Monday, May 19, 2008

Baseball Players' Speed Requirements

The speed requirements for baseball players are: starting ability, acceleration, stopping, cutting, stride rate, stride length, sprinting form and speed endurance.

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Most explosive movements occur after some other movement (swinging, sliding, etc.). Maximum velocity is rarely reached except in the case of hitting a triple, inside-the-park homerun or running down a long fly ball. Therefore, starting ability and acceleration should be emphasized during training.

The ideal baseball infielder or outfielder would possess all the necessary tools to play the game well. This would be known as a 5 tool player.

A 5 tool player has great speed, can field, throw, hit for average and hit for power. A modern day 5 tool player would be Alex Rodriguez. Not many players possess all 5 tools. If you can do two of these tools well (like hitting for average and fielding), you have a chance to make it to "The Show" (Major Leagues).

Following is a short list of some requirements of major league baseball infielders and outfielders:

1. Running speed in the 60 yard dash: 6.5 - 6.8 (good); 6.3 - 6.4 (excellent)

2. Home to first speed: 4.1 (Left handed batter), 4.2 (RHB) is good
4.0 or less (LHB), 4.1 or less (RHB) is excellent

3. Throwing velocity: Infielders, 82-84 mph (good); 85 mph or better (excellent)
Outfielders, 85-89 mph (good); 90 mph or better (excellent)

It should be noted that these fielders need good dynamic balance, agility and throwing accuracy.

Infielders and outfielders should use the offseason to improve strength, dynamic flexibility, dynamic balance, endurance, power and speed.

The focus should be on building full body strength and endurance that will aid the baseball player in improving power and speed. Maximum muscle growth (i.e. 1-rep max) is not needed for baseball players. A critical part of the strength program is strengthening and conditioning the throwing shoulder (see this post).

A sample offseason workout program for infielders and outfielders would be:

1. Full Body Circuit Weight Training (2 days a week). Interval aerobic training would also be done on these days.
2. Speed Training (2 days a week)
3. Plyometric Training (2 days a week)

In season conditioning would include split routine workouts to maintain strength gains made in the offseason. Split routines work the upper body one day and the lower body the next day. Speed workouts would be limited to 1 day per week at the most.

Other things being equal, a muscular, powerful athlete will outperform a fat, slower or skinny, weaker athlete. Sports Fitness Hut's Fat Blaster Athletic Power Training System will give you your "lean and mean" athletic machine!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Sports Fitness Hut

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