Ball Modifications

Overview

A ball straight out of the box leaves much to be desired in the area of control.  In order to achieve success in getting the ball to the target, scuffing or cutting your ball is highly recommended.  There are many specific cutting techniques such as Wiffleboy28′s in this video, but we have listed the most common three types. We will also rate their durability and amount of break when pitching on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.


Techniques

The Cut Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using a steak knife, cut a small grid pattern on the top of the ball between the holes. Follow that by cutting three X’s down the plastic in between each hole. Finally cut random scores on the solid side of the ball. You also can scuff the ball with sandpaper before or after these steps. Durability: 2 | Break: 5

The Scuff Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a piece of sandpaper with a heavy grit (60 is preferred) and sand the entire outside surface of the ball as hard as you can. This helps greatly with ball movement when pitching, but you may need to re-sand the ball after a while if it smooths out. This is the quickest and easiest way to modify a wiffle ball. Some people will rub the ball on a rough surface, such as a brick or concrete, to get the same effect. Durability: 5 | Break: 3

The Screw Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is basically the same as the cut ball with a few different tweaks. Using the sharp end of a screw, cut a small grid pattern into the top of the ball followed by making three X’s down the top side in between the holes. Finally use the screw tip to make random scores on the solid side of the ball. This is best paired with sanding the ball to get a rougher surface on the outside. Casey prefers sanding only the top half to get some good break with the ball. Durability: 4 | Break: 4


Conclusion

We suggest getting a few balls and experimenting with which scuffing/cutting style you find works best for you. The wiffle ball pros usually only use one ball at a time so they know exactly how it will break every time. We, on the other hand, are not that advanced. Good luck!

14 Replies to “Ball Modifications”

  1. Hey guys,

    Have you considered cutting/scuffing the side of the ball without the holes? You can get a slider to break about 4-6+ feet that way, as you induce a ‘slippery’ turbulent boundary layer to form on the side without holes. Batters think the pitch will go BEHIND them, then it crosses over and hits the zone. I used to aim at a spot (fence post) 3 feet behind the batter’s head when throwing it to hit the strike zone. The wiffle ball breaks toward the holes at slow speeds due to turbulence induced by the holes so the ball breaks toward the holes at slow speeds. At faster speeds, the ball will break away from the holes as the air flowing around the solid side sticks to it more (boundary layer theory), like the upper part of a wing, and deflects the ‘wake’ away from the direction it breaks. What you do by scuffing is lower the speed at which the ball will change from breaking towards to away from the holes, and the air “sticks to” the scuffed side even more efficiently (like the little traingular vortex generators on the leading edge of aircraft wings), causing a larger break distance, but the penalty is some speed is bled off from all of that air being deflected, no free lunch.

    Here is the crazy thing: The ball size has everything to do with how fast the transition speed is, because of Reynold’s Number. Buy some wiffle junior balls, and some wiffle king balls (softball size). The wiffle kings will break away from the holes at a much slower pitch speed. The wiffle junior needs an even faster pitch than the regular wiffle ball to break away from the holes. The curious thing about the wiffle junior is that if thrown hard enough, it will break away from the holes for the first part of the pitch (until about 15 feet from the batter), then CHANGE direction and break towards the holes as it slows down. Really creepy pitch. A slider thrown by a RHP will appear to be unreachable at first to a right handed batter (break far out of reach outside), then just as the batter has made the decision not to swing, it will change direction and tap the strike zone, infuriating the batter. You can of course scuff the solid side of the junior balls to reduce the transition speed, making them act more like an unscuffed regular ball.

    The Wiffle Kings can be thrown harder due to the extra mass; they carry further and keep their speed better, and the transition speed is very slow, like 25-30mph, then it starts breaking away from the holes. They can be hard to hit, and will actually dent the yellow wiffle bats. They curve less, because they are heavier, unless scuffed almost paper-thin, but then you lose the speed/momentum advantage.

    We use the junior balls because they break towards the holes at medium pitch speeds (small backyard with tall ‘fences’), and we use lighter wooden bats: fungo bats (17-22 oz), the marucci stick, and the markwort corkball bat. It makes for a pretty fun time, mound is 41 feet from strike zone, about 38 feet to home.

    JSS

    1. Reading over what I said, I have to correct myself somewhat. I am not sure exactly why the ball curves toward the holes at slower speeds, those are just conjectures as to what may be going on. It may be a simple proposition of more drag on the hole side ‘pulling’ the ball towards the holes, just like digging an oar in the water in a kayak to turn quickly. But at speed, the wake deflection I think is correct. People have studied Wiffle Balls in wind tunnels, but the balls were not spinning, if I remember right, so I bet I could be wrong on some things posted above, but that is the way they make sense to me, and it allows me to predict where a pitch will go. But seriously, take your steak knife to the solid side, and see what happens….

      JSS

      1. Thanks chad and the blitz balls still would have gone over my fields fence if not nailed it with the revx 2. Keep on making great videos!

    1. Jordan, it’s a risk/reward technique. The deeper the better with regard to ball movement consistency. However, and this is a BIG however, the deeper you go, the easier the ball breaks. Use this method wisely.

  2. My preference is with a Dremel tool (edge of drum sander), on the solid side of the ball, if you are gonna cut, cross-hatch. You can make it break 6 feet on sliders, but the balls do not last as long. I had a favorite one that was amazing.

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