Base Running Drills | RSC Baseball Sprint Out's
Wasted movements in athletics can be very costly. Taking an unnecessary drop step or inefficient running mechanics can be the difference between stealing second base and getting thrown out. This Base running drill for baseball and softball players will help train athletes to be efficient with their footwork and body movements to propel them to their top speed in a short amount of time. When a tenth of a second can determine the outcome of stealing a base, athletes and coaches want to take advantage of every opportunity they can to improve starts and help athletes build up to their top speed as quickly as they can.
This Base running drill will teach athletes how to maximize their sprinting speed while beginning the sprint from different game specific scenarios. Athletes can use this base running drill to focus on the first step of the drill while focusing on maximum speed.
Three Phases Of Explosive Sprints
Whenever an athlete in any sport explosively sprints from one point to another the body goes through several stages to maximize the force produced with each step. All three stages of the sprint work in unison to produce quick and explosive steps during the sprint.
As the athletes foot first makes contact with the ground during the base running drill the body is utilizing the eccentric phase. During this phase the leg is absorbing the force of the foot making contact with the ground. When performed properly the eccentric phase allows the body to store energy in the hamstrings, glutes, and calves allowing for greater force production when the foot inevitably leaves the ground.
The shortest of the three sprinting phases is called the amorization phase. This phase of the sprinting cycle is the time between making contact with the ground and forcefully pushing off the ground. If athletes do not progress through the amorization phase quickly then the energy the body stored during the eccentric phase will dissipate as heat and be lost. This is why the overspeed training portion of the Base running drill is so crucial to athletic speed. The built in overspeed training teaches athletes to be quicker with their feet during the sprint, resulting in greater and more frequent force production off of the ground. As soon as the athlete forcefully pushes off of the ground the amorization phase has ended.
The final phase of the sprint is referred to as the concentric phase. This phase requires muscle activation to take the leg from the eccentric phase, quickly through the amorization phase, and allows the athlete to make a powerful push with the leg. These three phases of the sprint are important to understand so athletes and coaches can be sure athletes are maximizing their training time and performing the base running drills correctly.
Executing The Base Running Drill
There are two phases to the Base running drill. Athletes will need a Reactive Stretch Cord, two Speed and Agility Cones, and an anchoring partner for the first phase. Athletes will begin both phases of the Base running drill by attaching the D-Ring so it is aligned on one side of the body. Athletes will place the Speed and Agility Cones in a straight line 10-12 feet apart. It is important for athletes to remember the Reactive Stretch Cord maxes out at 20 feet. Therefore, while performing the base running drill athletes need to stay within these parameters. Anchoring partners will stand at the opposite Speed and Agility Cone securing the safety strap around their wrist.
Athletes will begin the first phase of the base running drill by lying on the ground mimicking the situation that the base runner has just dove back to the bag and there has been an errant throw. Athletes will begin the Base running drill on a verbal cue from the anchoring partner from a lying position on their stomachs. Once the cue has been given to start the Base running drill athletes will quickly get to their feet and explosively sprint to the opposite Speed and Agility Cone.
Anchors will pay close attention to the athletes footwork while they are moving from the prone position to a standing sprint ready position. As athletes come up from the ground it is important no false steps are taken. These steps do not provide any power and can increase the time it takes an athlete to get to their desired destination. Athletes need to rotate and push off their back foot to produce a sufficient amount of force to get their bodies headed in the correct direction.
The anchoring partner will begin to pull on the Reactive Stretch Cord as athletes rise up from the ground. This pull will allow the athlete to accelerate their bodies and legs quicker creating a greater neural connection with the muscles responsible for the sprinting motion. A good dig phase and violent arm swings are important for athletes to reach top speed in a short amount of time. After a quick get up and start athletes should focus on making as many contacts with the ground as possible before reaching the opposite Speed and Agility Cone. Athletes should perform 6-10 repetitions of the first phase of the base running drill with 40 seconds to 90 seconds of rest between repetitions.
Second Phase Of The Base Running Drill
The second phase of the base running drill will be set up and executed in the same fashion as the initial phase, the only difference will be the starting position. For the second phase of the Base running drill athletes will mimic taking a 2-step lead before explosively sprinting. This involves the athlete to take two steps off of the starting Speed and Agility Cone while the side of their body faces the opposite Speed and Agility Cone. This phase of the base running drill will begin by the anchoring partner pulling and creating tension on the Reactive Stretch Cord. Once this tension is felt by the athlete performing the base running drill, they will use efficient footwork and running mechanics to explosively sprint toward the opposite Speed and Agility Cone. Anchoring partners need to apply the proper amount of tension during the base running drill and ensure the Reactive Stretch Cord stays out of the running path of the athlete performing the base running drill. Athletes will perform 6-10 repetitions of this phase with 40-90 seconds of rest in between sets.
Check out the baseball and softball training sections for more sports specific drills which can be performed following the base running drill. These training sections include, throwing, hitting, and other base running.