Getting Off the Mound

Get better at the sports you play and the life you lead at STACK. Improve your training, nutrition and lifestyle with daily

A successful hurler throws strikes and paints corners. But a truly complete pitcher backs up bases, fields bunts and covers first whenever necessary.

According to Mike Nagler, strength and conditioning coach to 2007 College World Series qualifiers U.C. Irvine, training his pitchers' foot speed was key to the school's most successful season ever. "Missing a half-second with your first few steps can lead to giving up an extra out or base," Nagler says. "We work on their initial steps, because once you are past that, pitching turns into a sprint."

To work a pitcher's foot speed, Nagler prescribes Line Hops. The Anteaters perform them once a week year-round. Go through the progression 3 times, performing 15 reps of each exercise with 90 seconds rest between sets. Skier Hops •    Facing forward, begin on left side of line with feet close together •    Hop to right side, then back to left

Read More >>

A successful hurler throws strikes and paints corners. But a truly complete pitcher backs up bases, fields bunts and covers first whenever necessary.

According to Mike Nagler, strength and conditioning coach to 2007 College World Series qualifiers U.C. Irvine, training his pitchers' foot speed was key to the school's most successful season ever. "Missing a half-second with your first few steps can lead to giving up an extra out or base," Nagler says. "We work on their initial steps, because once you are past that, pitching turns into a sprint."

To work a pitcher's foot speed, Nagler prescribes Line Hops. The Anteaters perform them once a week year-round. Go through the progression 3 times, performing 15 reps of each exercise with 90 seconds rest between sets.

Skier Hops

•    Facing forward, begin on left side of line with feet close together
•    Hop to right side, then back to left

Forward and Back
•    Facing line, begin with feet close together
•    Hop over and back

Scissor
•    Facing line, begin with one foot on each side of line
•    Hop vertically, switching position of feet

Zig Zag
•    Facing forward, begin with one foot on each side of line
•    Hop vertically, bringing lead foot across line in front of you and back foot across line behind you
•    Hop back to start position; perform in opposite direction

Xs
•    Facing forward, begin with one foot on each side of line
•    Hop vertically, moving right foot slightly forward and left foot slightly back
•    Hop back to start position; perform in opposite direction

Nagler's keys
1. Begin each movement with a slight forward lean and a bend in your knees
2. As soon as you contact the floor, begin pushing off again
3. Land on your toes or the balls of your feet
4. Be quick and explosive; don't slow your movements by jumping too high
5. You can look down initially, but as you get more comfortable with the exercises, focus your eyes straight ahead


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock