Baseball Speed Drills

Baseball requires fitness training.  And essential to the training repertoire should be genuine speed training drills that are fun, and beneficial, to a player’s overall skill level.  Base ball speed drills will help his or her speed around the diamond, and in the outfield.  Baseball speed drills are a necessity for the professional player looking for that extra edge over their opponent.

Baseball speed drills essentially train an athlete’s body to develop power and speed for game time.  The better you are at covering the ground explosively, at speed, the greater chance you will have of beating the opposition when it counts.

To improve speed, an individual has to concentrate on improving strength and power.  Developing an efficient sprinting technique, and increasing the overall stride length, will improve speed.  The baseball player, during the game, has times when explosive sprint speed is required at 100%.  Maybe it is running between bases or chasing a ball.  Training, therefore, needs to mimic this.  And, an ideal training schedule for short baseball speed drills would incorporate:

  • 15 sets of 30-metre sprints at top speed.  After each run, take a thirty second stretch or walk.
  • Next, do 7-10 sets of 40 metre distances at 100% speed.  Stretch, walk or jog for a minute in between each sprint.
  • Ten sets of fifty metre distances.  Your recovery break should be 90 seconds this time.
  • Five sets over seventy-five metres.  Walk briskly around the track or back to the start then stretch gently to recover in between sprints.

These baseball speed drills must be developed so that they fit into an overall weekly training schedule of baseball practice and endurance running.  Gym work is also necessary so that you can become as fit an athlete as possible.

A key feature that baseball speed drills needs to include are explosive sprint work drills that have a duration of between one and seven seconds.  These times should be extended gradually over time, but should never be too long.  The intensity of work performed during the baseball speed drill should be at 100%, and the duration of recovery is best kept to around 30–45 seconds before another maximum level of work is done.  Sprint repetitions need to be carried out until the performance of the baseball athlete starts to deteriorate.

Variety is the spice to life, so creating effective baseball speed drills that remain appropriate to training the right muscles could include tow sprinting, downhill sprints, bungee supported acceleration drills, sprinting between forty and one hundred meters, and stepping through a ladder at speed.  Each of these activities will be beneficial baseball speed drills that strengthen and ready the athlete’s muscle for controlled, explosive response come game time.  Each of these skills aim, initially, to teach the player to run correctly, and then run quickly.

As you get used to the baseball speed drill activities, your technique for speed running improves.  Over time, the physical development of maximal leg speed is vastly improved, and come game time you will be at the top of your running speed.

Certainly, you will need to combine the baseball speed drills with your batting, throwing and fielding practice – which are essential for keeping the hand and eye coordination up to scratch.

Baseball training techniques

Baseball is a game of honed eye and hand coordination.  In baseball, you also need to be able to cover the ground at speed to chase down a ball in the out field or sprint to the next base.  Fingers crossed, you’ll be running through on a home run!  To take the guess work out of the game, every athlete needs to train and practice for their sport.

Let’s start with the baseball training techniques that will keep your physique not only looking good, but will give your body stamina and fitness for the long days out in the diamond.

Endurance training needs to be a part of baseball training.  Two or three days a week, going for a good half-hour jog will increase your stamina and fitness levels.  Obviously, pre-season will show your fitness wanting.  It’s good to incorporate these jogs into your weekly training routines at least three weeks before the game season starts.  You can increase the distance out to 45 minutes as the season wears on, or drop the runs to two days a week and employ some cycling and swimming sessions instead.  You might like the variety, and each of these activities help to build your endurance up nicely.

Along with stamina, your baseball training techniques need to incorporate speed drills.  These are sprinting drills that work your muscles in an explosive manner at 100% for short periods at a time.  An ideal training schedule for short baseball speed drills would incorporate:

  • Sprint 10-15 sets of thirty metre distances going hard out.  After each run, take a thirty second stretch or walk in between.
  • Sprint ten sets of forty metre distances.  Walk or jog in between each sprint to recover.
  • Sprint ten sets of sixty metre distances as fast as you can.  Your recovery period should be about 90 seconds of walking or stretching.
  • Sprint five sets of seventy-five metre distances at 100% full speed.  After each sprint, walk back around the track to recover.

