Every baseball player wants to run the bases faster. We use five base-running drills to train our baseball athletes. The first thing we do is establish a baseline. We time each athlete in a 60-Yard Dash (used at all MLB tryouts), their home-to-first time. For some athletes we use their 40-Yard Dash time.
We always begin our training sessions with a great warm-up.
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The A-Step is designed to teach body control. Many younger athletes need to learn the hand to foot relationship (right foot up, left arm up). Through this drill, many untrained athletes learn that their upper bodies enable them to make sharper and quicker turn at a base.
This drill can be done in a small setting. The time you hold each position will vary. We want our beginner athletes to keep their elbows in close to their bodies, their hands moving with the appropriate foot, and to stay balanced on a straight line. More advanced athletes may hold their position at different spots to engage some core work to allow their neuromuscular system to establish communication with the correct muscles.
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Prone to Sprint
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The Prone to Sprint is designed to teach athletes how to take off, similar to an airplane. Beginners use their hands and knees to get up and run. Advanced athletes do a small Push-Up, then explode into a sprint. The key to prescribing sets and reps for this is always to make sure the athletes are working quickly.
Do this drill at the beginning of a workout. Total sprint distance should be 15-20 yards. This base-running drill also helps players who like to steal bases. Although you start from a standing position instead of prone, taking off to steal a base is similar in that we want our athletes to go from stationary to full speed as quickly as possible.
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Good base-running drill work should include the Shuffle-Shuffle-Sprint, also known as the delay steal. Our teams use it religiously to gain an extra base against a lazy opponent. When a base runner is on first or second base, he or she should take a secondary lead on each pitch. This is the shuffle-shuffle, to get closer to the next base. The runner should land on his or her right foot a split second before the ball is hit. A runner in motion with a shuffle can get to the next base quicker on a dirt ball, ground ball, hit with two outs, and many other opportunities to advance.
RELATED: Improve Base Running Speed From Second to Home
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The Figure 8 is one of our top drills, because the athletes gain necessary ankle and knee strength by making turns as they run the bases. Beginners should take their time when learning this drill to ensure safety and master body control. Advanced athletes love this drill because they can feel their bodies lean into the turns, and they compete for he best time.
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The 5-10-5 drill is great for working on the take-off, body control, and how to change directions, which can happen when a base runner gets into a rundown. It can also be used as a tool in a first and third situation to score the runner from third.