Welcome to the Baseball Speed Training guide. This is the complete guide to baseball speed and learning how you can maximize your speed potential during game situations.
In addition to reading this guide, I would highly recommend checking out the complete Baseball Speed Training Program here where you will get instant access to even more content and baseball workouts to make you unstoppable that is not available anywhere else.
Whether you are a baseball player looking to learn how to optimize your sport-specific speed or a coach of any kind looking to help out baseball athletes, this is the baseball speed guide you will want to read.
Because this Baseball Speed guide might be tough to finish in one sitting we’ve included a table of contents that you can use to come back to resume your reading.
Table Of Contents
Speed makes you stand out during a game to your coach and the team.
Speed makes you separate yourself from the pack when the fans are watching.
Speed makes you stand out way more to the scouts and recruiters.
Speed makes you stand out from your team on the scoresheet.
Those who possess speed have the ability to create devasting effects on the field.
It’s no mistake that when you review the literature on sports science that speed of movement is the number one physical characteristic an athlete can have in order to make them a high-performer.
I have been working and researching for many, many years now on baseball performance.
It is a dream of mine to create a manual that is considered “The Standard” guide that all coaches should refer to when delivering fast results for their baseball athletes.
I think that this article accomplishes that dream, and I hope you will agree once you read through it carefully and then give the methods an honest chance.
I really believe that baseball athletes are in dire need of an unbiased resource that will provide them both the scientific evidence and the real “in the trenches” experience that I have from building hundreds of baseball athletes from the ground up.
Because speed is an incredibly complex topic, and to both quantify the needs as well as qualify the protocols is an extremely delicate process.
A ton of credit needs to be given to the researchers that I discuss throughout this article because they have contributed their lives to sports performance research and yet they go almost completely unrecognized while the coaches are the ones who gain all of the credit.
Some of the information I will be discussing with you has been around for decades and some of it is new cutting-edge material.
One is not better than the other, the magic is always in the application of whatever tool you are using, and not the tool itself.
I have done my best to keep this as simple and accessible as possible for all of the coaches and athletes out there, but some topics can only be made so simple before you start disrespecting what they truly are.
So, I did exactly what Einstein once famously said:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler than that.”
It is my hope that you will have a firm grip on the technical aspects of speed training once you have completed this article, but if you have any questions, you can always contact us and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
I’m being completely honest with you when I am telling you that I am pouring every bit of speed knowledge you will ever need to know after you read this.
I appreciate you for reading my content, I love making baseball athletes perform better, and I want to help you succeed as much as possible.
All aspects of training baseball players fascinate me.
I have spent years of my life and a totally immeasurable amount of money on my education because learning, analyzing, watching, researching, and applying training techniques to improve baseball performance is my greatest passion in life.
Speed truly is one of the most athletic actions a baseball athlete could ever express, and it is one of the most secretive areas in my industry of strength and conditioning because nobody wants to share their systems.
I am not one of those selfish people.
Everybody wants speed, and I am going to show you exactly how to get it.
The Components of Baseball Speed
Baseball is a sport of made up of explosive starts, high-velocity direction change, and the ability to instantaneously decelerate so that you can redirect your speed into the direction of where you need to go.
Because of this, speed and agility are crucial aspects to becoming a high-performing and well-rounded baseball player.
If you’re on offense, speed is a major advantage because the defense has to get the ball to the base faster than the player on the base path.
If you’re on defense, speed is a major advantage because a fast team is able to cover more ground and is even able to make up for any potential mistakes they make.
Programming for Baseball Speed
The approach with your speed programming needs to be well-rounded in its overall structure and far removed from the old-school ways of:
“Go out for a run”
“Do some interval training”
“Alright guys, line up! Time to do some suicide runs”
…although these super basic methods work in the beginning when an athlete is new to training, it’s not something that is going to continue their speed progression further as they become a more advanced baseball athlete.
Careful program design structure needs to be in place because batters and runners need the ability to accelerate and decelerate suddenly, while defensive players need quick feet and lateral speed.
Defensively, the players in the middle of the field (shortstop, second base, and center field) tend to be your fastest and most explosive players — then you have your corner players (right and left field, first base, and third base) who tend to be the next fastest — and lastly you have your pitchers and catchers who tend to be the least fast.
The differences here, of course, can vary from team to team or player to player, but that breakdown holds true in most cases due to the nature of their position and the specific speed and conditioning drills they would require to match their positions demand during a game.
Being Explosive is A Requirement
Even though a baseball game is a very long event, the bulk of the energy substrate demand required to play this sport comes from your anaerobic alactic system.
Meaning, even though a game is over an hour-long, the bulk of your speed training should consist of highly explosive movement as that’s where the game-deciding plays and moves are coming from.
In between those big moments is just recovery time and not actual gameplay.
Being explosive is a requirement for baseball, which immediately makes it a requirement within your speed training. Don’t train slow, because if you train slow you will be slow. Period.
The overwhelming majority of your speed and agility training should take place over very short distances and emphasize long rest periods for complete recovery (just like you would see in a game setting).
The Components of Baseball Speed Training
Generally speaking, a speed and agility program that is sport-specific to the demands of baseball should include the following:
Acceleration: Unless you’re in track and field, no athlete really ever reaches top speed levels in a game environment.
For this reason, emphasizing hard on acceleration within your training in order to improve how fast you can cover the bases and how fast you can get under a ball is key.
Deceleration: Your “stop-start” speed is crucial for base running, exploding into high speed, and for all of your defensive work.
People work so hard on their start-speed, yet they forget that training the “stop” is 50% of the equation.
Change of Direction Speed: Your ability to change directions on a dime is crucial for base running, base stealing, and all defensive play.
The best athletes in the world look as if they lose no speed when changing direction, this is a trainable quality.
Lateral Speed: Lateral speed is something baseball players forget about in their programming because a lot of coaches get a little too excited about things like HIIT.
Lateral speed is something that is drill specific (meaning, you won’t get it if you just sprint) and will increase your performance in base stealing and all defensive play.
Anaerobic Conditioning: Although conditioning is different than speed, it is still a component of speed as it is your conditioning that will allow you to maintain your speed during a nine-inning (or more) game.
Baseball Specific Mobility Drills: Mobility is required within a baseball speed training program because if you’re not moving correctly you will never be able to execute the technical aspects of speed at a high enough level in order to reach a truly elite level of performance.
Beyond this, mobility work can help keep you injury-free so that you can spend more time training, and therefore spend more time getting faster.
Now that we have some general terminology and direction to go with, let’s move into clearing up one of the worst baseball myths of all time.
Speed vs. Conditioning
Since baseball conditioning is a topic for an entirely different project, I’m only going to touch on the importance and strategies within this section in order to bring the bigger picture to the conversation of speed.
Conditioning and speed are two different things, and we’re going to be treating them as such.
Although it’s natural to think that conditioning training plays the biggest role in speed, you’re starting to see now how speed is a very different component than just conditioning.
There are simply too many complex factors to consider, and then you have to place all of those factors together in a logical sequence.
This is why the average coach’s recommendations of just:
“Go run outside”
“Do some laps around the diamond”
Does next to nothing for speed, or even conditioning for that matter.
Baseball being a sport that requires a mixed demand of specific energy system conditioning means the process in proper training program design for baseball conditioning can be very tricky and requires a lot of back work to determine at the cellular level what is really going on.
From an energy system conditioning perspective, baseball is an alactic-aerobic sport.
Meaning, it demands short bouts of high intensity power output interspersed by low intensity aerobic work.
So, to properly condition yourself for the game and to have maximal speed, you need anaerobic conditioning but you also need to have that base aerobic capacity.
Sure, the game of baseball is almost entirely anaerobic during a play, so training has to maximally replicate those specific muscle energy system demands, but at the same time, if you are walking around with absolutely zero aerobic capacity you’re not going to be able to oxygenate your tissues very well or recover at the same rate in plays/innings/games.
The good news is baseball only requires a fairly decent aerobic capacity base and then once that base has been built, it is much easier to maintain.
Those who know their sport performance physiology well know that residual adaptations from aerobic development normally last up to 30 days in trained athletes.
So, once a baseball player has built up a base aerobic capacity, he only needs to revisit it every so often to maintain it.
This is good news because let’s face it, no athlete likes to go for long jogs outside or spend an hour on the treadmill after training.
Especially right when the season has just finished. Too much pounding and wear n’ tear on the joints, and if we’re being honest it gets boring pretty quick.
Especially when you consider the fact that it doesn’t have much carry over into the game of baseball anyways.
Always remember, conditioning has a different definition for every athlete.
A marathon runner does not have the anaerobic conditioning to hang with the 100m sprinters and perform those repeated bouts of maximal sprinting.
Their performance will drop immensely, their performance would also likely be pretty poor since they aren’t anaerobically trained in the first place.
On the other hand, the 100m sprinters do not have the aerobic conditioning required to run a marathon at the rate a marathon runner would be able to, they would get destroyed.
Apples and oranges.
Athletic conditioning is completely dependent on the sport you play.
No athlete’s conditioning system should look the same across different sports.
This is why there are different gold medalists in the 100m, 400m, and 800mg races; different energy system conditioning requirements for different athletes.
The definition of conditioning is completely relative to the sport you’re playing.
For more information on the anaerobic aspect in excruciating detail, check out the baseball articles and conditioning workouts I have done exclusively on baseball conditioning.
And for even more information on the topic plus the actual application of the complete approach to advanced conditioning training, check out my conditioning specific workout sample workouts available on those pages as well.
Here in this manual, the sprint variations and weight lifting you will see in the workout templates I provide do train anaerobic alactic conditioning levels which will crossover into baseball.