Sprint drills are an excellent way of conditioning your body to run at top speed, and they are a great way of working on your body to perfect the art of the sprinting technique – so that your ability to cover the ground is enhanced.

What you can’t forget, is that practising baseball training techniques help you to pitch the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch and run the entire game period at your maximum level.  What practising does is teach your body to act in a certain manner reliably time and time again.

So, your baseball training techniques will include catching practice. Catching practice does need to vary how the catching is done.  Make sure that you have long and high outfield catches that mimic a big hit.  Have middle distance catches that are both flat and high.  Then have the catches that are up close, and coming quickly.  Fielding practice will include the catching, but will also incorporate the pick up of a ball that has been hit along the ground.

Throwing practice needs to incorporate long outfield throws, and hard and flat infield throws.  It’s great if you can have catchers for the balls as well.

Now for the real fun bit – hitting balls!  As you might guess, this is my favourite baseball drill.  Practice swinging the bat in a controlled through-swing.  The bat should be swung with a fast and flat swing.  Your head needs to remain still and level for the entire duration of the pitcher pitching, the bat swinging and through to after the point of contact.  Keeping the head still ensures that both eyes are seeing the ball as clearly as possible.  Try to have both eyes equal distance to the pitcher.  Practice makes perfect, so the more practice you do the better you will be.  Batting practice needs to have pitched balls that mimic varying speeds and trajectories that are common to a game situation.

Finally, your baseball training techniques need to include the practicing of the ball being pitched.  Obviously, this only applies to the pitchers in the team.  Again, practice makes perfect, so the more practice you do the better you will be.  You will need to have curve balls, drop balls flat balls…etc in your pitching repertoire if you aim to keep the batter guessing – so practice these.  Having a batter handy is a good idea, or set up a target that you need to pitch to that is exactly the same distance as a batter would be on game day.

Baseball is a top game.  With your natural gifting combining with good baseball training techniques, you could easily become a great player – if you aren’t already.

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Throwing and Catching A Lot Is The Key For Kids

If you can’t do it well, you can’t play hardball.  It is not a coincidence that the best players we see on our level are the ones with the best throwing and catching skills.  NOW is the time to develop these skills.  If a player hasn’t developed proper throwing mechanics and catching skills by the time they’re finished with Little League (age 11-12), chances are remote they ever will.

There is no secret formula!  It is repetition of proper form…and practice, practice, practice.  It will cost you NO money, requires NO fancy equipment and all you need to do is put in the time and effort to “play catch.”
Unfortunately, all too often pracice becomes an arduous time-consuming task; viewed by the kids as ALL WORK and NO PLAY!  But it’s no big secret that the kids appreciation of baseball, as well as their ability to enjoy playing the game, seems to grow proportionately with their ability to compete.

PLAY CATCH: I Know, I Know.  It’s Boring!
(See Drills below for fun & challenging variations.)

This is the single most important activity you, as an adult, can do to enhance their baseball abilities.  Playing catch properly  teaches and reinforces two of the most important aspects of the game:  catching the ball & throwing the ball.

CATCHING THE BALL: Always have your player move toward the ball and try to catch it in the center of the body with two hands.  There are many players who still possess a real fear of the baseball.  Going to the ball and becoming confident in their ability to catch the ball is the only way to overcome this fear.  The obvious benefit of catching with 2 hands is the prevention of the ball popping out of the glove.  Another important benefit of catching with 2 hands is the quick transition of the ball from the glove to the throwing hand.  Another key element in playing catch is “Fingers Up, Fingers Down,” depending on whether the ball is above or below the belly button.  Discourage “slapping” at the low ball with the fingers up.  Throw them line drives, ground balls, pop ups, short hops, etc.  Have them get low on ground balls.  Get that head down.  Look for the button on top of their hats as they field grounders.  (You should be able to see it when they are doing it properly.)

