Q: Hey Alex, I’m a high school sophomore, and I want to get faster. I have below-average speed, and I feel like I’m getting overlooked at showcases I attend. I ran an 8.2, 60 yard dash at my last showcase and was very mad. So my question to you is, Is there any hope? Can I get faster? If so, what should I do?
Let me start off by saying the 60 yard dash remains the most unrealistic testing method baseball teams use to gauge speed. I’d rather see teams/ schools test players on how they go first to second on a steal, home to first, first to third, ect. That’s just my rant though, and the bad news is, you have to run the 60. The good news is, you CAN get faster and beat the 60. My sophomore year of high school I ran an 8.3!! Yes, I was slow and frustrated, just like yourself. However, by my senior year I dropped my time to a 6.8. Now you must be saying how the heck did you drop over a second off your 60 time! The answer is not easy. The truth is, many things contributed to me dropping my 60 time. I’m going to give you my “Big 3”.
1. Strength – This is the most important. If your 60 sucks it’s usually because you’re not strong or lack general strength. Yeah, some skinny guys can fly, but that’s out of the norm. Get stronger, and you’ll run faster. Focus on compound lifts like goblet squats, deadlifts via trap bar, dumbbell bench press, plank variations, pull-ups, push-ups, reverse lunges ect. These are easy to do exercises high school players like you can do without any problem. My YouTube channel has videos of all these exercises; go check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/ channel/UC0PUb93yDS0g7vy-Qx-6IlQ
2. Perfecting running mechanics WITHOUT knowing you are – Ever here the phrase if you think too much when you’re in the box, you won’t hit? Same goes for speed. If you think about staying low, using a violent arm exchange, and keeping a forward lean to transfer into the acceleration phase of your sprint, you WON’T run well. Initially when I started training for speed, I would always think about these things as I ran and it just didn’t work. So what do we do to build dynamite mechanics in our sprint technique? We run different sprint start variations. For example, a falling sprint start is used to enhance our forward lean and stride length. When we increase our stride length we take less steps. The less steps you take the faster you are. Another example is a push-up acceleration start to work on acceleration mechanics. These starts are great because you work on mechanics without knowing you are!
Pushup Sprint Start:
Falling Sprint Start:
3. SLEDS, SLEDS, SLEDS! – Sleds are literally a GAME CHANGER in speed training. They are another tool you can use to DRASTICALLY enhance your stride length virtually automatically. I use heavy sled drags with all the athletes I train and they will all tell you, it DOES work. In fact, I was training a client before his his pre-draft workout with a major league team this weekend and we were timing some 10 yard dashes. We got the initial time, performed 4 sets of heavy sled drags, finished the whole lower body workout, came back at the end of our workout and ran more 10 yard dashes. The results were astonishing to him, but not to me. We took six tenths off his 10 yard dash time,and that’s how much sleds work to enhance your speed if used properly. Don’t have a sled? No problem, go to your nearest hill and run some 10 and 20 yards sprints with you taking full recovery between sets. What the hill does is FORCE you to increase your stride length and enforces that “forward lean” as you go up the hill. If you don’t stay low and drive your legs as you’re going up the hill, you won’t be able to sprint up the hill, it’s as simple as that. You cannot stay upright and run up a hill. Also make sure the hills not too step. About 45 degrees will do the trick.
Heavy Sled Drag:
Follow everything I talked about and you’ll drop your 60 in no time! I Guarantee it!