But, if you want to maximize overall conditioning and not solely speed development, it is best to incorporate both systems.
Conditioning is a huge part of the game, it doesn’t matter how fast you are or how strong you are if you have an empty gas tank.
The game of baseball is played within inches and seconds.
Very often you see examples of guys scoring a run with zero margin for error, or being just 1 step ahead of the opponent to slide in for the run, or those guys that really stand out because they have as much gas in the final innings as they did in the beginning of the game.
These are all examples of the relationship both speed and conditioning have together.
It’s great to have one, but it’s phenomenal to have both.
Conditioning can even “mask” itself as speed in these scenarios. You may appear much faster than your opponents, but that is only because all of your opponents are slowing down due to poor conditioning.
This isn’t technically speed as much as it is being able to hold on to your speed.
You can’t replace a conditioned athlete’s importance in the final innings of a brutal game.
Long story short:
Let’s get clear on something right now:
Speed is your ability to perform a given task faster.
Conditioning is your ability to perform a given task longer.
Coaches consistently fail their baseball athletes when designing their speed programming because they don’t allow their athletes to fully recover in between each set.
If you enter your next set in a pre-fatigued state you are naturally going to train your conditioning systems as you are telling the body that it needs to perform when you’re really tired.
But, if you enter your next set fully recovered then you will be better able to emit as much force production as possible to move faster, and thus, train speed.
The Science of Sport Specific Training for Baseball
When you work with baseball athletes, you want to make 100% sure that your programs are going to improve their performance in a game setting, and not just improve their performance in the gym.
And if you want your athletes to win those baseball games, you need to know that your programs are better than any other programs your competitors are making.
Naturally, you probably already think that your way is the “best way” of doing things, we all have our biases.
But in reality, there is no way in really knowing whether a different approach could be superior to what we are currently doing for this particular athlete at this particular time.
There’s always so much going on at once, with sports science and with the athletes you’re working with.
So, how can you guarantee yourself a competitive advantage over everyone else?
Well, if this is what you’re after then a really good way in which you can start spending your time is by thinking about this question…
How EXACTLY are strength gains from training transferred into real baseball performance?
The best place to start is to look at the data behind how a movement like a barbell squat transfers to more functional movements like jumping, sprinting, or changing direction quickly.
The Science of Strength Transfer
Strength is a physical quality that is very specific, meaning, the gains in strength seen in an exercise that you’re doing are always greatest in that specific exercise.
So, even though strength does transfer to other movements (like a squat to a jump), the movement you did in the first place will always receive the most strength gain (you will gain more in the squat than you will in the jump).
The degree to which you see an athletic movement improve after making strength gains with a “gym exercise” is what we would call transfer.
Transfer depends a lot on the similarity of exercises and movements across all of the ways strength can transfer, and not just the movement pattern.
However, since the movement pattern is the most easy to see, this tends to get talked about the most, and therefore, replicated the most through embarrassingly “specific” baseball functioning training.
For example, tying a stick to a cable tower and doing resisted “bat swings”, this couldn’t be more ridiculous and useless for baseball players, yet the movement pattern appears similar so it is easy to sell on its supposed transferability.
Bridging The Gap To Baseball Performance
When the term “functional training” started gaining massive popularity strength coaches stopped talking about how to figure out which exercises transferred best to baseball because it was assumed that the movement pattern was the only thing that mattered.
Don’t get me wrong, movement pattern plays a role in transferability, but it doesn’t play the only role.
Within the framework of utilizing sport-specific exercises for baseball, there are eight different ways in which you can choose an exercise that is going to be beneficial for baseball performance:
- Contraction emphasis (eccentric vs. concentric)
- Joint angle
- Time under tension
- Stability of working structures during movement
- External load stimulus (weight, band, medicine ball, etc.)
- Targeted muscle groups and energy systems
When you break that list down you can begin to take the “movement pattern” blinders off and instead analyze the exercise that you’re using and to what degree it’s going to transfer to a game setting.
Baseball Agility Training
When you put your ability to change direction at a high running speed under the microscope, you’re going to find that it is largely governed by:
Your knee extensors (mostly quadriceps here) and hip extensors (a little bit of glute/hamstring activity here) ability to quickly decelerate
While simultaneously being able to very quickly produce high force production at moderate muscle lengths to accelerate in a lateral direction
This is where you can start to see why the barbell back squat is an excellent exercise for baseball athletes and how it can transfer into the world of agility by improving your ability to change direction at top speeds.
The barbell back squat is primarily a quadriceps exercise, and secondarily a hip extensor exercise.
Beyond this, the squat works these muscles at both moderate and long muscle lengths — similar to what they would be subjected to during stealing a base or running from first to second.
So, there is transfer here for sure.
However, it, of course, isn’t the only exercise for baseball agility as it lacks the deceleration, speed mechanics, acceleration, and directional loading (it is only vertical, whereas running is multi-directional) required for a complete approach to baseball agility.
Increasing The Specificity of Exercise Selection
In order to make the barbell back squat more specific for the individual demands of different baseball athletes, you can make simple adjustments to improve the degree at which your application of the exercise is deemed specific for baseball performance.
For example, if an athlete needed to improve their deceleration ability — we could implement a longer eccentric phase count, or, utilize weight releasers so that the eccentric loading aspect of the movement is greater challenged (and therefore the muscle involved in deceleration get a better training effect).
Another way to attack this is by simply adding in more movements.
Barbell jump squats can be a great high-velocity alternative for acceleration transfer, and good mornings or hip thrusts can provide the horizontal force production needed for explosive power and stability.
From there, lateral and diagonal reaching lunges can be utilized to produce force in multiple directions while still loading the muscle tissues through full ranges of motion.
The Big Lesson
Identifying which exercises provide the most transfer to a real baseball game setting is an equation, but it’s far from unsolvable.
If you are prepared to put in the work to look at the biomechanics, muscles, and energy systems involved — you can begin to create much more effective training programs for yourself or for the athletes that you’re training.
Using the above 8 bridges of transfer that I provided will give you a great start to stop falling for all of the “functional training” gurus out there who claim their way is the best, when in reality their way is normally chalked full of flaws.
Movement patterns matter, but, a combination of movement pattern plus understanding baseball exercise transfer at a fundamental level is where you will find your real competitive advantage.
Stride Length vs. Stride Frequency
Consider this; it’s always great to be the big and strong guy on the field, or have one of these behemoths on your team.
But, when you think about some of the best players of all time and also some of the best modern baseball players of our day they are rarely ever the biggest and most intimidating guys from a physical stature standpoint.
Their speed and skills get them to where they want to be and that alone is enough to change the pace of the entire game.
The big guys are missing two major ingredients, stride length and stride frequency.
Stride length: The length (or) distance covered in one single running stride.
Stride frequency: The number of steps taken per unit of distance covered.
I am starting off with these two because these are biggest factors of speed development for any sport.
When it comes down to it, any and all speed training methods are utilized to create an improvement in these two qualities.
Anything that we do in the gym, on the field, or out on the track to improve speed has to effect either stride length or stride frequency in a positive manner in order for it to be an effective technique to improve baseball speed.
This not only includes the training, but also the mobility work as well.
Everything we do is driven at improving these two aspects.
Stride frequency is a tricky one, and is less trainable in the long run than stride length. This is because stride frequency is largely nervous system based and is most effectively developed during the youth years of 6-13 years old.
This is why I am such a large advocate of youth training in baseball and why all of the myths surrounding its dangers have to die, but we’ll save that conversation for another day.
What you need to know now is that during these youth years, the nervous system is being molded like clay to prepare itself for your adolescent and adult life.
The way in which you can allow your youth athlete to have the greatest chance at being the best possible athlete, having the most well developed nervous system, and having the greatest possible stride frequency is allowing them to be exposed to the greatest amount of different movements and skills as possible while they are growing.
I encourage all kids to play outside with their friends (you know, as opposed to stay inside on their tablets all day) and play each and every sport they can during the various seasons. Doing this helps them learn how to properly move.
One of the biggest problems with the generation growing up right now is they don’t know how to move.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Kids can’t move properly anymore and have trouble with even the most basic of human movements such as squatting and lunging.
These poor movement patterns are a breeding ground for structural imbalances, mobility issues, and poor athletic central nervous system development.
Spend a lot of time sitting down?
Probably going to have tight hip flexors and lower back pain susceptibility.
Spend a lot of time on computers/tablets?
Probably going to have tight chest and internal rotator cuff muscles from being in a hunch back position all the time.
Spend a lot of time playing video games?
Well, that’ll be a combination of both of the above.
These aren’t death sentences for mobility and movement, but they should be counterbalanced with plenty of sports/outdoor playing.
It’s very common for parents to bring their kids to me for youth athlete development and they can’t properly squat, this is a big problem.
Too much time being sedentary leads to poor movement patterns (PS- this means you too).
It is during these years where they have to be moving in all planes of motion to ensure their nervous system capability will not hold them back later in life.
This is very important to care about because the nervous system is involved in intensely important physical baseball speed qualities such as total body relative strength, explosiveness, running stride frequency, agility, balance, and overall body awareness/coordination.
To give your kids the best chance at excelling in athletics and speed development you need to:
- Have them learn to move
- Have them learn to play
- Have them perform as many sports as possible when they’re young
- Strength training at a young age should first begin with body weight and can progressively move to training with loads around age 14
Once you understand movement in sports, you understand that it demands perfect timing and perfect execution to be one of the best.
Competing in as many sports as possible allows children to develop strong motor patterns and movement ability in all planes of motion.
This translates perfectly to each and every sport as many sports have areas of crossover that allow you to be a more complete version of yourself in all positions.
Very young children should be playing, running, climbing, running backward, throwing balls around, jumping, crawling and playing with their parents so they can learn from the parent’s movement patterns.