THROWING THE BALL:  Be sure to always have players stretch their arms.  DON’T let them pick up a ball until their arm is warm.  When throwing the ball, get those front (glove) shoulders pointing straight at the the target.  Step toward the target when throwing the ball, and follow through.  Get those arms bent at the elbow, up above the shoulder, when throwing the ball (“Down, Back & Up”).   (Coaching Cue: Thumb to the Thigh, Knuckles to the Sky.)   Elbow comes through first followed by hand and ball, fingers on top of the ball.  Use the 4-seam grip.  Follow through on your throws by bringing the Throwing Side Hip around on your follow through.  In throwing, work on keeping the throwing elbow UP.  Don’t sling it, push it or side-arm it.  Throwing “over the top” increases strength, velocity and accuracy.  It also protects the arm from injury.

You can play catch almost all year round.  Try to encourage the kids to keep their gloves close by in the offseason.  Playing catch develops throwing techniques, receiving techniques and footwork more than any single thing you do.

Talk to your players’ parents.  Stress to them the importance of proper catching and throwing techniques.  Encourage them to play catch with their kids.

LONG TOSS:  This is a great way to develop arm strength and it helps lengthen a players’ arm.  This is especially useful for players who “push” the ball in their throwing motion.

Start the players at 30 feet apart and gradually have them back up, eventually getting to 75  80 feet.  Be sure your players aren’t straining to throw.  Have them utilize the “crow hop.”

QUICK HANDS: Separate players into pairs.  Place them 30  40 feet apart.  (You should now have 2 lines of players.)  Create a race to see which pair can successfully throw and catch the most times in a 30-second period.  If a ball is thrown away or dropped, they must go back to zero!

RUNNING BASES:  Put a fielder at both first and second base.  Put helmets on your runners.  Let the kids just run wild between 1st & 2nd  base.  Tell your fielders to get as many outs as they can in a 1-minute period.  This is a fun game for both runners and fielders alike, as the fielders must learn to both throw and catch “under pressure”  at a fast pace.   They really need to be able to catch and throw the ball very quickly.  They will also have to throw accurately.  They will be forced to learn how to apply fast tags.  They will start to understand the do’s and don’ts of rundowns.  This is a great learning game that happens to be a lot of fun.

REMEMBER:  Throwing and catching improvement is done over time, with literally thousands of repetitions.

Long Toss Drill

The objective of this drill is to increase the accuracy of outfielders and to build arm strength.

Setup

This drill is to be executed after the players have warmed up at a short distance.  The players need to from two lines across from each other.  Cones can be used to set the distances for each stage of the drill.

Instructions

Start at normal warm-up distance and have the players start throwing back and forth. A line of players will be situated along the foul line in the outfield while the other line is across from these players.  Once two players have successfully thrown the ball to each other back and forth 5 times then the player not on the foul line can move back to the next stage (about 5 yards back).  If the ball hits the ground or overthrown then the players have to restart the count.  The two players that reach the last stage wins the drill.

Variations

None

Coaching Points

  • The coach needs to stress the importance of throwing on a “line.” This means not to throw the ball on the path of a “rainbow”.
  • A number of techniques can be used to get more velocity on the ball in order to throw the ball on a direct path. This can be done by using a “bunny hop.”  This is done by taking a small hop toward the target before throwing to build momentum of the body towards the target.
  • By pointing the glove hand towards the target and bringing the glove back as the throwing hand moves forward will increase the momentum of the throwing arm.

Getting The Most Out OF Your Off Season Workout.

As with any sort of athlete, baseball players can never truly relax; they have to work at keeping themselves always in shape. Even when not playing the game regularly, there is the need to stay fit; otherwise, you run the risk of losing all the strength, flexibility, body control, and so on that you’ve worked so hard to build up. So, off season baseball workouts can help you do just that.

