We want to share with you some youth baseball drills that are going to help make your baseball players better athletes. Great athletes need quickness, explosiveness, and balance in order to maximize potential during the game.
Improve Acceleration with Falling Runs
For this drill, have your players stand tall with good posture. They should suck in the belly button and tuck in the back. Then instruct them to fall forward and explode into an accelerated sprint.
Remind your players to bring the knee up, heel up, and toe up during their falling runs. They should focus on stepping down to the ground with greater force, driving the elbows back.
Down and back is one repetition–do three sets of three to five reps.
Step Over Baseball Drill
Here we’re just going to do a simple drill bringing our toe up and stepping over the opposite ankle. Start with walking forward, pulling the toes up toward the shins, and stepping over the other ankle.
This is a down and back motion, so the foot is actually coming backward as it hits the ground. We want to stay on the front part of the foot, not allowing the heels to hit the ground hard.
Next take this into a jog–just small steps, pulling the foot down and back. Pull those toes up toward the shins, bouncing on the front part of the foot as you cycle and step over the other ankle.
Next, skip. Pull the toes up toward the shin and pop. Step down to the ground as you cycle that foot by stepping over the other ankle.
Next we’ll go back to a jog.
And our final one will be to speed up the rhythm and make it more of a run. Our focus is bouncing off the ground. Remind your players to step over that ankle and step down quick.
Do repetitions at five yards. Down and back is one repetition–do the whole series three times.
Increase Speed with the Fast Leg Run Drill
Start with the beginning level of this drill–just bouncing forward at a jogging pace. Remind your players to lift the knee up, heel up, toe up, and cycle the leg. They should use the arms by driving the elbow back, and stabilize the core by sucking in the belly button and tucking in the back. This gives us greater force at the ground. Step down to the ground. That’s the key to propelling and moving the body for greater acceleration.
Next let’s do the intermediate level. Now it’s a one, two, up, down with the right; one, two, up, down with the left. Your players should alternate legs. Remember, bring that knee up in front, the heel up, the hamstring, and the toe up toward the shin. Then step down to the ground. Half of running is the lifting part, the other half is stepping down to the ground with greater force.
Next is the advanced level. Now we go one, two, right, right. We do it twice, explosively firing that leg. Knee up, heel up, toe up, step down to the ground. Remember, lock in your core, suck in the belly button, and tuck in the back.
That helps to generate greater force at the ground that propels and moves the body for greater acceleration and speed on the base path.
Down and back is one repetition–do three sets of three repetitions.
Plyometrics: Tuck Jumps
These are two-foot jumps, bringing the knees up about as high as the hips. We want to pop off the ground as quickly as possible. Put force down, explode up. Use the arms.
Plyometrics: Hitch Hops
These are single-leg hops for power and speed. We want to simulate our running motion. Bring the knee up, the heel up, and the toe up of the leg that you’re jumping with. These are great for balance and acceleration.
Make sure to work each leg equally. Start easy–do five and then rest. Then do five on the other leg. Build to the point where you can do 10 on each set.
Obstacle Jumps and Hops
For these, you’ll want to use a small obstacle like a cone or a small hurdle. These drills are rapid fire. They’re not big, they’re quick.
Start with side to sides, using two feet at the same time. Over and back the obstacle counts as one. Do three sets of five to 10 repetitions.
Next, we’ll do one-foot hops. With these, we’re simply going side to side over the obstacle. Over and back is one repetition. Do three sets of five repetitions and then switch legs.
Next, we’ll do front to back. Bring both heels together so both feet work as one unit. Quickly pop off the ground and use the core of your body to keep control. Over and back is one repetition–do three sets of five repetitions.
Do you think these youth baseball drills would work with your team? Why or why not? Sound off with a comment below!