The 2nd tool that is very easy to spot for a coach or a scout is “speed.”
The first “event” done at any recruiting event or showcase is the 60 yard dash. Guys that are fast are able to shine right away.
However, just because you cannot run a 6.5 60, doesn’t mean you can’t possess good speed.
I would break speed up into two distinct parts:
Top-end speed: This is the speed that shows well in an event like a 60 yard
dash, where the runner has a lot of time to get his body moving.
This is one of the main reasons why the 60 can sometimes be misleading. A guy may have unbelievable speed from 20-60 yards, but when does he ever have 20 yards to get moving.
First-Step: The 2nd part of speed, the part that I would consider the most
important would be the 1st step.
If a player has a great first step, he is able to cross over and be at full speed virtually right away.
To me, the first step is a much more important factor in baseball. Players with a great first step can be great base stealers and defenders.
Having an above average first step can make a runner who is an average 6.9-7.1 into a plus player.
There are many ways to work on your first step.
The simplest way, and something you can do every day, is to just go outside and practice crossing over and running as hard as possible for 10-20 yards. Your goal is to be full speed after 3 steps.
You need to practice crossing over both to the left and to the right!
We will get into much more detail about the factors that make up speed, reactive power and strength, in future articles.
Both of those items need to be trained to be at maximum levels if you want to be as fast as possible!
Having speed, especially a great first step can change a baseball game in a hurry.
A stolen base, the threat of a stolen base, being aggressive and advancing on a misplayed ball in the outfield, or running a ball down can all be a huge momentum swing in a game!