From being children to teenage age you should enroll your kid in as many sports as possible, but not at the same time.
Do not overwhelm your kid with the sport of baseball, keep it in every year, but the other sports should be rotated based on the season.
Martial arts is one of the best things you can do with a child for increasing athletic ability, confidence, and mental discipline.
Additionally, martial arts help to build muscular strength with plenty of explosive bodyweight movements such as jumps, punches, throws, and kicks.
Gymnastics is also just as excellent as martial arts for all of the same reasons.
If you enroll your kid in martial arts and gymnastics, you’ve got an athlete in the making on your hands. I promise you that.
Following these guidelines, in my experience, will give your child the best base to build from and properly develop the central nervous system.
Various sport exposure at a young age develops body awareness, coordination, balance, speed development, and will give them a massive advantage over the other players.
For more information on the youth end of things, I wrote a comprehensive blog that can be found over here.
As previously stated, this nervous system molding window of opportunity tends to shut down once the onset of puberty begins at approximately 13 years old on average.
Once this happens, stride frequency becomes much less trainable and the emphasis should be placed on stride length.
I don’t want you to think stride frequency training is done forever, that’s not what I’m saying at all, and your stride frequency will still increase by following the outlines in this book.
But, it’s relevance falls slightly in comparison to all of the tools we have at our disposal in order to create a positive impact on stride length.
Emphasizing stride length changes the rules of optimization now. Stride frequency demands that you do NOT specialize in baseball too early in life and allow your youth athletes to play as many sports as possible which will ultimately play towards a more intelligent approach to their long-term baseball development.
Additionally, stride frequency training doesn’t include any resistance training or advanced methods either as they are still in their youth years and don’t require advanced methods to create positive adaptations in performance.
Whereas stride length training encourages resistance training, baseball specialization, and much more advanced methods to continuously create higher top speeds, acceleration, and start times.
As we continue to go over stride length vs. stride frequency, it’s tough to determine if either is of any greater importance.
Your youth training years quite literally set the stage for your long term athletic potential, but, in most cases, most of the time people find that out too late.
Whereas stride length, on the other hand, is very trainable and can be used as a tool in your arsenal for the rest of your life to develop.
For these reasons, I feel stride length training creates the biggest impact on an athlete’s speed development, but that doesn’t make it more important either.
It just simply means it created a bigger impact because that’s what they have available to train at this point in time.
But combining the two?
That’s where you get the freaks who are under the ball or at the bases in a flash.
Stride length training offers baseball players the chance to have their “breakout” year because if they have never trained it properly before, this type of training can turn a good athlete into a great athlete.
Stride length is a key factor here for these breakout years as they normally come much later in life during the peaks of their athletic career.
The perfect example of how powerful stride length can be is Usain Bolt. The fastest man ever recorded to run the 100m sprint and multiple time gold medal champion in both the 100m and 200m sprint.
Usain covers a 100m in only 41 steps (8.01 feet per stride!) whereas everybody he competed against in the final run covered it in anywhere between 44-46 steps.
This is a clear-cut example of stride lengths power even at the most elite level of speed the world has ever seen. When you take fewer steps to cover the same distance as your opponents, you will be getting there faster. Period.
Stride length is highly trainable in all stages of life and involves two key factors for maximal speed development:
- Relative strength. Which is how strong you are in relation to your body weight. For example, if two athletes are both 180lbs and one squats 400lbs whereas the other one only squats 300lbs—the 400lbs squatter is more relatively strong in relation to his body weight.
- Mobility. Specifically in throughout the hips, lower body (all of it), and upper back.
I know what you might be thinking here:
“How would strength I gain in the gym allow me to run faster? What’s so important about relative strength? Won’t that just help me lift more weight and be stronger?”
Relative strength is absolutely vital to speed development because speed potential is highly dependent on strength development. The stronger you are, the greater your stride length is going to be due to the force you can produce per unit of body weight.
Let me explain.
When you get two guys of equal everything and yet one is stronger than the other, the stronger athlete will always dominate him. He will not compete with him, he will dominate him.
Strength in terms of its relationship to stride length is vital because it is strength that is propelling you forward at the fastest rate possible.
When you press your foot down into the ground to push backward and propel your body forward; the speed at which you explode from the starting position is entirely dependent on how relatively strong you are.
For example, if you have a 180lb baseball player who can squat 180lbs vs. a 180lb baseball player who can squat 400lbs. Who do you think is going to be faster?
The 400lbs squatter!
Every, single, time.
Because he has that much more strength to overcome his own body weight in order to push and propel himself forward from the starting position.
This same relative strength that is increasing your “starting speed” is also increasing your stride length because you are strong enough to propel your body further per stride taken.
To keep the squat analogy, think about the 400lb squatter emitting 200lbs of force per leg into the ground when exploding, whereas the 180lb squatter is only emitting 90lbs of force per leg into the ground when exploding.
Since they are both equal body weight, the person emitting a greater amount of force into the ground is going to propel himself forward faster and further than the less relatively strong athlete.
This works for jump height as well for all of the same reasons.
The weaker man, relative to his body weight, will not be able to propel himself forward with enough strength to take as long of a stride (thus, reducing his stride length per stride. And therefore, his overall speed potential).
Whereas the stronger man, once his foot makes contact with the ground, it is strong enough to propel his body off the ground not only faster, but also further.
Each step he gains a new advantage, leading to total domination.
Keep in mind, this is relative strength and not absolute strength.
If total strength limit alone determined speed, then powerlifters would be the fastest athletes in the world, and we all know that’s not true.
Relative strength must be accompanied by the proper technique for running, mobility to allow for optimal movement, and a high-power output so that you can produce that relative strength force and the highest rates possible.
Moving on to mobility, baseball athletes most commonly run into issues with tight hips, tight hamstrings, tight internal rotators, tight IT bands, poor thoracic mobility, and poor ankle mobility.
I know that sounds like a lot, but any unilateral sport creates a structurally imbalanced body. Unilateral sport meaning that you always do something with only one side of your body so it creates imbalanced strength/weakness/tightness throughout the body.
For example, you always throw with one hand, catch with the other, and hit one way.
Baseball is highly unilateral which drives several structural issues that need to be addressed for optimal speed development.
Ideally, for optimal speed it’s good not to be tight anywhere and to have a well-functioning body all round.
But for speed mechanics, the big ones to focus on are the hips, lower body in general, and the upper back. More of this will be covered in the section on baseball specific mobility.
Proper range of motion, stability, and strength within those tight areas is crucial to achieving optimal stride length for the simplest reasons.
If you’re not flexible enough to achieve triple extension at the hip, knee and ankle during motion then your stride length is limited to only the available range of motion that you have.
Think of somebody in your life who is grossly inflexible, since they have a hard time extending their leg outwards this immediately reduces their stride length. In this scenario, strength training is no longer the priority, we need to learn how to move like an athlete first.
Additionally, if you’re not flexible and mobile you will not only be hurting your stride length but you will also be affecting your running mechanics and running technique, which also has immediate deleterious effects on your speed potential.
To run with optimal speed and energy efficiency you need both lower and upper body mobility.
At the end of the day, speed is determined by your stride length and your stride frequency.
Our job is to review the specific needs of baseball athletes in accordance to the sport’s demands and determine the best possible way in which we can enhance one or both performance opportunities for speed development.
Acceleration Training for Baseball Training
In most cases most of the time, baseball athletes should be focusing more on acceleration tactics than overall top speed.
Acceleration referring to how quickly we can create speed, and your top speed representing your ultimate capacity for speed, no matter how long it takes you to get there.
For example, a Honda Civic and a transport truck may both top out at 140km/h, but it’s going to take the transport truck way longer to get to that speed then it is the Honda Civic.
Same top speeds, difference in acceleration ability.
The thing is, we can have great speed or have the capacity to move fast, but not be able to produce that speed immediately if our acceleration is less than optimal.
The main take-home point here is that almost everything you do in a game situation are functions of your acceleration first, and your top speed second (if at all).
“In sports where average sprint distances range from 10 to 30m, it would appear that the ability to achieve maximum velocity within the shortest time frame is more important than the maximum velocity itself. That is, acceleration rather than maximum velocity would seem to be of greater importance”
This is a direct quote from a research paper conducted by Young, W.B. in 2006 in a paper called “Transfer of strength and power into sports performance” where they essentially scientifically examined what type of training works for athletes, and what doesn’t
Now of course, there is greater speed when you have faster acceleration because you are increasing speed at a simultaneous rate, but the bigger issue here is how quickly can a baseball athlete accelerate and increase speed in a given direction, and not how fast they can run if allowed more time (like a 200m sprinter — not very relevant to a realistic and chaotic baseball environment).
For example, Athlete A has FANTASTIC top speed, faster than anyone else on his baseball team. But, it takes him awhile to accelerate and reach his top speed (40-80yds).
Due to this, Athlete A actually appears very slow out on the field and can’t get any runs because the majority of baseball games occur in very short/quick bursts that demand you move fast right out of the gates.
In order for Athlete A to be successful, he has to reach his speed-potential much sooner, and the only way he can do this is if he works on his acceleration ability.
Athlete A represents many baseball athletes in the game today, they fail to create their speed sessions using very short distances.
Some think sprinting 10-15yds is “too short”, or ask, “why am I only doing 2 broad jumps for my whole set?”
My response: Acceleration
Most people refer to speed and only think of “top speed” – whereas I feel that acceleration much more accurately describes “game speed” for baseball athletes.
Being able to put the gas pedal down and go from 0-60 as fast as possible is much more important than having a top speed of 140.
When was the last time you reached and/or maintained absolute top speed levels for any reasonable amount of time out on the field? If ever at all?
