Baseball Workouts | Shakedown Drill For Infield and Outfield
The purpose of a drill with sports specific tasks is to have the athlete perform the motion enough times so they do not have to think about performing that task. Taking ground balls in practice is an excellent example. The first time an athlete takes a ground ball in practice they must think about where their feet are, where should their glove be, or if they have the correct body positioning. By eliminating this thinking process from the movement through repetition and allowing the athlete to instinctually corral the ball in their glove the athlete will be able to place their attention on more difficult tasks or game situations (ex. where the base runners are, how many outs there are, etc).
Quality repetitions are key for mastering simple or routine tasks and allow the players focus to switch to where the throw will go or whether a runner is trying to advance on a throw. Athletes will become much more comfortable quickly moving to a spot, making a play on the ball, and quickly transitioning into their next movement by implementing specific fielding situations into the baseball workout.
Executing The Baseball Workout
To execute the baseball workout athletes will need 6 Speed and Agility Cones, a set of Kbands, a glove, and a partner with 2-3 baseballs. Begin by aligning the Speed and Agility Cones in a rectangle shape so there are 3 sets of Speed and Agility Cones lined up with 10-12 feet in between them. After securing the Kbands around the legs, just above the knees, athletes will line up facing their partner. Athletes will begin at a Speed and Agility Cone which is farthest away from their partner. On a verbal cue athletes will explosively sprint forward toward the Speed and Agility Cone. After reaching the Speed and Agility Cone athletes will break down their feet, open up their hips, and explosively sprint toward the diagonal Speed and Agility Cone. Athletes will continue this process until they have reached the last Cone. Complete 4-6 resisted repetitions per side before removing the Kbands and performing 2 un-resisted sets from each side. Be sure to give 40-90 seconds of rest between sets so athletes can perform the baseball workout at maximum effort.
During the baseball workout the partner will challenge the athlete by mixing in ground balls and fly balls as the athlete quickly moves through the Speed and Agility Cone set up. During one of the forward sprints partners will randomly mix in a ground ball for the athlete to field and then quickly discard and continue the baseball workout. Partners will also throw the baseball on the final diagonal sprint so the athlete must make an over the shoulder catch to end the baseball drill. During the resisted sets of the baseball workout athletes need to be sure the resistance does not alter their running form or footwork. Be aware of the knees being pulled in toward the center of the body or an altered running form during resisted sets of the baseball workout.
Proper Footwork During The Baseball Workout
Footwork is critical as the athlete moves through the baseball workout. False steps and wasted movements can be the difference between an athlete fielding a ground ball and the batter getting on base.
As athletes sprint forward and reach the Speed and Agility Cone they will need to break down their feet (perform small, quick, choppy steps) so a smooth transition can be made into a diagonal sprint. To make the transition from sprinting forward to a diagonal sprint athletes will need to consciously think about opening up their hips and making their first step toward the next Speed and Agility Cone. Once athletes complete the diagonal sprinting portion of the baseball workout they will again break down their feet and redirect into an explosive forward sprint.
Practicing proper footwork will be very important in helping this baseball workout translate into greater fielding abilities. By practicing short choppy steps to redirect the body athletes will train themselves to better redirect in a game situation where a ground ball has taken a funny bounce or a fielder finds themselves caught in a rundown on the base path. This footwork translates very well into base running as well. The ability to quickly stop and redirect their momentum will help young and experienced baseball players take their fielding abilities to a higher level.
The footwork executed during the diagonal sprinting portion of the baseball workout translates well with outfielders turning, opening up their hips, and quickly reaching maximum speed in order to track down a long fly ball.
By focusing on footwork, speed, and implementing sports specific scenarios, athletes will be able to master the fundamentals of footwork and redirecting themselves. Athletes will be able to redirect their attention to more detail oriented tasks and focus more on game situations during competition (how many outs, where runners are located on base path) by using the baseball workout to master the fundamentals.
Baseball Workouts To Pair With The Kbands Shakedown Drill
This baseball workout focuses on footwork and redirecting the body while paying attention to outside stimuli (ground and fly balls). This baseball workout should be paired with other sorts of baseball training as well. Flexibility and warm-up exercises for the shoulders, back, legs, and arms should be performed before baseball training begins. Baseball workouts to improve arm strength or stamina should also be included in a baseball training routine. Position specific baseball drills should be practiced. For example a group of outfielders may go play long toss while a pitcher works on their mechanics.
Rotational power and core strength also play a large part in the overall performance and success of a baseball or softball player. Head to the baseball training section to see demonstrations of different baseball specific drills to help increase core strength, arm strength, leg drive, rotational power, footwork, and speed. Athletes need to be sure they are always working to improve every aspect of their game and these baseball workouts will help athletes of all abilities achieve greater success on the baseball diamond.
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