“Working reaction drills prior to a game enhances a player’s reaction time and quickness by stimulating the nervous system,” says Florida baseball strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino.
A few pre-game quickness principles Piraino abides by with the Gators include:
• Performing pre-game warm-up drills on the field (weight room work should be used to increase strength, not prepare the body for competition)
• Getting the body to move in every plane of motion; incorporating all the muscle groups in the lower half of the body; and using static and dynamic work
• Prepping the body first with stretches, then performing short-duration, short-distance, high-speed reactionary work
Here is one reactionary drill the Gators perform two and a half hours before the first pitch, but after static stretches and a dynamic warm-up.
Five-Yard Reaction Drill
Setup: Place one cone five yards to left of foul line and another five yards to right of it
• Straddle foul line in athletic position
• Begin drill by chopping feet
• Coach points either left or right; react by sprinting in designated direction
• Touch cone with near hand; sprint back to start
• Perform 3 to 4 reps; finish drill by sprinting past last directed cone
Sets/Reps: 2×3-4 with 2:1 rest-to-work ratio
Coaching Points: Good athletic position consists of feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent and chest up // Bend knees and drop hips when touching cone; do not bend at waist // Push off outside leg to change direction // Avoid standing too tall during drill