If you look at the data on running, even the most elite sprinters do not reach top speed until approximately 40-80yds.
This means when you’re out on the field, I’m at a very strong belief that true top speed almost never occurs.
This isn’t to say top speed isn’t important, it is, but acceleration is at the head of the pack here.
Many baseball athletes generally never come close to reaching top speed in a game, but they constantly have to accelerate, decelerate, and re‐accelerate as fast as possible in multiple directions when running bases or when trying to catch a ball.
And now that we know more about the value of acceleration and speed, how do we go about obtaining these abilities in our training?
The answer is to develop more POWER, since it will be the make or break skill in this department.
This means Contrast Training, plenty of vertical and horizontal jumps, short distance sprinting, and working in plenty of reactive agility exercise to remain explosive in all directions.
So, the next time someone asks you why you’re only sprinting 15yds, you can remind them that this is what real baseball speed training looks like.
Acceleration is king.
Maximize Your Speed Potential with Hamstring Training
Identifying which exercises are the best exercises for baseball athletes in order to start running faster can be a challenging task.
Many experts disagree with each other quite substantially, but that’s normally because most coaches just talk in absolutes and hardly ever offer context when trying to educate.
Put another way, in many cases everyone is right, they are all just arguing because they don’t provide context and/or have an ego that’s bigger than their grip on reality.
Fortunately, when you look at the factors that determine sprinting performance you are able to correctly identify the muscles that are used and the different types of force output they need to display during a baseball game.
From there, you reverse engineer your way backward to the gym and create a baseball-specific training program for sprinting success.
What Impacts Running Performance?
When you scientifically compare sprinters from non-sprinters as well as low-level sprinters to high-level sprinters you will see a variation in three major things:
- Hip extensor muscles (hamstrings, adductors, glutes)
- Hip flexor muscles (psoas and rectus femoris)
- Knee flexor Muscles (hamstrings)
In future article submissions we will cover all of these in depth as I want my readers to be the fastest baseball players in the world, but for now, I want to cover what I think baseball players miss out on the most in their training — the hamstrings.
Hamstring Strength and Baseball Running Speed
When you’re sprinting out in the field or stealing a base, the hamstrings are doing two major things for you:
The contribute to hip extension during the ground contact phase to give you explosive speed.
They decelerate the leg downwards for faster start-stop speed and overall injury prevention.
Essentially, your hip flexors are going to bring the thigh through to the point where it’s parallel to the ground, once it has reached this height the hamstrings are going to start decelerating the leg and bring it back down to the ground (this is how it acts as a hip extensor).
Beyond this, since the lower leg is already starting to swing forward rapidly at this point the hamstrings activate to decelerate that leg during this point of the movement as well (acting as a knee flexor).
This dual role it carries is powerful, but what’s most important to understand here is that the hamstrings need to produce a very high amount of force in order for you to run at optimal speeds — but it also needs to be able to produce this force even in a fully lengthened state (like when the upper leg is in full stride extension).
Because of the nature of running outlined above, your hamstrings contract in a very eccentrically dominated way during a sprint, but the bonus here is that we can exceed these force demands quite effectively with some sound strength training programming.
Hamstring Strength Training for Baseball Speed
Although exercises such as lying hamstring curls, seated hamstring curls, and leg curls on a stability ball can all be effective movements for baseball athletes… they don’t necessarily cover the major eccentric strength needs for sprint performance.
Well, two reasons:
When you do hamstring movements, at the full extension of your rep you have to emit the force equivalent to the amount of weight you’re using plus the gravity momentum going downwards as well, but, during the eccentric phase you are only resisting against the weight (and not the gravity), so a full contraction isn’t being met here.
Eccentric strength is approximately 30% stronger than concentric strength, so when you are using a weight that is 90% of your 1-Rep-Max, to your eccentric strength it’s really like only using a weight that’s 60% of your 1-Rep-Max.
Because of these troubles, we need to find work arounds to train the hamstrings effectively for hip extension, knee flexion, and simultaneously provide a heavy eccentric stimulus.
To do this, my favorite options are:
- Nordic hamstring curls
- Double leg hamstring curls into single leg eccentrics (bring the weight up with both legs, but only lower it with one)
- Eccentric loaded glute-ham raises (hold a plate on the way down for a slow count of 6 seconds, and then release it before coming back up)
Even though some coaches don’t think that these movements are “functional”, I would question their ability to understand what baseball function actually is because you can draw very clear lines through biomechanics and force production as to how this would help a baseball athletes speed during a game.
Explosive Speed Training for Baseball
In the above sections, I broke down the different components of speed and gave some examples of how you can very effectively train speed through “in the gym” exercises.
It can be hard to conceptualize sometimes, but, it is very possible to get faster at running without always just running.
Sure, sprint exercises can and should be a part of your baseball training periodization, but, a proper understanding of what drives baseball sport-specific performance would also include a well-designed resistance training program (not just for strength, but also for speed).
As a quick reminder, the three elements that dramatically separate fast runners from slow runners are:
- Hip extensor muscles (hamstrings, adductors, glutes)
- Hip flexor muscles (psoas and rectus femoris)
- Knee flexor Muscles (hamstrings)
Last time we covered the importance of hamstrings first as I believe it to be the most underrated and therefore needed to be discussed first.
Now, I want to take the conversation a step further and dive into the hip extensors so I can teach you about real explosive speed.
Explosive Speed Training for Baseball
When you’re sprinting to first base, all of the muscles associated with hip extension produce the majority of their force while your foot is still on the ground.
The length of this time period (which is known in sports science as “ground contact time” during a sprint stride) is incredibly short and is much less than the time required in order for these muscles to reach their peak power output.
We know from the science of strength transfer that the gains you make from training are specific to both the velocity you move at and the joint angles you are training in.
For example, when we train at very high velocities, like doing box jumps, we improve our ability to produce force at high speeds much better than say a heavy barbell back squat would (which requires very low velocities).
The other way around is true as well.
Using heavy loads in the gym does not transfer nearly as well as you would hope to high-velocity force production.
Even though it does still increase fiber recruitment, it does not increase the rate of fiber recruitment. So essentially, you have the engine of a MACK truck, but unfortunately the speed and acceleration of one as well.
Long story short, for baseball specifically, hip extension can and should be trained using high-velocity explosive exercises to get the best possible result in terms of both joint angles and velocities-used during running.
Vertical and Horizontal Baseball Speed Exercises
Because of the various reasons discussed above, you will never reach your force production potential without a large amount of hip extension-based power exercises.
This isn’t just opinion either, this is very abundant within the sports science data that we have on these types of exercises and how they translate into improving functional outputs in athletes.
For example, let’s just have a look at the biomechanics of it all.
When you are in a starting position, your body is running at a 45-degree angle, so naturally, you are utilizing more vertical force production to fight gravity.
But, the more and more you “stand tall” as you approach your top speed, the more and more active horizontal force production becomes.
In fact, horizontal force production has been found to be at its highest during both top speed and deceleration.
Meaning, not only can horizontal force production improve your top speed, but it is also going to have a major impact on your agility (deceleration is a major component to optimizing agility).
So, if you want to make it easy on yourself to understand, just remember:
Vertical power exercises help more so with explosive starting speed and acceleration, whereas horizontal power exercises help more so with top speed and deceleration.
This is why it’s no mistake that over a dozen studies correlate both vertical and horizontal force production to improving speed outputs in athletes.
Here are some of my favorite exercises to incorporate into a baseball training program for all of the above purposes:
- Box jumps
- Single leg box jumps
- Squat jumps
- Split squat jumps
- Squat variations
- Trap-bar jumps
- Broad jumps
- Single leg broad jumps
- Sled pulls
- Hamstring curl variations
- Good mornings
- Kettlebell swings
Speed-Endurance Training for Baseball
In this section, I am going to present to you a very unique exercise for improving your running endurance in baseball.
I like to call this “Speed-Endurance” as it allows you to both maximize your speed potential and minimize your fatigue.
Additionally, it is going to complete the three-part series we have gone through together on how we can build baseball specific speed through understanding the science of strength transfer.
To catch you up to speed incase you aren’t reading this manual all in one sitting, I have been discussing the three main movement drivers that separate the fastest runners from the slowest runners, these components are:
- Hip Extension (hamstrings, adductor magnus, and the glutes)
- Hip Flexion (psoas major and rectus femoris)
- Knee Flexion (hamstrings)
To this point, I have done a very comprehensive breakdown on both hip extension and knee flexion and how those directly correlate to improving your overall baseball speed and agility.
Some of the exercises may have surprised you in those articles regarding their functionality in a sports setting, this article will be no different.
I want to open your eyes as to how deep real baseball-specific programming can get and why it’s not just all about “go do some sprints”.
Sure, that’s a part of your speed program, but it should never be the whole program.
So without further ado, let’s complete the final segment in this series and analyze why you need to start caring about hip flexion if you want to improve your baseball speed.
Understanding Hip Flexion and Baseball Speed
The hip flexors are several muscles that bring your legs and trunk together in a flexion movement.
They allow you to move your leg or knee up towards your torso (think about when your knee drives upwards when walking up the stairs), as well as to bend your torso forward at the hip (like when you take a bow).
During sprinting the hip flexor muscles produce the majority of their force while the foot is in the air (hence, driving the leg upwards towards the torso).
Put another way, they are what drives the leg upwards after the leg has driven force into the ground in order to propel your body forward.
Once you drive force into the ground to propel yourself forward, you are in full hip extension. According to time motion research, the degree of this hip extension is much faster in elite sprinters.
After full extension has been reached, the baseball athlete has to drive that leg back upwards as fast as possible in order to take another stride at equal or greater velocity as the last stride.