Targeting Areas

In baseball, the arms and upper body are most critical. This is where the strength to hurl the ball and swing the bat comes from, and do both accurately. That’s what separates baseball from mere body building; brute strength isn’t enough. So, set up a program of exercises that you can do three times a week, and be sure to rest at least a full day between each session.

A Typical Program

This is by no means the best of only of the off season baseball workouts, but it’ll give you an idea of what to make use of in your routine. First, for the legs, do three sets of squats, leg curls, and leg extensions. With the squats, do ten to twelve reps; with the other two, twelve to fifteen is good. Next, for the chest, a basic barbell bench press is good. Do four sets, and gradually step down the reps. A typical pattern is twelve, ten, eight, and then six. For your back, a bent over barbell row is god, and you do the same number of reps as for the chest. In terms of reps, a fifteen, twelve, ten and eight pattern is fine.

As the arms are vitally important, you’ll want to do several exercises to target them. First, for the traps (trapezius), a dumbbell shrug is ideal. Be sure to not use too much weight; you may want to check with a trainer first in order to get a proper weight range set up. Then, do three sets, and use twelve, ten and six reps. To work your triceps, a lying tricep extension is perfect. Do three sets, and do ten, eight and eight for the reps. With the biceps, a standing barbell curl will keep those muscles firm and toned. So, do three sets, and follow the same rep cycle as the triceps. The forearms are a critical aspect of baseball playing; so a barbell wrist curl will help keep those muscles fit. But, you also don’t want to over do it; so, only doing two sets of fifteen reps each is best. If the forearms gets too “bulked up”, you’ll lose some of your flexibility and dexterity, and these are critical to playing baseball. Finally, decline sit ups are ideal for working your abs. do three sets of them, and twenty to twenty-five reps each time.

Words of Warning

As stated above, use one of the off season baseball workouts three times a week, and rest for at least a day between each session. This is important; your body builds up its strength during the recovery phase between workouts. If you exercises too often – say, every day – your muscles will end up getting injured, not improved. Next, follow the motto: “Train, not Strain”. Many people push themselves to their absolute limit, and even beyond it and get hurt; they feel that’s how to build up their muscles quickly. It isn’t; it’s a recipe for disaster. Any of the good off season baseball workouts will stress keeping the level of your efforts reasonable – especially as concerns your arms. Damaging or tearing muscles and/or ligaments can result in you being unable to play baseball (or anything else); so always exercise with care.

Baseball Training Techniques

Baseball is a game of honed eye and hand coordination.  In baseball, you also need to be able to cover the ground at speed to chase down a ball in the out field or sprint to the next base.  Fingers crossed, you’ll be running through on a home run!  To take the guess work out of the game, every athlete needs to train and practice for their sport.

Let’s start with the baseball training techniques that will keep your physique not only looking good, but will give your body stamina and fitness for the long days out in the diamond.

Endurance training needs to be a part of baseball training.  Two or three days a week, going for a good half-hour jog will increase your stamina and fitness levels.  Obviously, pre-season will show your fitness wanting.  It’s good to incorporate these jogs into your weekly training routines at least three weeks before the game season starts.  You can increase the distance out to 45 minutes as the season wears on, or drop the runs to two days a week and employ some cycling and swimming sessions instead.  You might like the variety, and each of these activities help to build your endurance up nicely.

Along with stamina, your baseball training techniques need to incorporate speed drills.  These are sprinting drills that work your muscles in an explosive manner at 100% for short periods at a time.  An ideal training schedule for short baseball speed drills would incorporate:

  • Sprint 10-15 sets of 30 meter distances at 100% full speed.  After each sprint, have a 3 minute second stretch or walk in between each sprint.
  • Sprint 8-10 sets of 40 meter distances at 100% full speed.  After each sprint, have a 4 minute stretch, walk or jog in between each sprint.
  • Sprint 8 sets of 60 meter distances at 100% full speed.  After each sprint, have a 6 minute stretch or walk in between each sprint.
  • Sprint 5 sets of 75 meter distances at 100% full speed.  After each sprint, have a 7-8 minute walk or stretch in between each sprint.

