three schools who were going through an in-season program. Across the entire sample (24 athletes ranging from college to professional), strike % increased by an average of 11% for athletes having gone through 6-8 weeks of the program.
How did you measure balls and strikes while testing in-gym? What should we use?
We measured balls and strikes by using a command trainer on-site. We felt that the objective, binary feedback that the command trainer would provide us was ultaimtely what we needed to conduct a fair test of our product. Moving forward, we encourage athletes to use any method of measuring balls and strikes to track results over time.