Again, according to time motion research, this upward driving motion tends to reach a point where the thigh is just 20 degrees away from being completely parallel with the ground.
Why You Need To Train The Hip Flexors
You can only improve an athlete’s speed through two different mechanisms, you can either:
Improve their stride length (which is the distance you take per sprinting stride)
Improve their stride frequency (which is how many strides you take per unit of distance)
Hip extension really allows you the explosiveness you need to improve your stride length, but hip flexion allows you to have the fastest recovery rate possible in between strides so that you can take another stride sooner than you otherwise could have.
This is exactly why the hip flexors are so important for baseball speed, stride frequency is literally 50% of the speed equation. Your stride length means nothing unless you have the stride frequency to back it up.
All of this biomechanic talk serves as a reference to let you know that you need to be able to move your hip at very high velocities through a very large range of motion.
The hip starts in a lengthened position (during hip extension when you’re driving off the ground) and ends in a shortened position (during hip flexion when you’re driving your knee up to take another stride).
End ranges of motion are met, and the hip must be strong and stable in both a lengthened and shortened position if you want to be as fast as possible during a game.
Because of this, hip flexion is best trained using very high-velocity movements since this is exactly what you would be doing in a game setting, thus, creating an exercise that will have the greatest amount of transfer to a game setting.
My favorite exercises for training the hip flexors at high-velocities for baseball speed are:
- Wall sprints
- Butt kicks
- Resisted knee drives (band, cables, and ankle weights all work here)
- Banded leg overs
Many of these exercises can be easily incorporated into a speed or conditioning workout and will pay major dividends towards improving your baseball speed.
Best Plyometric Exercises for Baseball Speed
Baseball is one of the biggest sports in the entire world, and certainly one of the most popular sports in the US – nearly every kid in the country grows up playing some form of ball.
Because of its popularity, there is also a lot of money in the sport, and where money goes people follow.
Some of these people know how to coach baseball athlete’s skill development properly.
Some of these people “invent” equipment that has already existed for years, and the reason nobody knows about it yet is because it doesn’t work well or is easily replaced by a dumbbell and barbell.
Lastly, some of these people understand proper plyometric training, but many don’t.
That’s what I want to discuss today, the proper use of plyometrics – and not the consistent abuse of plyometrics that you see so prevalent in “sport specific training” in the current modern strength and conditioning for baseball field.
Getting Real About Plyometrics
I’m speaking to all of you out there – athletes, coaches, and parents. Plyometric drills are one of the most abused training techniques currently being used by strength and conditioning coaches.
Of course, when used wisely, it’s a SUPER effective training technique.
In fact, you will find plenty of properly sequenced plyometric work within the training programs I have designed here at BaseballTraining.com
When used properly, they can increase running speed, functional power output, and jump height.
This is very well documented within the literature at this point in time, and when done properly you can receive three major benefits.
Plyometric drills are incredibly efficient at improving the time it takes for you to switch from an eccentric (muscle lengthening) contraction to a concentric (muscle shortening) contraction.
This “in between” phase is known as the amortization phase, and it is of the pinnacle importance for improving agility.
The stop-start speed that is so desirable in baseball for elite levels of agility is very much represented by how fast (or in contrast, how slow) you can effectively switch from an eccentric contraction to a concentric contraction (e.g. change direction on a dime or explode in a different direction).
Weakness in this area will result in a longer amortization phase, and consequently, lower power production during the agility portion of your overall athletic ability.
#2: Neural Changes
We have seen in strength and conditioning science that athletes who partake in plyometric training are able to recruit more muscle fibers and motor units during movements which allows them to initiate movements faster and with more force.
For example, let’s say you have two baseball athletes and they are both of equal ability.
But, one of them decides to do plyometric training for a proper 8-Week phase, whereas the other decides not to.
By the end of the phase, the athletes who decided to do proper plyometric training will be measurably faster and more explosive than his non-plyometric training counterpart.
Furthermore, the athlete who decided to do plyometric training will not only be faster and more explosive – but from a neural perspective, he will also improve his explosive efficiency.
Meaning, even though he is moving faster/more explosive – he will not be creating more fatigue along with it.
#3: Structural Progression
Plyometrics cause some post-workout muscle soreness due to the level of muscle damage they cause during training.
This is very understandable given the amount of force you produce each workout doing these movements, but what’s important to note here is that they do not cause significant muscle hypertrophy.
Meaning, they aren’t as effective for muscle growth in comparison to a more standardized weight lifting approach.
I mention this because although structural adaptations occur in response to plyometric training, they aren’t the changes most baseball players would come to expect.
Plyometrics aren’t about adding more muscle quantity, instead, they are about improving muscle quality through boosting the strength capacity of each muscle fiber.
Sounds Great! Let’s Do Them All the Time!
The above benefits combined with the fact that plyometrics create very quick results for athletes has coaches salivating over using it in their programming year-round, yet, Roman’s research all the way back in 1986 showed us that the results from plyometric training severely taper-off after only one month.
So, the coaches out there forcing their athletes to perform plyometrics year-round aren’t getting better results than the coaches who are creating proper periodized strength and conditioning systems that include plyometric blocks of training 3-5x per year for 4-week phases.
In other words, these coaches are abusing these techniques rather that using them to maximize their benefits alongside a “big picture” well designed program.
Another reason why they are totally overdone in baseball strength and conditioning is due to the fact that athletes don’t feel as tired after doing them.
Meaning, 3 sets of 10 depth jumps seems much more approachable to most athletes than 3 sets of 10 deep squats.
Unfortunately, here, both athletes and coaches typically evaluate the efficacy of a workout based on the fatigue they are receiving – so since there isn’t as much “tiredness” associated with the plyometric work, they think they need to “do more” in order to get a training effect.
Not only is this counterproductive due to learning poor movement patterns in a fatigued state, but it can also dramatically increase the risk of injuries in baseball athletes.
And if you know anything about competitive baseball, these athletes don’t need any more injury risk than there already is!
If you want to do plyometric training correctly for baseball so that you can reap all of the amazing benefits but minimize all of the associated costs, follow these crucial instructions:
- The joint positions you use to explode during movement should be as close as possible to the sport movement you are trying to mimic
- The amortization phase should be short enough to avoid losing any elastic energy you create, but long enough to allow for a stretch to occur.
The research suggests that elastic energy can last for up to two seconds when performing plyometric movements, so, theoretically, you have a two-second window between the landing-phase and the take-off phase to maximize your results.
Having said that, I recommend you try your best to keep this less than one second
- The difficulty of the movement needs to match the preparedness of the athlete. In other words, do not do movements just because they look cool, plyometrics can be dangerous and thus should be highly individual in their exercise selection application
- Plyometrics have a very powerful effect on the body, so the training volume should be very low. Staying within the range of 4-8 sets of 3-5 jumps is more than enough even for the most advanced athletes in the world
- Because of the training effects, residual fatigue, and injury risk – it is not recommended to do plyometric training year-round. 3-4 dedicated training blocks per year is more than enough to suffice here, especially since there are so many other ways you can train speed and explosiveness as well
Final Takeaways for Plyometric Training
It’s important to always remember that every training method you use, no matter how awesome it may sound, will always have an expiration date as far as applied effectiveness within a continuous training block.
Plyometrics are no different, if you use them year-round, there will come a time where you lose the cost-benefit analysis.
However, using short blocks of it within your yearly periodization can be a very, very wise thing to do.
In the end, it’s just like anything else.
Use it, don’t abuse it.
Baseball Speed Training Myth
So many athletes even to this day perform very poorly because of a very simple training mistake, long-distance running.
Baseball is a sport that has a long history, and any sport that has a long history will always have its accompanying old-school training methodologies that just won’t die.
If you’re a baseball athlete and you’re currently going out of long jogs in order to improve your performance, you might just be one of the armies of baseball athletes whom I’ve seen have a disappointing season that they’re so confused about because they “trained so hard”
I know it can be tough to conceptualize how all those miles on the road never paid off, but, they never will.
This is the antithesis of sport-specific training.
In fact, in most cases, long distance running will actually make you slower rather than faster. You will almost certainly notice a lack in that explosive first-step quickness that you need.
Are You Surprised?
I know it may sound harsh, but are you really surprised that this is the result you got?
If you train slow, you will play slow.
Baseball does NOT entail running for miles at a time, and even if you do somehow run miles within a game (which is still unlikely), those miles are a series of sprints interspersed with a series of walks.
Most of the time, baseball goes from one full extreme to another, meaning, you either either sprinting all-out, or not moving at all.
Lots of explosive movement coupled with plenty of recovery time.
Running long distances does not prepare you for this, and certainly doesn’t prepare to be repeatedly explosive across the course of nine innings.
Getting Real About Being Sport Specific
Sport specific training for baseball is exactly as the name suggests, it represents the best possible training intensities and frequencies to maximally mimic the same energy systems you will be using in a game setting.
Thus, making it sport-specific.
If the sport is sprint then walk, then the training should be sprint then walk. This makes logical sense.
There is another very important concept you need to grasp here that I already mentioned above, if you train slowly you will be slow.
The reality is it is very difficult to make someone very fast and explosive, but it is pretty easy to make someone slow.
If you want to be a slow baseball player, simply go out for slow, long runs.
The athlete will still be in shape, but they will be in the wrong shape for baseball.
Not to mention, a huge problem with long-distance running is the massive increase in the rates of injuries athletes incur.
Statistically speaking, 60% of people who take up cross-country running get injured — these are terrible odds if you’re looking to be healthy and in shape for a full baseball season.
The baseball athletes who dominate the game are the ones who run the fastest, jump the highest, and have the most explosive starting speed.
