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Drills/Exercises to Improve Lateral Quickness

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  • Drills/Exercises to Improve Lateral Quickness

    I was wondering if anyone has any drills/exercises they recommend for my 10 year old son to improve lateral quickness for infield range. Are drills using an agility ladder the best way?

  • #2
    I used the agility ladder with my son around that age and it might help foot quickness and coordination a bit but I was never that impressed with any speed results from it. I felt it just made him better at doing the agility ladder. We practiced the 5-10-5 Pro Agility Drill drill used in football a lot, as that more mimics the movements for an infielder getting to a ball. We also did quick 10 and 20 yard sprints uphill which helped in improving overall speed and running power.

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    • #3
      Agility ladder has almost no crossover to actual baseball moves. Practice the actual agility moves in baseball. 5-10-5 is better. Actual sprinting is better. Also just physical strength that adds explosive movements. Squats, lunges, jumps etc.

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      • #4
        Basketball

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        • #5
          In an effort to improve exactly what you're looking for, and to improve our team's overall quickness, we've been doing once a week strength, agility, and conditioning practices. We've been incorporating squats, both two legged and one legged (with hand on fence for stability) squats, to improve power in the quads and buttocks. The two legged is done with a bat held overhead, which can also be used as a counterbalance for those players unfamiliar with the movement. Just be sure they maintain good posture, arch in the back, knees over ankles (not over toes), looking straight ahead. The lighter kids have an easy time with this, the bigger kids get through it, but with some difficulty.

          We've also been doing side to side jumps (one leg). The players have a tendency to want to do them quickly, so we have to remind them to get deeper and push off with power.

          Other drills we've incorporated, including the agility ladders, are:
          • 5 yard L drills (shuffle to corner then hard plant and sprint, down and back)
          • down-&-backs which is a 8 yard hard backpedal, hard plant and sprint back
          • down-&-backs with an over the shoulder look (both sides), like you're going hard for a popup (helped our IFs visualize them going for a popup between them and the OFers)
          • timed 30 yard dashes, goal to stay consistent within 5-10% of their times, easy to see who is getting after it and who is dogging it. They love comparing times and being measured against their personal bests.
          We also include ball drills like exploding forward for a shoestring catch, or stretching out for a soft pop to glove & backhand sides, also over the shoulder catches and overhead basket catch (Willie Mays style). The trick is to get that ball just out of their reach.

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          • #6
            No doubt...5-10-5 Pro Agility Drill

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            • #7
              Old school p.e. class shuttle run! I think we had to grab chalkboard erasers...

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              • #8
                Going side to side is an unnatural move for most people of any age. Doing side to side agility drills was critical for my kids just to understand that sideways is an optional movement.
                efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WailukuHeights View Post
                  Just be sure they maintain good posture, arch in the back, knees over ankles (not over toes), looking straight ahead.
                  I'm no squat master, but it seems physically impossible to me to squat with knees over the ankles... what am I missing?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bbrages View Post

                    I'm no squat master, but it seems physically impossible to me to squat with knees over the ankles... what am I missing?
                    Not sure, while not 100% perpendicular to the ground, my shins get pretty close to vertical 90°, maybe i have more flexibility in my hips. I think the idea can be more of a cue rather than a steadfast rule, you don't want too much body weight going forward. If your knees are way out over your toes, you're doing it incorrectly.

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                    • #11
                      Good cue to use there is "push up with your heels".. If they are pushing up with the balls of their feet it will cause some balance issues and the knees drifting out over the toes.

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                      • #12
                        It's frustrating to give impossible cues... I think novices (i.e. kids) take cues very literally. I know I do.

                        Regarding the squat... if you google "squat myths", you will get a ton of hits and all of them will say the prohibition on knees traveling past the toes (not ankles!) is a myth.

                        Rippetoe's Starting Strength book has a lot of text dedicated to teaching the squat. Agree or not, but I think Kyle Boddy is pro-Rippetoe, so that's good enough for me.

                        Again, I'm no squat master...