Sprint drills for baseball athletes are an excellent way of conditioning your body to run at top speed, and they are a great way of working on your body to perfect the art of the sprinting technique – so that your ability to cover the ground is enhanced.

What you can’t forget, is that practising baseball training techniques help you to pitch the ball, hit the ball, throw the ball, catch and run the entire game period at your maximum level.  What practising does is teach your body to act in a certain manner reliably time and time again.

So, your baseball training techniques will include catching practice. Catching practice does need to vary how the catching is done.  Make sure that you have long and high outfield catches that mimic a big hit.  Have middle distance catches that are both flat and high.  Then have the catches that are up close, and coming quickly.  Fielding practice will include the catching, but will also incorporate the pick up of a ball that has been hit along the ground.

Throwing practice needs to incorporate long outfield throws, and hard and flat infield throws.  It’s great if you can have catchers for the balls as well.

Now for the real fun bit – hitting balls!  As you might guess, this is my favourite baseball drill.  Practice swinging the bat in a controlled through-swing.  The bat should be swung with a fast and flat swing.  Your head needs to remain still and level for the entire duration of the pitcher pitching, the bat swinging and through to after the point of contact.  Keeping the head still ensures that both eyes are seeing the ball as clearly as possible.  Try to have both eyes equal distance to the pitcher.  Practice makes perfect, so the more practice you do the better you will be.  Batting practice needs to have pitched balls that mimic varying speeds and trajectories that are common to a game situation.

Finally, your baseball training techniques need to include the practicing of the ball being pitched.  Obviously, this only applies to the pitchers in the team.  Again, practice makes perfect, so the more practice you do the better you will be.  You will need to have curve balls, drop balls flat balls…etc in your pitching repertoire if you aim to keep the batter guessing – so practice these.  Having a batter handy is a good idea, or set up a target that you need to pitch to that is exactly the same distance as a batter would be on game day.

Baseball is a top game.  With your natural gifting combining with good baseball training techniques, you could easily become a great player – if you aren’t already.

Baseball Training Aids for Mental Improvement

The art of pitching is learned when a player masters the physical components or mechanics through baseball training aids. Mastery can be achieved by diligently practicing and through the assistance of a pitching instructor. Through the instructor, a player will be able to incorporate the pitching concepts to his own style. How good a pitcher is can be measured when he can rely on his skill to make the pitch and to be consistent. Consistency yields positive outcomes and can eventually lead to confidence. However, mastering pitching mechanics through baseball training aids is only one of the two aspects that one must learn in pitching. You may have reliable mechanics but have a weak mental disposition. Baseball training aids must teach players on how to deal with mental pressure on the game by incorporating it in everyday practice.

As a part of an effective baseball training aid, it is suggested that players must develop their mental mechanics, too. If a player’s delivery has been repeatedly practiced, it won’t be able to determine the difference between practice and real game situations. Most baseball training aids suggest having a delivery rehearsed for a thousand times. But by constant practice, the mind of the player develops a false sense of security as it has been used to too much practice and repetitions. The mind doesn’t absorb and react well to the elements outside of that practice which are pressure, doubt, distractions, consequences and statistics. Even if the pitcher is well practiced, it doesn’t guarantee him of success especially if his mind is anxious, doubtful and confused with all the things happening in the game. Baseball training must design an exercise that aids players in preparation when it comes to dealing with baseball game variables.

Most baseball training aids focus on the physical elements rather than the mental aspect. Indeed, practice can help develop consistency in a player’s delivery but the mind can break or make the game. A player’s physical and mental mechanics must be balanced. What would good pitching serve if the mind of the pitcher is baffled?

