Baseball Practice Drills | Kbands Lateral Pickups
Making a great defensive play during a baseball game is not entirely the result of speed and quickness. These two attributes play a key role in getting to the desired destination. However, after an athlete has reached the ball they must attain proper total body control and regain their balance in order to make a strong, accurate throw after the catch.
Whether it is an outfielder diving for a ground ball, popping up, and doubling up a runner on the base path, or an infielder making a diving stop and throwing the runner out at first, an athletes ability to control their body is the key to making these high level plays. A key point of body control when it comes to baseball or softball is an athlete’s ability to have the hands and arms work in unison with the lower body. The Kbands Lateral Pickups is a great baseball practice drill which forces baseball players to utilize both their upper and lower body in unison while utilizing sports specific movements.
Maximize Baseball Training Time With Proper Resistance
To complete this baseball practice drill athletes will need a set of Kbands, 4 Speed and Agility Cones and 3-5 Chaos Balls or baseballs. An important part of the Kbands Lateral Pickup drill is an athletes ability to perform resisted lateral shuffles with good body positioning and execution.
By performing the baseball practice drill with the Kbands Leg Resistance Bands athletes are provided a unique opportunity to make great gains in both lateral speed and strength. Adding in upper body movements which challenge hand eye coordination make this a challenging baseball drill. While moving laterally athletes should keep chest and hips forward, moving quickly and laterally working off the balls of the feet. Athletes should be able to keep the knees from “bowing” in by consciously thinking about working against the Kbands. If athletes are not able to keep the knees from being pulled together then lighter resistance should be utilized. If athletes are able to easily complete all sets of the Kbands Lateral Pickups then resistance should be increased the next time the baseball practice drill is performed.
Athletes will also practice good body positioning and hand eye coordination by keeping their eyes up, chest and hips forward, and keeping their feet pointed straight forward (not allowing the foot to rotate out or in). Focusing on these keys to body positioning during the baseball practice drill will enhance an athletes ability to make a great play, transition the ball from the glove to the hand, and then make a strong, accurate throw.
The different levels of resistance which can be utilized with the Kbands from least to greatest resistance progresses are: yellow (lightest), red, green, and blue (most resistance). Athletes need to find a level of resistance which challenges them as they move laterally, but does not cause breakdowns in form, as athletes are progressing through the baseball practice drill.
Executing The Kbands Lateral Pickups
To execute the Kbands Lateral Pickups athletes will place the Speed and Agility Cones in a Square formation. Younger athletes will place the Speed and Agility Cones 5-8 feet apart, while older athletes will place the Speed and Agility Cones 5-8 yards apart. Athletes will place Chaos Balls or baseballs inside of one of the sides of the cone square formation. Athletes will choose the proper amount of resistance, attach the Kbands directly above the knees, and stand at the end of the line of balls.
While maintaining good body positioning athletes will begin the baseball practice drill by picking up one of the balls with the same hand, switching hands, and placing the ball between the Speed and Agility Cone on the opposite side of the formation. Athletes beginning the baseball practice drill on the left side will pick up the ball with their left hand, shuffle to the opposite side of the Speed and Agility Cone formation, switch hands, and place the ball between the two cones using their right hand.
The number of balls used depends on the ability of the athlete. Athletes will perform the baseball practice drill for 12-15 seconds sets, performing 4-6 sets per side of the body. Therefore, athletes will need enough Chaos Balls or baseballs so they can continue the Kbands Lateral Pickups for the entire 12-15 seconds.
This is a great baseball practice drill which can be used by teams and small groups. The Kbands Lateral Pickup drill makes a great station which can be implemented with additional strength, shoulder mobility, core, and rotational drills. Head to the Baseball Training Section to see demonstrations of baseball or softball drills like the KB Powerbands Shoulder Progression, Infield Speed and Shuffle Drills, as well as the Shakedown Drill For Infield and Outfield.
Proper Form While Completing The Kbands Lateral Pickups
While athletes are moving laterally it is important they practice good fielding techniques to ensure they can move through the baseball practice drill for the entire set and to help practice sports specific scenarios. Athletes will want to make sure they are working laterally all the way to each line and picking up the ball closest to their foot. If athletes are attempting to grab the ball when it is to far away from their body they will experience a large volume of dropped balls as they attempt to pick them up. Again, practicing good form will help athletes enhance their total body control, while simultaneously working on their baseball fielding skills.
Once athletes are comfortable with the movements and the resistance they need to push the tempo on this baseball practice drill. Increasing the speed at which the Kbands Lateral Pickups is performed will help the body adapt to moving at this accelerated rate. Athletes need to challenge themselves during the 12-15 seconds, working against the resistance while maintaining good form.
Baseball Training Equipment