Yes, having an aerobic base matters, but you still need to train for the sport.
This means you lift weights, jump explosively, and sprint often.
The real key lies in the implementation of all these in order to create a baseball-specific approach, something I have wrote about in obsessive detail in all of my articles in the past.
Put very simply, baseball athletes are not marathon runners, so they should stop training like one.
The players who want to get faster and get in amazing sport condition need to train a way in which that best replicates the exact demands of the game.
Baseball Agility Training
Almost everywhere you look, coaches are creating strength and conditioning programs to improve strength, fat loss, muscle hypertrophy, power, and conditioning – Yet, very little attention is being paid to an athlete’s agility.
This is understandable, as you will see crossover benefits from those other physical qualities that will represent themselves as slight improvements in agility, but there is a major difference between crossover effects, and direct effects.
I want to directly train your baseball-specific agility, and I also want to provide clarity within this blog as to what agility training really is, because it is its own separate training quality, and should be treated as such.
What is Agility?
A strength and conditioning program without any direct agility work is not a complete strength and conditioning program – this isn’t always a bad thing; some athletes need much more GPP (General Physical Preparedness) than they do SPP (Special Physical Preparedness).
General mostly representing an athletes need for a “base” level of strength, mobility, speed, power, and structural integrity.
Then, once a baseball athlete has graduated from GPP and is in need of a greater and more specific training stimulus to continue progressing, they move into SPP work.
This is typically where more direct agility work will be introduced as the athlete has gotten all the agility enhancements they are going to get out of performing basic, non-baseball specific programming.
Once they are ready, then we can roll with direct agility work. Agility is essentially a baseball player’s ability to effectively absorb and redirect forces.
Played out in real life, this includes things like high-velocity direction change, explosive starting speed, exploding into different planes of movement, and deceleration.
Looking at the above examples, the one overwhelming thing they all have in common from a physiological perspective is their association with relative strength. That is, how strong you are in relation to your body weight.
For example, if two baseball players both weigh 175lbs and yet one is stronger than the other, this is an example of an increased relative strength. He/she is stronger relative to his/her bodyweight in comparison to their opponent.
Knowing that agility is how efficiently and how quickly our bodies can absorb and redirect forces, we can also say that agility is the demonstration of an eccentric to concentric contraction – or a “load” to “explode” action.
How agile you are, depends on how fast your body can go from an eccentric (load) to concentric (explode) muscle contraction.
Think about it, if you have to do this long loading phase prior to taking off and/or turning directions, you’re going to be miles behind the player who can do that in a flash.
Picture you pulling a bow and arrow back for two full seconds, and your opponent pulling it back for only 0.5 seconds, and yet both of your arrows traveled the same speed and distance.
This is the main difference between a lot of athletes out on the field, it’s not actually their top speed that’s slow (and yet they continue to train that way), it’s their agility and take-off speed that’s holding them back.
A huge part of this is relative strength, but another part of it is power development. Specifically, the amortization phase (the amortization phase is the moment in between the eccentric and concentric contraction).
Relative strength ties in here because the stronger you are in relation to your body weight, the more control you have over your body in movement. Take the example of two baseball players who are both 150lbs, one can squat 300lbs and the other can squat 200lbs.
The one who can squat 300lbs will have much more control of his body in deceleration and high-velocity direction change simply because he is strong enough to overcome the forces that he is presenting upon himself during the game.
Whereas the weaker opponent will be more likely to succumb to momentum issues trying to perform similar tasks, and therefore do the familiar “stutter step” when trying to slow down. Leading to a longer and more drawn out load and explode phase.
Additionally, relative strength plays into your explosive starting speed as a man who can squat 400lbs who is 180lbs will be much better able to press down into the ground and propel himself forward with more force than somebody who can only squat 200lbs. Giving the stronger opponent both a quicker start and a greater stride length.
One thing we know from research is that the longer you spend in the amortization phase, the more and more power you lose from the stretch-shortening cycle.
Think about doing a quarter squat into an immediate vertical jump, and then comparing that to doing a quarter squat, holding that bottom position for 3 seconds, and then exploding into a vertical jump.
The jump without the pause is going to allow you to use that natural elastic stretch that we always use when trying to explode and be as agile as possible, whereas even a slight pause can take that power away (thus, increasing the length of the amortization phase and making your “take off” speed much slower).
What are the Components of Agility?
Let’s start with the pure definition:
Agility is the ability to be quick and graceful. You might have agility on the basketball court or in the courtroom, or even with your gaming remote. The noun agility can be used for both mental and physical skills in speed and grace.
Quick, graceful, and mentally in-the-zone, sounds about right doesn’t it?
Baseball players who have an elite level of agility make highly explosive and highly accurate movements appear effortless, like they are floating across the field.
You know, as opposed to bumbling around and pulling their hamstring half-way there.
In order to have a high-level of agility, you need to have all your bases covered (terrible pun totally intended, not even sorry). In baseball, this means:
- Having structural balance from the upper body to the lower body, and from the left side to the right side
- Having excellent mobility and ensuring you are working on the baseball specific areas for mobility year round
- Being relatively strong
- Having mental agility, confidence, and prediction skills
- Having high levels of total body power output
- Having a well-developed core from the inside-out
- Having excellent movement mechanics/technique
Of course, a full blog series could be written on all of these topics, and there is no way we could do them all justice within a single submission. But I wanted to put them all into your orbit, because each can be its own deal-breaker.
For example, if you aren’t relatively strong, you will not be able to absorb and redirect forces appropriately enough to remain in athletic motion and prevent injury.
In another example, you may have excellent status in all of the above categories, but, if you aren’t mobile enough to execute excellent technique, that will always slow you down.
The examples could keep continuing, to have a truly balanced approach to agility work for baseball athletes is to check all of these boxes. Any other approach is wishful thinking, as they are all their own deal-breaker.
Well, What Can We Do?
To get started on your agility work right away, I would recommend a combination of both rehearsed and reactive agility drills.
Rehearsed agility drills are where the exercise you are taking your athlete through is already pre-meditated and choreographed. The athlete knows exactly what they need to do and where they need to go in order to complete the drill.
These drills can be great tools to build confidence, get your motor patterns down correctly, and master the agility specific force angles so that they can become ingrained into the athletes’ nervous system.
Rehearsed agility work is also great because it allows you to quantify what you’re doing, meaning, since it’s measurable you are able to see if your program design is actually working.
Cone drills are the most often used drills in this department, here are some of my favorite drills to work with when using this area of opportunity to build a baseball athletes agility skill:
- 5-10-5 drill
- Tower runs
Reactive agility drills on the other hand here are much different and are one of the most overlooked and undertrained aspects of true agility.
The goal with reactive agility drills is to create chaos and unpredictability. No baseball game is ever predictable, athletes need to be able to have quick mental reaction time and physical explosiveness in response to that reaction time.
In order to replicate this in a trainable manner, we need to create a visual or auditory cue that triggers them to carry out the drill.
Reactive drills are the natural progression to rehearsed drills, because reaction drills combine both mental and physical agility.
Rehearsed drills are great and all, but if you don’t perform in a game situation it’s most likely due to your inability to be reactive.
Essentially, rehearsal drills could be viewed as “non-specific” agility work (almost like a GPP for agility), and reactive drills as a “specific” form of baseball agility (exactly like SPP).
These drills will require a partner or coach as you’re going to want something there to trigger your response, here are some of my favorite reactive baseball agility drills:
- Lateral mirror shuffle drill
- Partner sprint and chase
- Reactive ball drop
- 3-Cone point and sprint
- Tag inside of 4-Cones
Baseball Agility Training Takeaways
To wrap it up, baseball athletes who have never done the correct rehearsal or reactive agility work would benefit greatly from incorporating it into their routine from time to time based on need/importance/periodization schedule.
In most cases most of the time, I like athletes performing this type of work immediately before their conditioning training.
We do it before as trying to be reactive/explosive after a workout would negatively affect the reaction time of the athletes and ultimately lower their performance for this specific task.
On the flip side, if this causes a little pre-fatigue before a conditioning session, that’s fine because they are performing conditioning work anyways which should be effectively training their body to continually create force production in a state of fatigue.
Agility work beforehand clearly wins the cost/benefit analysis here.
Depending on the need and time of year, I like to recommend 2-3 agility sessions per week in order to gain maximum benefits but still be able to successfully recover from the session.
Trust me when I tell you that more is not better here.
You aren’t what you can do, you only are what you can recover from.
Why You Need To Be Lean To Be Fast
When you become lean you immediately become a faster runner solely because of the fact that you just dropped body fat.
It’s arguably the fastest possible way any baseball athlete could improve their functional speed output.
If you’re carrying around 20+ pounds of extra weight, it’s no different than carrying around 20+ pounds of weight plates around with you on the field. It doesn’t serve you any purpose.
Getting lean all by itself will allow you to run faster and jump higher (via improved relative strength and power outputs), even if you don’t even change anything about your current training program.
Beyond this, becoming a leaner version of yourself will have you not just running in a straight line faster, but it will also automatically bring positive benefits to your agility because you are of equal or greater strength now and are simultaneously carrying less body weight. This leads to quicker high-velocity direction change and faster stop/start times.
It’s not a strange correlation that the overweight guys/girls are also always the slowest.
In addition to the above benefits on speed and agility, you will also improve your conditioning as well.
Without carrying around that extra weight, you simply aren’t carrying an additional load that your body has to deal with that would otherwise tax your energy systems.
When you’re lean, it is all functional muscle mass working as a unit.
This may be the greatest effect you see out of all the above, athletes of mine who spend a summer getting lean find tremendous conditioning improvements come time for the in-season.
Your recovery time in between sets at the gym and plays on the field will improve drastically.
