Being a well-rounded runner is crucial on the diamond, so you need to master first-step quickness, acceleration and the ability to reach top speed. Steven Orris, University of Florida baseball strength and conditioning coach, drops a few drills that help his players move faster than the rest. Drawing from the philosophy he employed with the 2005 national runner-up Gators, Orris addresses every component of speed on the diamond with this routine. With a warm-up and cool-down, perform the following drills once a week on your sprint and conditioning day.
Elevated Quick Step
Stand in front of three-inch step
Step up with left foot, then right; step down with left foot then right
Repeat pattern as quickly as possible for specified time; maintain proper running form with arms
Rest and repeat with right foot leading
Variations: Perform drill laterally and diagonally
Advanced: Use six-inch step
Sets/Duration/Rest: 5x10 seconds/rest for 30 seconds
Benefits: Preps your neuromuscular system for making quick moves and works your fast twitch muscles. The lateral variation is great for getting out of the box.
Med Ball Throw and Acceleration
Stand at goal line on football field holding 10-pound med ball at chest level
Squat down and explode up and out to throw med ball as far as possible
Immediately explode into sprint toward ball
Quickly pick up ball and throw again
Perform pattern continuously down length of field
Variation: Perform drill as a race against teammate down the field
Sets/Distance/Rest: 5x100 yards/rest for 30 seconds
Benefits: You work acceleration by taking off after the ball and get plyometric work from the throw.
In continuous fashion, explosively bound off one leg to other over specified distance
With each bound, cover as much ground as possible and achieve maximum hang time
Advanced: Bound for 20 yards, then explode into sprint for 10 yards
Sets/Distance/Rest: 5-8x20 yards/rest for 30 seconds
Benefits: This horizontal plyometric preloads your muscles the same way a top-speed sprint does.
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