Professional Training Secrets and Base Stealing Tips For Baseball Players.
I can’t imagine what Rickey Henderson would have done, had he known these base stealing tips I’m about to share with you.
In the bulk of my research to find what was already out there on base stealing, I ran into a lot of technical info about watching and analyzing the pitcher. I’m glad there is lots of information of that, because I’m going to pick up where all those articles have left off…
How To Actually Run Faster So You Can Literally Steal ANY Base And Become Your Teams’ Star.
Our first base stealing tip starts with what exercises you should do in the gym, then we’ll break down the technique of your first few steps….that’s it! Short and sweet!
Base Stealing Tip #1:
Once upon a time strength training wasn’t looked too highly upon for sports performance…I’m glad that time is over!! But since, sports performance has expanded to incorporate lots of bogus information. As former track and field athlete, turned strength trainer, then sports physical therapist—I’d say I’ve moved up the ranks in knowledge of how and why the body moves.
Gym Time: Leg Strengthening
Everyone talks about squats as being the go-to power producing exercise for the legs. Squats train the entire leg, through a full range of motion, concentrically and eccentrically. Certainly if you are looking to build some strength in the legs then the squat is a good exercise.
But hold on! In today’s world of training, the squat is inferior to the Dead Lift! If you’re an avid follower of mine you already knew this. For my new friends out there, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why does the dead lift out perform the squat for increasing leg strength?” These are my reasons:
- You can lift more weight through dead lifting, and have the ability to create greater power because of it.
- Dead Lifting is safer than the squat. It’s safer for your back, despite being able to lift heavier loads.
- Partial dead lifting is even safer, and that’s what I recommend. While it’s more technical in the beginning, it protects the joints in your back for years to come.
- World Class, Gold Medal track and field sprinters use this technique to become faster—if it increases or maintains their speed, it will work for you too!
Here’s what the partial dead lifts to the knees look like:
Warm up with an active warm up and dynamic stretching routine for the lower body. Dead lift the just the bar, or some lighter weight as a warm up. Read this if you are unsure why a dynamic warm up is superior to static stretching for sports preparation.
If you are new to dead lifting, your technique is very important. You would benefit from someone taking video of you, and cueing you to move correctly using the above video as a reference. Compare your video to this one above. Many people start out looking like this:
But after cues from a partner, or comparing videos they end up with proper form:
The following prescription is not important for you just yet. Get your form down, and then gradually start to add weight.
2 sets total
- (1st set) 3 reps at 95% of your 1 rep maximum
- Immediately after this, perform a brief leg plyometric activity—like 6, 12in box jumps minimizing ground contact time.
- Take 5 minutes rest (sit down and don’t do anything)
- (2nd set) 5 reps at 85% of your 1 rep maximum
- Repeat brief plyometric activity
- Rest atleast 5 minutes again before your next activity.
- Dead Lift Done.
1 rep maximum calculation:
Find your 5 rep maximum. Start with a challenging weight that you know you’re capable of lifting 5 times. Rest exactly 1 minute and add weight to the bar during your rest period. Lift this new weight for 5 more reps. Repeat rest and lift cycles until you can no longer lift 5 reps. You might only have to add weight 2x. If you lift a weight up 4 times, but not 5 – your prior 5 rep lift will be your 5 rep maximum. Take this 5 rep maximum and multiply it by 1.2. This is an estimate of your 1 rep maximum. It is crucial to rest only 1 minute in between attempts, as if you rest longer, you will recover more and your 1 rep maximum estimate will be higher making your training loads impossible. Multiply your 1 rep max estimate by .95 and .85 for 95% and 85%, respectively.
Base Stealing Tip #2:
Now that we have got the main leg strength producer out of the way and mastered–next we need to train your body to create lateral, and rotational power in a split second. We’ll work on improving rotational power in the technique portion of this article.
The fastest way to create lateral explosiveness is to perform lateral skater jumps. Skater jumps look like this:
This exact video shows skater jumps for stability; which is how I want you to start out your first 3 repetitions. In total you will do 8 repetitions. Your next 5 will ‘disregard’ the stability portion and will focus on quick explosive lateral jumps.
In the video you can see me trying to stabilize my body so I don’t fall over—in other words I’m trying to balance in a partial squat position.
In the final 5 reps of the skater jumps, I want you to be very explosive–Meaning as soon as your foot touches the ground, you are pushing off and exploding back the other way. Your last five reps will be very quick. Make sure to completely extend/straighten your trail leg/leg you push with.
Your overall goal of the last 5 reps is to jump as far laterally as you can, and minimize the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground. Your distance will drop from jump to jump–it’s okay, it happens. I recommend starting with smaller jumps that aren’t as wide so you can practice your explosive speed.
2 sets of 8 skater jumps each, are all you will do before practicing your technique.
Take no more than 5 minutes rest between sets, and before moving to the sprint drills below. The goal is not to work to exhaustion.
Base Stealing Tip #3:
Follow these simple steps to improve rotational power and first step quickness. After you have examined the pitcher, and have made the split second decision to steal:
- From your lateral stance, a majority of your weight (60%) should be on your left leg. We use the 60/40 ratio in case you need to make a decision to jump back to the bag. You can feel this by getting into your stance with equal weight on both feet, then slightly adding more weight onto your left leg.
- Your first movements should be a simultaneous whipping of your right arm backward and snapping your left shoulder down to the ground. This will drop your torso lower to the ground and in front of your legs. This will aide you in pushing off from your left leg, and it will turn you to face the next base you are stealing.
- From here your goal is to land your left leg approximately 3 feet (1yd) in front of your R foot, keeping your knee in front of your toes. Knee’s behind the toes ensures you’re not taking too large a stride, and heel striking. Heel striking will decrease forward propulsion, and irritate the hamstrings—we don’t want that! If you’re daring, you can even make a mark in the dirt 1yd from where you’re standing (don’t get caught!), and aim for this target with your left leg when you make your move.
- At all times, keep your head down, and have a forward body lean (unlike Ricky Henderson pictured above), so that your upper body is always ahead of your lower body.
- Run your best 10yds/30ft. That’s it. The rest will take care of itself. Just remember to keep your head down. You’ll sense the next bag.
This seems like a large checklist, but practice will make permanent. Practice these 10yd/30ft starts 6 times. Resting at least 3 minutes in between each start.
Your training is done.
The first week, do this training 2x in that week, preferably giving yourself at least 3 days rest after your first training session. Do this before you begin any other workout routine that day. This training is always 1st on your list! In week 2, you can do this workout every other day at 4x/week–yes you can deadlift 4x/week because your training volume is so low. Statically stretch your hamstrings at the end of your workout 1 time for 30 seconds on each leg.
So that’s the short of stealing bases from a training and conditioning standpoint. There are other items we can “nitpick” and further tweak to really maximize your performance, but this is going to get you 80% of the results you want while training for it in 20% of the time. If your base stealing success doesn’t double or triple in these next 2 weeks, I’ll be very surprised. Enjoy being the base stealing expert in your league, and striking fear into every pitcher and catcher you face. And sorry, Ricky, these kids are coming for ya!
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