When it comes to strength, for some reason people think if you’re fatter you’re stronger.
This is foolish thinking.
You can’t contract fat like a muscle contracts. Fat does not contract. In no way shape or form is a fat guy stronger than a leaner man with equal muscle tissue. It doesn’t work like that.
To wrap this point up (since I think it’s relatively easy to conceptualize), the reverse of all of these points are also true.
You will have slower direction change, slower stop/start times, equal strength as your leaner and lighter peers, and poor conditioning.
Some from here also argue the fact that if you weigh more you can hit the ball harder, and this is true. But, I believe muscle weight is much more effective here than body fat weight.
Sure, you can say a man with higher amount of body fat is the typical build of some of the all-time furthest homerun hitters, but since he is moving that much slower, there is also that many more opportunities to get him out on every play.
Bottom line here is that there is no nice way to put it – if you’re not lean, this is probably the first thing you should do in order to improve your baseball speed.
If this sounds like you, then nutrition is the primary focus moving forward for your next phase, check out the baseball fat loss guide so that you are doing everything correctly to maximize athletic performance.
How To Improve Your 60-Yard Dash Time
Being a strength and conditioning coach for baseball athletes, the topic of how to lower your 60yd sprint time comes up very often.
And for a good reason, we need this type of speed to steal bases, beat out a drag bunt, and get under the ball if we’re far away and in the outfield.
Speed training for these reasons (and many others) is incredibly important for baseball performance.
The problem is, speed training for the 60yd dash is not going to be accomplished through ladder work or anything else that makes it look like you’re playing Dance-Dance Revolution.
Getting Stronger to get Faster
In many cases, the first thing young athletes need to do is get stronger. The idea that strength doesn’t play into speed development is absurd and hold no place in proper sports science training.
Of course, there is a point of diminishing returns, but I find most athletes are in dire need of strength and power development first so that they can produce the forces necessary to propel themselves forward.
Think about it this way, let’s say we have two athletes who are both 180lbs. One athlete can squat 400lbs for a 1-rep max, but his training partner can only squat 300lbs.
When you think about running, you’re driving your feet into the ground in order to produce the force required to propel you forward quickly.
The stronger athlete in the example above would be expressing 200lbs of force into the ground per foot, per stride.
Whereas his training partner is only expressing 150lbs of force into the ground per foot, per stride.
Since they both weigh the same, the stronger athlete is going to have the greater stride length (due to propelling himself forward further each stride) and therefore be the faster athlete.
Of course, other variables come into play here, but that is the example I have found to get my point across the most. Strength needs to be there. If you don’t have strength, it’s like you own a Formula 1 race car with a Civic engine in it.
Sure, you might have all the other components you need for speed, but you don’t have the force producing engine that allows this car to drive forward at crazy speeds. You’re nothing without the horsepower.
Generally, 7 seconds or less is a good time for high school athletes. And 6.6 seconds is starting to get into the elite category of speed.
For the purposes of getting stronger, you’re always going to want to keep lower body work into your strength and conditioning system 1-2x per week, preferably two.
Exercises such as deadlifts, squats, lunge variations, split squats, glute ham raises, step up variations, are generally my favorite exercises for the strength aspect of speed development.
Beyond strength, there is no replacement for sprint-based programming.
This may seem straightforward, but never underestimate the power of stability ball videos on Instagram. People flock to these things like ants on sugar.
Key word mentioned above “sprint-based”
This means avoid just going out for aimless jogs around the neighbourhood.
Prioritizing distance running makes no sense for your 60yd dash. And due to intracellular signalling processes that occur during exercise, this type of work can even make you slower.
There’s a reason marathon runners aren’t also sprinters, the muscles don’t adapt in a way to be fast or explosive.
In a similar vein, you don’t want to always just do 60yd sprints either.
Elite 100m sprinters spend very little of their time running the full 100m sprint, and instead opt for very short distances of 10-40m in order to optimize their technique and constantly improve their rate of acceleration.
In other words, we want to get moving, but we don’t want to run too far or just do 60’s all the time. Speed training must be variable, just like your resistance training.
Baseball Speed Workout To Improve 60-Yard Dash
Below is a baseball speed workout system that you can use to improve your 60yd dash and start dominating on game day.
A-Skips x 20yds
B-Skips x 20yds
BW hip thrust x 15
Forward to reverse lunges x 8/leg
Cossacks squats x 8/leg
Iron cross x 15
30 jumping jacks
Technical work/Nervous system activation (rest 45-60secs between all sets):
Carioca: 2 x 20yds in each direction
Backpedal: 2 x 20yds
Split squat jumps: 2 x 2 per side
Build-up runs: 3 x 30yds
Speed development (rest 75-90secs between all sets):
A: Falling start sprints: 6 x 10yds
B: Double broad jump: 4 x 1
C1: Half kneeling start sprints: 6 x 20yds
C2: Medicine ball reverse scoop toss: 6 x 1
The 60yd dash test for baseball is important on many levels, I hope this section within the baseball speed manual helped dispel some current myths that the industry has in place and shed some light on some of the next steps you can take to improve your game.
Baseball Warm-Up for Blazing Speed
Just like there are general and specific exercises for baseball strength and conditioning, there are also general and specific warm up strategies.
Specific warm-ups are essentially “build up” exercises because they are simply lighter versions of whatever exercise you’re about to perform.
They act as a vehicle to slowly get to the weight/intensity that you’re going to perform your working sets at.
For example, if you’re going to run sprints – it’s ideal to do some light runs first before going full throttle.
Similarly, if you’re going to do some heavy squats you shouldn’t just start with your working weight, you should work your way up there through several progressive sets.
Baseball Warm Up Needs Analysis
The warm up sequence that I am going to provide for you are more general as we need to meet the demands of all baseball movements performed in a game, and not just any one single and specific motion.
Our job is to utilize movement systems, muscle groups, and coordination patterns that not only get your heart rate up but also prepare your entire body for the more athletic and functional demands of the baseball game that’s going to follow.
It’s important that the design of your pre-game warm up also includes exercises for joint health.
Joints are designed primarily to function in their mid-range of motion, but they also need activity using their full range of motion in order to stay healthy and maintain their current range.
This is incredibly important to get correct because baseball is a sport that requires some extreme ranges of motion (just think about what a pitcher’s arm looks like during the wind up, or what full extension during a slide looks like in the lower body).
As the old saying goes…
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
Nowhere is this more true than it is for maintaining joint health and range of motion ability.
Designing Baseball Warm Ups
When designing warm ups for baseball, you need to select certain mobility-based exercises that will complement your strength, speed, power, and agility.
Specifically, the exercises should require that your joints move towards their end-range of motion (and not just hang out in the middle, like you would see in most strength training movements).
The mobility exercises specific for baseball athletes in the pre-game window also complement your strength and conditioning programs as well – as they will help you squat deeper, deadlift with a straighter back, and perform complex lifts like overhead presses and lunges with more comfort and less restriction.
So, I want to point out that the warm up provided in this blog can be multi-functional, meaning, you are completely free to use this warm up prior to your strength training as well and not just your games.
I’m sure you’re starting to gain respect for the science behind warm ups now as it’s much more than just “getting warm” – a jog can get you warm, but that’s in no way a proper warm up for baseball.
A real warm up should lubricate your joints, increase your core temperature, work the proper ranges and planes of motion associated with the demands of your workout/sport, and allow you to build a better body that’s not just stronger and better looking but also more mobile.
A treadmill or bike could never check all these boxes, so if that’s your current warm up you have to stop. You aren’t in spin class, you’re a baseball athlete.
Convenience is Important
Although that is still to this day a very popular article here at Baseball Training – it lacks the convenience that many of us desire for our baseball warm ups.
So many athletes like that style of warm up, but simply don’t have the large space required in order to complete it.
So today, I wanted to provide you a science-based warm up that you can use before your workouts or games that you can perform in one place with no equipment needed.
This allows you to complete the warm up sequence anywhere because they require very little space and no equipment at all. The only thing you might want is a mat, but, most of us can just do it on the ground anyways.
Sample Baseball Speed Warm-Up
A1: Lying windmills x 8 reps per side
A2: Single leg hip thrusts x 12 per side
A3: Quadruped extension rotation x 8 per side
A4: Bird dogs x 15 per side
A5: Bent over shoulder Y’s x 15
A6: Bent over shoulder T’s x 15
A7: Seal Jacks x 25
Complete this sequence once and perform all exercises back-to-back with controlled technique.
This warm up should take you no longer than 5-8 minutes once you start getting good at it, and you should ideally perform it immediately before your game or workout.
At-Home Baseball Speed Training
In baseball, it’s pretty tough to make the argument that’s it’s not wildly crucial to have a high level of speed development.
No matter how big you are, you can’t rely on hitting power alone in order to make the bases – running faster is a skill needed to express your full potential in this sport.
If you’re a regular reader of my content, you already know from past articless that the four pillars of trainable movement that we can harness in our program design to improve baseball performance are:
- Changing levels
I have already covered pillars 2, 3, and 4 in past blog entries, but for this baseball speed manual I wanted to cover locomotion in more detail and provide you with two workouts that you can start using immediately in order to improve your running speed and agility.
Breaking It into Pieces
Running speed and agility are at the top of the wish list when athletes come to me to design their strength and conditioning system.
In order to provide them they result they desire, I need to be able to break down what locomotion really is so that I can use the correct movements in the gym that will have the highest level of transferability out in a real game setting.
Some of you might be wondering why I’m using the term “locomotion” and not just simply saying “running” – the reason why I have been using those terms interchangeably is because although running in a part of locomotion, locomotion also involves other aspects of movement as well.
