3 SNEAKY Solutions For Baseball Players

Turning into greased lightning on the field is a process. The first part of that process includes knowing where your weaknesses are.
What follows are some simple problems I see on a regular basis amongst athletes of all sports and some solutions to those problems.

Problem: Lack of efficiency:

I've often said that being quick is more like dancing than it is running a sprint. It's largely a skill. To illustrate, watch someone like Peyton Manning play football or Steve Nash play basketball.
Few QBs are as slow in a straight line as Payton Manning but most are not anywhere near as quick in the pocket with their feet.
Few NBA point guards are slower in a straight line than Nash but very few are as quick to the hole with a ball in their hands. Game speed and quickness involve a significant amount of relaxation, timing, and rhythm all things that must be practiced to perfection.

Solution: Peyton Manning and Steve Nash are perfect examples of highly "efficient" athletes. Manning and Nash play faster than their measurables would indicate because they're more efficient with their movements.
They've practiced them so many times the moves are as common to them as walking or getting up out of a chair. Their reaction times are razor sharp because they know and understand their games extremely well mentally.
By the same token, you too can play significantly faster by sharpening your mental understanding of the game, perfecting the movements you encounter on the field, and eliminating wasted movements.
For example, stealing 2nd base involves specific footwork that when honed can give a naturally slow person a big advantage over someone who is super fast as can reading the pitcher and knowing exactly when to make the move. The only way to play as fast as you are capable of is knowing exactly what you're doing on the field and perfecting your movements.

Problem: Improper movement training. By improper movement training I'm referring to speed, plyo, and other similar drills and the way they are performed. Too many baseball players either neglect quality speed/plyo/quickness work altogether or they perform ultra long conditioning workouts instead.Baseball is not a sport requiring large amounts of of endurance so basing a program on large amounts of distance running and interval work is misguided.

Solution: If you want to improve your speed and quickness keep these guidelines in mind:A: workouts should be performed at high quality, which means you go all out or at least give 90% + effort on each repetition. That also means you allow yourself enough time between reps and sets to exert a high quality effort. Imagine you're in the gym maxing out on an exercise like bench press.
Do you do one set and only rest 20 seconds before you do another? No of course not. You do a heavy set then wait a few minutes before you go again. That's the only way you get stronger. QUALITY speed, quickness, and plyo work should be performed the same way. Do a high quality rep then let yourself recover as long as you need before you do another high quality rep. That's the best way to get faster.B: Any speed oriented workout you do should be stopped as soon as it's obvious your performance has dropped off below a quality effort. Following this principle helps you keep workouts high quality. Let's say you go out today and run timed 30 yard sprints. Your times look something like this:sprint 1: 3.5 seconds
sprint 2: 3.45
sprint 3: 3.45
sprint 4: 3.40
sprint 5: 3.39
sprint 6: 3.42
sprint 7: 3.5
sprint 8: 3.52By your 8th sprint it's quite obvious you're not going to improve on your best times of the day. At that point the workout should be stopped. Your performance will vary on a daily basis but the effectiveness of any given workout is significantly less if you train in a state that is less than 90% of your daily best. The same thing goes for plyometric, agility, or quickness work.C: Workouts should be performed over ideal distances. For improving your speed you should use distances between 10 and 60 yards.

For agility, plyo, and other sport specific work you should make sure your sets last 10 seconds or less. If a drill takes longer than 10 seconds you're working on endurance, not speed.

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Problem: Hit or Miss strength training

Too many baseball players are hit and miss with their strength workouts. When you gain strength you gain explosion. When you lose strength you lose explosion. Ask any outstanding older athlete in any sport what their secret to longevity is and the vast majority will tell you their strength programs are what enable them to continue to perform at a high level. The good thing is you don't have to wait until you're 35 to figure that out.

Solution: Keep some form of strength training in your program at all times. Even bodyweight training can get the job done. At worst you should seek to maintain your strength in season. That can be done with as few as one short 30 minute workout each week.

Use exercises like the squat, deadlift, and bulgarian split squat as a proxy for what your strength is like. At worst you should be capable of a 1.5 to 2 times bodyweight squat and deadlift and at worst you should be able to maintain 90% of that strength off season.

I want to give appropriate credit for this post partly to http://dulcimer.ca. I actually had the idea from something I read on their site.


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Posted in Sport Post Date 12/19/2015