Derek Jeter's Speed Training Routine

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By his freshman year in high school, Derek's game was good enough to earn him a spot on the varsity squad. Four years later, his game was tops in the nation. He was the 1992 American Baseball Coaches Association High School Player of the Year, the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year and the USA Today High School Player of the Year. Derek's accolades put him front and center of every Major League team's radar screen. Now, others were expecting greatness, too.

When Jeter was drafted as the sixth overall pick in 1992, he had more expectations to meet-those set by the unforgiving New York Yankee fans. Their standard of excellence was established by the likes of Mantle, Maris, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Ruth - men whose names, emblazoned on plaques behind the left centerfield fence, offer constant reminders of past dominance and World Championships.

Professional baseball greatness did not come immediately for DJ. He played 126 games in his first minor league summer, and committed 56 errors. After this lapse, though, he skyrocketed back to excellence. Following his first full season of pro ball, he was selected by the South Atlantic League Managers as the Most Outstanding Prospect.

Heading into the '96 season, Derek got the nod as the starting shortstop for the Yankees. That season, he led them to their first World Series title since '78, batting .314 during the season and a ridiculous .361 in the playoffs. The Yankees have since added three more World Championships, and DJ has become the 11th team captain in the club's history.

DJ has continually stretched his potential by rising to the challenge of every expectation set for him through consistent dedication to preparation. "He is like a machine," says Jeff Mangold, Yankees strength and conditioning coach. "Whether it's taking extra BP or doing his strength work, he has developed a great routine that he does day in and day out with incredible focus."

Whether barreling full speed into the stands or charging into the hole to make his now-famous jump throw to first, Derek controls the diamond. It's his trademark. Mangold says, "Derek can change direction so smoothly and quickly, it's tough to describe. He has an amazing ability to get his hips and body moving in the direction he wants to go."

Describing the key to building Jeter-like infield prowess, Mangold says, "It comes down to efficiency-reacting to the ball, getting there quickly, then being able to stop powerfully to make a play on the ball.

"Getting to the ball is one thing, but doing it quickly, then getting your body in position to make a play is another," he adds. "You have to generate force to get there, and then use power to stop so you don't have to take extra steps that cost you fractions of a second."

Derek meets and exceeds expectations each season by performing the following movement drill circuit twice a week in the spring. Use it to expand your range and steal hits from opponents.

Front-to-Back 5-10-5

  • Sprint five yards to first cone; breakdown and backpedal to start
  • Plant at start and spring 10 yards to second cone
  • Breakdown and backpedal to start
  • Plant at start and sprint five yards to first cone; breakdown and backpedal to start

The Yankee Way: "This isn't the normal pro agility drill where you move laterally. You sprint to the cone, stop and head back to the start like you are going back on a fly ball. It's not a true backpedal, because there is the hip turn and crossover you use to get a ball. Start and stop powerfully without any wasted movement-like hops or stutter steps."

What it does: "This improves your muscle memory and works your ability to stop, start and change direction with power. It also improves efficiency of movement by eliminating the need to take extra steps."

Reps/Rest: 2 reps/45-60 seconds recovery

Four Corners

  • Sprint to first cone; breakdown
  • Rotate so you face toward square; shuffle to next cone
  • Rotate outward and backpedal to next cone
  • Rotate to face away from square; shuffle through finish
  • Repeat in opposite direction

The Yankee Way: "Make sure you slow down, bend your knees, maintain body balance, rotate and then come out of the movement quickly at each cone."

What it does: "This works balance because you rotate at each cone, and it teaches you to generate lateral force to cover a lot of ground while shuffling; this is exactly what an infielder does in a game. If you watch Jeter, his movements happen so fast, and he has to eat up a lot of ground quickly."

Reps/Rest: 2 reps/45-60 seconds recovery

Lateral High Knees over 6" Mini Hurdles

  • Stand left of row of 8-10 mini-hurdles
  • Perform lateral high knees to the right over hurdles with minimal ground contact time
  • Repeat to left

The Yankee Way: "You want quick, short foot strikes between each hurdle. The goal is fast foot action with good high knee action."

What it does: "This develops quick foot action or short-lived foot strike. Although you work lateral movement, you also strengthen your hip flexors and work good arm action, high knee action and posture."

Reps/Rest: 2 reps/45-60 seconds recovery

Shuffle with Bungee Cord

  • Attach bungee cord around waist as partner holds opposite end
  • While partner remains at start, shuffle 12-15 yards against bungee's resistance
  • Shuffle back to start position with control without allowing bungee to pull you off balance
  • Repeat for specified reps
  • Repeat in opposite direction

The Yankee Way: "Don't sacrifice form by allowing yourself to be pulled. Maintain control and balance on the way back. Keep your center of gravity low and don't lean."

What it does: "This overloads your lateral movement to improve lateral strength. Since the cord is attempting to pull your shoulders out past your center of gravity, your balance is challenged. When the cord gets near full extension, it's pretty tough and you really have to grind out there."

Sets/Reps/Rest: 2x10-12 reps/45-60 seconds recovery

T Drill

  • Sprint to top of T; breakdown
  • React to partner's visual cue by shuffling to right or left cone
  • Run around cone and sprint back across top of T to opposite cone
  • Breakdown, redirect and shuffle back to middle of T
  • Breakdown at middle cone; backpedal through finish

The Yankee Way: "Stay tight to the cones, but don't cheat by knocking them over. Find balance by getting your body around the cone tightly without contact. Don't allow yourself to get high in your stance or during your movement. Bend at the knees, lower your butt and hips, and just chew up ground. Don't spend too much time in the air; it's wasted movement. If you are too high during your movement, it means you're generating force vertically, not laterally."

What it does: "This trains you to react and then powerfully stop and change from the forward movement of a sprint into the lateral movement of a shuffle."

Reps/Rest: 2 reps/45-60 seconds recovery

Shuffle with Ball

  • Assume fielding position in front of partner who's holding ball
  • Perform three lateral shuffles to left; catch ball as it's thrown
  • Toss ball back and perform three shuffles right; catch ball as it's thrown
  • Repeat in continuous fashion for specified reps

The Yankee Way: "Stay low, move quickly and don't cross your feet. Maintain good balance while moving, catching the ball and tossing it back."

What it does: "This works lateral movement but adds the element of hand-eye coordination with catching the ball. Instead of just being able to concentrate on speed of movement, you have to think sport-specifically to perform the baseball skill."

Sets/Reps/Rest: 2x20 reps/45-60 seconds recovery.

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