Driveline Plyocare Balls | Plyocare Drills - Tread Athletics

Driveline Plyos are available for purchase here.

Driveline Plyocare Balls

Driveline's Plyos are a staple in TreadAthletics' training programs, with a wide range of uses and applications from arm care and recovery work, to velocity building and arm action remapping. Their versatility and durability makes them the most popular training and throwing accessory that our athletes use. 

What exactly are Plyocare balls?

Plyocare balls, or "plyos" for short, are soft physical therapy balls with weights ranging from 100g (~3.5 ounces) all the way up to 2,000 grams (4+ lbs). All but the heaviest two balls are just slightly larger than a baseball and very comfortable in the hand. They are generally thrown into a wall during drillwork, and their design prevents excess rebound off the wall. This application not only gives good auditory feedback from hearing the louder/softer impact depending on the quality of the throwing rep, but allows athletes to get everything from low intensity to max intensity throwing work done without the need for a partner. 

Tanner Reklaitis, from sitting 82 to touching 95 in 2 years, demonstrating the Walking Windup

Won't throwing Plyos screw up your control?

While plyos make up a key component of our athletes' arm care and daily drillwork, realize that this is then followed up by baseball throwing to a partner or command trainer in almost all cases. This helps to maintain a consistent release point, and avoid falling into any bad mechanical habits. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of throwing plyocare balls is the arm action remapping effect we consistently observe, where the heavier balls groove more efficient arm paths and the lighter balls then apply an overspeed effect to those now smoothed out patterns. We've even had athletes throw nothing but plyocare balls for several months and end up reporting improved command after cleaning up major arm timing issues, but this is not recommended. 

Driveline vs. Tap Plyocare Balls:

We have been very happy with the durability of Driveline's plyos, especially compared with the main alternative - Tap Plyo balls. Though it would depend somewhat on the surface and velocity of the throws, we've found that a set of plyos should last well over a year even when thrown regularly into a concrete wall by 90+ mph throwers. We happened to have a set of Tap Plyos as well, but busted several of them after just a few months. If you're throwing into a very soft pad or a net, this probably isn't a factor.


"One of the biggest benefits of throwing plyocare balls is the arm action remapping effect"


While it comes down to preference, we also like the slightly larger than a baseball feel of the Driveline Plyos, vs. the slightly smaller than a baseball feel of the Tap Plyos. Going from Driveline Plyo work to baseball throwing makes the baseball feel like a golf ball, and seems to make for an easier transition between baseball throwing mechanics than the other way around. 

Do They Actually Work?

Throwing is throwing, so first realize that these are still weighted balls and any first time user should use them only within a structured and age-appropriate throwing protocol. You absolutely can get injured, just as with a baseball, by not warming up properly, failing to slowly progress number and intensity of throws, or using them for drills in which they were not designed (none of our athletes use the 2,000g ball for anything beside a couple general arm care drills, and even the 1,000g ball is generally restricted to moderate intensity arm action drills and reverse throws only.

That being said, there is little doubt that throwing plyos can be a potent stimulus - Gabe Noyalis threw Plyos exclusively, not touching a baseball in preparation for a tryout in which he topped at 98 mph and was signed as a free agent in 2016 by the Blue Jays. Myself, I was first released by the Chicago White Sox after my velocity dropped from 90-93 touching 95 to 88-92 touching 93. Within 2 months of this, being able to resume much of the arm care and velocity training that originally built up my velo (including the use of Plyocare balls), I was sitting 94+ with the cleanest arm action I'd ever had. Check out some of our featured athlete stories for more examples of this.

My baseball mechanics cleaned up following a return to Plyocare throwing and arm care

Value:

While slightly more expensive than Tap Plyocare balls, their improved durability means they should last significantly longer if you plan to use them for years to come. Both brands of plyos can work -just take the size and durability into account when making your decision. 

** To save 10% on Driveline Plyocare Balls, use promo code: "tread10athletics"

Driveline Plyos are available for purchase here.