When I think of some of the biggest bangs for the buck, I often think of my time studying the principles of speed and quickness with Lee Taft. Many of the principles that I learned from Lee have been implemented into our Speed Program which we run in Jan and Feb. Below is a brief summary of some of the principles that we incorporate on base stealing in our speed program to help our athletes become faster on the field.
Most coaches I see train speed by immediately working on “Sprint Work”. In my opinion, speed for any athlete always starts with starting technique. If starting technique is bad the entire event suffers. Here are a few suggestions to help you around the bases:
- Position the feet wider than the shoulders to allow for a more stable push off toward second base.
- Knees should be pushed forward (just above or slightly in front or the feet) to load the ankles.
- Hands should be around belt height with slightly bent elbows. This is referred to as “running position”, which allows for a faster loading of the back leg.
The first move starts with the arms and hands, NOT the shoulders. They need to drive aggressively backward to allow the legs to drive harder. The shoulders must lean forward of the lower body to line up in the line of power created from the ground up through the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders.
- The left leg (what we call the push off leg), will be the first powerful push off toward the next base.
- The power leg (right leg) will lift slightly off the ground and externally rotating at the hip (turning outward). This is called a “directional step”.
- Once the body has completely turned to face second base, the focus now becomes greater on pushing the ground down and back with the right (power) leg to get the body moving. This push is what we mean by “getting a good jump”.
Hope that’s helpful… See ya in the gym!
By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, CSCS, NASM, PES, FMS)
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