To create effective baseball training aids, the development of mental mechanics of a player should be included. This can be done the same way the physical mechanics are developed. You can do this by countless hours of exercises or practice. Pitching should involve a clear and quiet mind. Thoughts should be absent. When the mind is clear, a player’s natural instincts and reactions are triggered.  If stress and pressure are present, these tend to block the path of a player’s instincts. Focus can be best achieved by having a clear and quiet mind.

Players can make use of a drill where they are taught that all other things that they would like to think off must be shaken out of their minds. If the mind has finally quieted down, that’s the time when they will finally be allowed to resume pitching. During practice, players should rate their state of mind per pitch until they are able to go back again and again to having a clear and quiet mind. Effective baseball training aids must teach players to develop mental mechanics and is best learned by identifying what “clear and quiet” is to every individual.

Using Baseball Conditioning Workouts to Their Fullest

Many people want to get into good shape, but they don’t necessarily want to be – as the saying goes – muscle bound. That’s why making use of baseball conditioning workouts is ideal; baseball players are among the most outstanding of athletes, and thus using their type of workout can give you a leaner body mass, improve your speed and agility, and give you better strength and power.

The Exercises You Can Use

Baseball conditioning workouts make use of a series of different exercises to help you get into the optimal state of physical fitness. Your aim is to target a specific muscle group, and then develop the group to its peak performance level. So, step one, develop a basic strength program.

Basic Strength

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never exercised (or haven’t done it for years), or if you’re in good condition to start with; baseball conditioning workouts require you to first do a series of basic strength exercises. If you’re in good shape, three to five weeks of these exercises is enough; if you’re out of shape, do them for eight to ten weeks. A good basic program is typically made up of a series of different exercises called a circuit. In the circuit, each exercise works a different series of muscles. So, you’ll do an exercise to work your arms (maybe twenty or thirty reps) and then do an exercise for work your legs. After that, something for your abdominals, then the back muscles, and then do another exercise to target your arms. It’s important to keep track of the weights you put on each machine and how many reps of each you do. Then, over time, you increase the number of reps until you’re comfortable with adding more weight.

Maximal Strength

Basic strength is fine if being physically fit is all you’re after, but baseball conditioning workouts go beyond that to include maximal programs. These types of baseball conditioning workouts help you to get your muscles to act together, to synchronize at their best level. A standard program will use dead lifts, bench presses, half squats, calf and shoulder presses, weighted crunches, and lat pull downs. With These kinds of baseball conditioning workouts, your goal is to push yourself to almost your maximum strength – from seventy to ninety-five percent of the most weight you can handle. So, the first week, you use seventy percent of your maximum load, and do eight to ten reps of each exercise. In the second week, lower the reps to six to eight, but boost the load to eighty percent. For the third week, the reps go down to three or four and the load up to ninety percent. In the fourth week, drop the load to seventy, but make the reps slightly higher. For the fifth and sixth weeks, make the loads eighty-five and ninety-five percent, respectively, and lower the reps to three or four.

Explosive Power

This is a key element to baseball; the players have times when they need explosive power to complete some aspect of the game. Maybe a player needs to hurl the ball to home plate, or run and slide into home plate. The key here is building up either the upper body or the lower, or both, depending on what area you want to target. For the arms, strength training and simply tossing a medicine ball can do the job. For the legs, use running – not jogging – and some jump squats.

Muscle Endurance

As baseball players have to be active for long periods, they need their muscles to have endurance. So, baseball conditioning workouts use jump squats, depth jumps and throwing a medicine ball around to accomplish this. The two key elements here are short, intense workouts followed by long rest periods. Also, you want the load you use to be moderate – fifty to seventy percent of your maximum. You want to do two to four different exercises, do fifteen to thirty reps of each – as fast as possible – and then rest between each exercise for five to seven minutes.