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                        • #13
                          An infielder's lateral quickness is partly mental and partly physical.
                          Mental is reading/reacting--reading the flight/path of the ball and reacting to it.
                          Physical is mostly about the quality of their first step.

                          Mental is the most important. A motivated player can immediately improve his lateral quickness by making sure he's hungry to make a play every single time a pitch crosses the plate.

                          If they've got good lateral quickness as a baserunner when they're taking a lead at first base (because they're highly motivated to get a great jump towards the next base, or back to the bag on a pickoff attempt), but they lack lateral quickness defensively, it points to a lack of readiness/hunger when each pitch is crossing the plate when they're playing the infield.
                          Skip

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                            An infielder's lateral quickness is partly mental and partly physical.
                            Mental is reading/reacting--reading the flight/path of the ball and reacting to it.
                            Physical is mostly about the quality of their first step.
                            At present, no agreement on a precise definition of agility within the sports science community exists. The term is applied to a broad range of sport contexts, but with such great inconsistency, it further complicates our understanding of what trainable components may enhance agility. A new definition of agility is proposed: “a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus”. Agility has relationships with trainable physical qualities such as strength, power and technique, as well as cognitive components such as visual-scanning techniques, visual-scanning speed and anticipation. Agility testing is generally confined to tests of physical components such as change of direction speed, or cognitive components such as anticipation and pattern recognition. New tests of agility that combine physical and cognitive measures are encouraged.

                            ^
                            this is the abstract of a scholarly article on agility (https://shapeamerica.tandfonline.com...9#.XJO2L2N7mUk)

                            Note also this abstract (emphasis is mine):

                            This review explores the differences between agility in invasion sports (defined as including reactive decision-making) and change-of-direction speed (CODS), and highlights the implications for training. Correlations between agility tests and CODS tests indicate that they represent independent skills. Agility tests discriminate higher- from lower-standard athletes better than CODS tests, indicating that the cognitive element of agility is important to performance. Training studies have shown that the development of strength qualities can transfer to gains in CODS, but this has never been shown for agility. There is some evidence that the importance of physical qualities is greater for CODS than for agility. It was concluded that the reactive element should be included in agility training, testing and research. While there appears to be no research evidence for the benefits of strength and power training, there is some support for the use of small-sided games for improving agility.

                            https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs...-9541.10.1.159

                            I think you are absolutely correct that there is both a cognitive and physical aspect to agility.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bbrages View Post

                              At present, no agreement on a precise definition of agility within the sports science community exists. The term is applied to a broad range of sport contexts, but with such great inconsistency, it further complicates our understanding of what trainable components may enhance agility. A new definition of agility is proposed: “a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus”. Agility has relationships with trainable physical qualities such as strength, power and technique, as well as cognitive components such as visual-scanning techniques, visual-scanning speed and anticipation. Agility testing is generally confined to tests of physical components such as change of direction speed, or cognitive components such as anticipation and pattern recognition. New tests of agility that combine physical and cognitive measures are encouraged.

                              ^
                              this is the abstract of a scholarly article on agility (https://shapeamerica.tandfonline.com...9#.XJO2L2N7mUk)

                              Note also this abstract (emphasis is mine):

                              This review explores the differences between agility in invasion sports (defined as including reactive decision-making) and change-of-direction speed (CODS), and highlights the implications for training. Correlations between agility tests and CODS tests indicate that they represent independent skills. Agility tests discriminate higher- from lower-standard athletes better than CODS tests, indicating that the cognitive element of agility is important to performance. Training studies have shown that the development of strength qualities can transfer to gains in CODS, but this has never been shown for agility. There is some evidence that the importance of physical qualities is greater for CODS than for agility. It was concluded that the reactive element should be included in agility training, testing and research. While there appears to be no research evidence for the benefits of strength and power training, there is some support for the use of small-sided games for improving agility.

                              https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs...-9541.10.1.159

                              I think you are absolutely correct that there is both a cognitive and physical aspect to agility.
                              Again..imo best way to improve lateral quickness/agility is to play a game where you have to react..e.g.....basketball

                              I am sure there are drills which could do this but they won't be as fun as playing 3 on 3 with your friends

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