Improve your ability to steal home bases by becoming a faster athlete. Don't buy the excuse that "speed can't be taught." Here are three base-stealing speed drills that prove that it can. (Want more? See Guide To Base Running Strategy, Drills to Improve Your Base-Stealing and 4 of the Best Base-Running Drills)
Tennis Ball Starts
Needed: A partner and a space covering 15 to 20 feet
- Start in base-stealing stance with partner standing five to 10 feet away (distance depends on your speed) holding tennis ball at shoulder height
- Drill starts when partner drops ball
- Break toward ball and try to catch it before it hits ground a second time
- To increase difficulty, partner moves further away or releases ball closer to ground
Extra bases: My runners earn bonus points when they lean forward to catch the ball. This actually helps increase their speed, because they have to move faster to stay upright.
- Assume base-stealing stance with weight on lead (right) foot
- Hop laterally as far as you can, landing on left foot
- Quickly hop back to right foot, then back to left foot, and repeat
- After third hop, end with weight on left foot
- Exploding off planted foot, sprint a designated distance (anywhere from 15 to 90 feet)
- Feel your weight transfer as you explode towards second base
Extra bases: Pitchers can also benefit from this drill. Left-handed pitchers line up the same way as position players, but right-handed pitchers switch position so they face in opposite direction and start on their left foot. Pitchers end up transitioning from their third hop to a sprint using their plant leg, just as if they were on the mound.
Needed: stretch band and partner
- Start with band around partner's waist
- Partner assumes base-stealing stance and quickly breaks towards second, pumping arms and bringing knees to chest
- Resist partner's progress for the first 15 to 20 feet
- Release band
- Partner accelerates through the finish line (second base)
- Switch positions
Extra bases: During the first part of the drill, you resist your partner, using your lower body strength to hold him back. When your partner slows down, you begin to pick up speed. Use the force generated from resisting him to propel yourself to second base. Feel the slingshot effect forcing you to run faster through the finish line.