You can think about locomotion as any action that uses alternating leg movements to move the body form point A to point B.
During locomotion, a single foot is planted on the ground, and that ground contact transfers energy to move the hips in an intended direction.
The hips then travel over the planted foot, the other foot is planted on the ground, and the cycle continues.
This means whether you are running to second base, shuffling back and forth in the hotbox, or quickly changing directions as a fielder trying to track the ball – baseball locomotion eventually puts your body’s weight on a single leg, and it is precisely this single leg component that we need to fully understand in order to maximize our baseball program design.
Let’s dive into this single leg importance a little deeper so you can better understand why this needs to be a part of your baseball training toolkit.
The Importance of Single Leg Movements
If you look at a traditional strength and conditioning program, there is a very heavy reliance of two-legged movements such as barbell squats, barbell deadlifts, and leg presses.
Although these exercises can absolutely improve locomotion, they can lack the sport specific need to baseball players at times.
When training for strength and only ever using two-legged exercises, the athlete will always have two feet planted strong on the ground and can very efficiently brace his/her core in order to create complete stability all the way from the ground up.
This is the primary reason why you can use such massive loads with the squat, deadlift, and leg press.
Although these heavy loads and strong stability allow us to do a lot of great things; from a locomotion perspective, it is highly advantage to incorporate a lot of single leg work into your program design because unlike the two-feet planted side-by-side approach – single leg movements require a greater activation of your stability muscles (specifically ground-based stability in your hips).
Now, what’s most important to understand here is that you are more unstable doing single leg movements and any instability within the hip results in an inhibitory effect that shuts down the body’s ability to produce a force that could possibly put the hip in danger.
Naturally, the negative aspect of protecting the hip through these inhibitory mechanisms is that you end up moving slower because your body feels you do not have the stability required in order to explode and not hurt yourself in the process.
Essentially, if you have unstable hips, your nervous system will shut down power production during locomotion in order to save you form inflicting injury upon yourself.
The good news?
Single leg training not only strengthens the stability muscles within the hips, but the bonus effect of this enhanced stability in the hips decreases the nervous system inhibition of power output because it is deeming you as “safe” to run faster and jump higher.
At-Home Baseball Speed Workouts
If you have been paying close attention to the descriptions above, you’ll know that locomotion has plenty more application features for baseball training program design – most of which including the enhancement of overall co-ordination and the sequencing of movement from the upper body to the lower body, and the left side of your body to the right side.
But, we’ll have to discuss all of that another day!
I have already discussed many ways in which you can enhance your speed and agility in the past through strength training – and it’s no mistake why you consistently see me using similar exercises from time-to-time.
They have a massive return on investment and have phenomenal transferability towards baseball performance in the real world.
The best part?
They can be performed at home with minimal equipment.
Below are two workouts you can perform at-home right away to start enhancing your locomotion ability – and therefore your speed and agility in baseball.
Day 1: Workout 1
Day 2: Workout 2
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Workout 1
Day 5: Workout 2
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off
A: Single leg anterior contralateral reaches (slow and controlled): 3 x 5 per side with minimal rest in between
B: Stability ball lateral wall slides with inside leg: 3 x 15 per leg with 60 seconds rest
C: Split squat jumps: 3 x 8 per side with 60 seconds rest
A: Bulgarian split squats: 3 x 15 per side with 60 seconds rest
B: Stability ball lateral wall slides with outside leg: 3 x 15 per leg with 60 seconds rest
C: Single leg stability ball hip thrusts: 3 x 15 per leg with 60 seconds rest
The above workouts are to be seen as something you can do as an addition to your current routine and shouldn’t be seen as a complete baseball training program as that would require the other three pillars of movement that I alluded to in the beginning of this article.
Putting It All Together
You now know the why behind my methods for baseball speed training, so let’s stop talking and get into the how.
When training for speed you must have both vertical and horizontal power.
Power is developed through both strength training and speed training and will be transferred through your core and into your extremities in a cross coordinated fashion.
You also need to have the optimal energy system development specific to baseball and accompany that energy system development with a physique that is mobile, strong, and lean.
Along the way, we cannot mix up the fact that conditioning allows us to do things longer, whereas speed allows us to do things faster. These are two separate workout and programming strategies altogether.
And if you do all of the above well but skip your warm up and not pay attention to your nutrition – the effectiveness of the entire training program will decrease by several notches.
To make a clear note here, I purposefully left out the finer details of mobility work and energy system development in this project as I feel it belongs much more appropriately within a future manual I will do specifically on those topics.
But for now, just understand that baseball is an alactic-aerobic sport. Which is why your conditioning needs to be heavily alactic capacity based.
But remember, that’s conditioning, not speed.
What primarily separates speed from conditioning is your exercise selection, program design, and how the periodization is all aimed to enhance starting speed, acceleration, top speed, agility, aerobic capacity, and alactic power (NOT as much of an emphasis on alactic capacity, which is what conditioning is).
This conditioning work is mostly done through strength training, lateral movement training, plyometric exercises, and baseball specific sprinting workouts.
You need both aerobic capacity and alactic capacity to develop your conditioning to your potential because baseball is played with several bouts of high-intensity anaerobic movements.
But, during your recovery periods in between those plays out on the field, the aerobic system helps to catch up with the oxygen debt you created and refuel the muscles to prepare you for your next explosive movement.
This is a little clue for you that aerobic work is important for both speed and conditioning training, but like I said, we’ll get to that in a future project.
For now, just stay away from always “chasing the burn” and make sure that you’re 100% recovered in between all of your speed training sets. Optimal output is what we are after, and that isn’t possible without complete recovery.
If you have an incomplete recovery between sets, you have now just moved from speed training to conditioning training, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sample Baseball Speed Workouts
Baseball Speed Workout
A: Lateral sled drag into sprint explosion – 8 x 20 yds (75 secs rest)
B: Falling sprint – 8 x 30 yds (75 secs rest)
C1: Sliding lateral lunge – 4 x 8-10 each leg (10 secs rest)
C2: Plank – 4 x 60 secs (1 min rest)
*C1 and C2 is a superset, so you will perform the lateral lunges, rest 10 seconds, then the planks, and then rest 1 minute, before starting the superset again for a total of 4 rounds.
Baseball Agility Workout
A1: Barbell back squat – 5 x 5 with 10 seconds rest
A2: Bodyweight vertical jumps – 5 x 5 with 120 seconds rest
B1: Barbell good mornings – 5 x 5 with 10 seconds rest
B2: Broad jumps – 5 x 5 with 120 seconds rest
C1: Anterior reaching lunges – 3 x 8 per side with 10 seconds rest
C2: Lateral reaching lunges – 3 x 8 per side with 10 seconds rest
C3: Posterior reaching lunges – 3 x 8 per side with 120 seconds rest
*The A-series and B-series are a superset, so you will perform the first exercise, rest 10 seconds, then perform the second exercise, and then rest 120 seconds before starting the superset again for a total of 5 rounds. For the C-Series, it’s the same concept but a tri-set.
Baseball Speed Workout With An Emphasis On Rotation To Improve Your Base Stealing Speed
A1: DB lateral reaching lunges: 3 x 10/side with 60 secs rest
A2: Single leg lateral wall squat with stability ball: 3 x 10/side with 60 secs rest
B1: Cable (or) Band horizontal choppers: 3 x 10/side with 60 secs rest
B2: Cable (or) Band diagonal choppers: 3 x 10/side with 60 secs rest
C1: Skater bounds: 3 x 4/side with 60 secs rest
C2: Rotational medicine ball scoop toss: 3 x 4/side with 60 secs rest
*A1 and A2 indicate a superset (as do B1, B2, and C1, C2). This means you will perform one set of A1, rest, perform A1, rest, and go back to A1, for until you’ve completed all given sets in the superset.
Example Baseball Speed, Agility Quickness Workout For Kids
A: Hot coal runs: 3 x 15 yards
B: Butt kicks: 3 x 15 yards
C: Lateral shuffle: 3 x 15 yards/direction
D: Bear walks: 3 x 15 yards
E: Walking lunges: 3 x 15 yards
A: Skater bounds: 5 x 12/leg
B: Power skipping: 3 x 5/leg
C: Modified T-drill*: Perform 6-8 total run-throughs
D: Figure-8 runs**: 5 x 3 run-throughs in both directions
*Set up four cones all 10yds a part in a T formation. Start at the bottom of the T, then execute a forward run to the top-center cone, then carioca left to the left cone, stop, carioca right to the far right cone, stop, carioca back to the center cone, and then do a backwards run to your starting point at the bottom of the T.
**Set up two ten-foot circles side-by-side to look like the number 8. Run a complete figure 8, starting and finishing at the bottom.
The biggest takeaway here is that although speed is a product of many different factors of training and optimal body function, it is also highly trainable in its own right.
You can and will get faster by following my advice.
Speed development for baseball players is no longer in the dark ages; performing long jogs, running laps around your block, doing 100 laps around the diamond, or trying to mimic movements with “sport-specific” training and having no success.
True speed development comes through proper functional training which means observing the biomechanical, physiological and bioenergetic demands of the sport and segmentally working backward in determining kinetic segments, muscle actions, intensities and energy systems required for optimal baseball speed development.
If you would like to become a faster runner and have a completely “done for you” periodized and structured baseball speed development workout program that incorporates all of your baseball training needs, make sure you check out the Baseball Speed Program here on the site and let’s get started.
It’s a game-changer.
It’s made hundreds of hungry baseball athletes just like you improve all levels of speed development so that you have newfound explosiveness out on the field that will separate you from your competition.
I hope that you were able to have some major takeaways here and that I was able to contribute back to an industry that has already given me so much.
I want to personally thank you very much for all your support here at Baseball Training.