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So my 14U son's primary position is catcher but he's been working on other positions lately to keep him in the lineup. He hits well enough to do so.

He wants to work on his speed. I told him if he reaches certain milestones I would provide little incentives to encourage him. Running is not fun for him. He's not slow but not fast if that makes sense. He's not all the way thru puberty yet.

We don't have the time or money right now  to do a formal speed and agility class. But we do have a nice high school track around the corner and turf fields as well.

Where should we start ? Should I have him run a mile and time him as a benchmark? Or a shorter distance? How would we measure his improvements? And what would be considered an a decent gain? For example shaving 10 seconds off a mile in a month.

Any suggestions for drills or methods or things that worked for your son?

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Get ready for some interesting responses.  Many will say running a mile is useless.  For your situation, I would agree.  The agility component is probably key at this point.  How you attack the agility piece should be a good discussion.

I will point out that you should not focus on the 60 time a this point.  When you being posting numbers, it may be good to get some training on technique, but you can probably push this off for awhile.

Work on speed and agility. Find a hill or a bridge with a 22ish degree incline and do some short sprints (10 yards or so) up the hill, take a minute break, repeat. Also, jumping over and on top of things is a cheap way to build explosiveness

This (above).

Another important thing to work on is base running like cutting the corner properly when taking 2 bases, getting a good read on base hits/balls in the dirt,  and getting a good secondary lead.  You don't have to be fast to do these.

Last edited by russinfortworth

In addition to TBPT dad stated, I am stealing from my kid's speed class, he did different start positions in the short sprints: on one knee and from a push up position. It is important to rest between running sprints.  I think for my kid he called it day when he could not get back to normal breathing within 3 mins between sprints.


Do you know a HS or College track coach? During our Area Code tryouts at Fresno State I conducted a test. We had each team of 25 players run the 60 yard dash. The School's track Coach after their run instructed the HS players "how to run".

Then we ran the teams again and the results were 10-20% improvement in the "RUNNING TIMES". Find a Track Coach or buy a book on running and base stealing.


Distance running makes you SLOW! If you want to develop running fast, you have to run fast and move fast.

The faster you pick up your foot and put it down the faster you can run. think get your foot out of the lava.  Long distance running promotes long ground contact and develops slow endurance muscles, not Fast Twitch muscles.  the longest distance in baseball you will most likely run is 270 ft. (1st-3rd).

#1 killer of speed.  reaching foot out when landing, land under your knee, not in front, when you land in front or reach out to land, you are literally putting on the brakes every stride.

Do Hills, sprints, jumping, etc,

Exercises to improve speed. Adequate rest between reps.  don't wipe yourself out, do appropriate # of the purpose is to build speed so you still need to be able to sprint during these.  I list 7 but don't try to do them all in one session.

1. Nordics

2. Body squats (arse to Grass)

3. squat to sprint (do 3to5 squats) then 20 yard sprint. (rest) and again

4. Squat Jumps

5. Lunge (leg that moves goes back simulating running motion, keep front leg knee over toes) Up and down same leg then switch.  then do lunge/sprints. 3to5 same leg then sprint, rest, then other leg.

6. Scissor jumps, land in running pose (not hero pose, sorry bad joke)

7. Side to sides (at speed)  like Heidens with depth. not every run is linear.

ps... Like Bob posted, first you do need to know how to run correctly.  My son ran track in JR high and I once asked if the coaches do any teaching of how to correctly run, nope.  Half the time, kids that are fast are the ones that just naturally ran correctly and those that are slow reach out with their stride, have lots of side to side movement, think pushing off is a good thing... etc. (it's picking up, not pushing off)  - clarifying, after drive phase.

Last edited by HSDad22

HS Dad:

During one our International Goodwill Series with the Korea National Team our American Area Code team with Torii Hunter resided at the Olympic Hotel at the Village in Seoul.

At breakfast, we were joined by the four female South African National Olympic team of runners. From their appearance, we noticed they were 440 runners.

Moral of story: "Walk like a runner". "Think like a runner" "Learn everything you can". Are you a left handed hitter?


@Consultant is right, if you can, find someone to teach proper form (I personally would look for someone with track and field sprinting experience and not someone that does "speed" training). My son has been working on this a lot recently and it's definitely made a difference. He had hit a plateau "speed" training on his own, but when he started working specifically on form his times started dropping again. He hasn't hit another plateau yet, so I'm excited to see how much lower it will continue to drop.

In the mean time. I would recommend plyometric exercises specifically for sprinters (Google it). Video from the side when sprinting to self-evaluate (there's plenty of good youtube videos about proper sprinting form). Just get out there and start sprinting. No need to run a mile.

In addition to all the plyo, various squats, lunges, jump/ scissor cuts, and ensuring proper form... echo thoughts on running hills. Find one where he can run for at least 6-8 seconds in it's steepest portion. If the hill levels off or gets less steep, that's even better, as it sort of mimics the transition/ top speed phase of a sprint. Using principles of over and underload help (the hill essentially is doing this), feel free to add a weighted vest to taste (Mr Bezos has many he'd like to sell you and deliver to your door the same afternoon) or even (16oz) weighted hitting balls to each hand. Also, perhaps run the hill in spikes. Son finds that whenever he's timed on a grass field (and wears metals) he "sinks" in to the ground (duh) but feels less strong/ stable. Running the hill (assuming it's grass) in spikes will have added benefit of strengthening all those high ankle muscles to ensure stable power transfer whether running on grass, turf, or a rubberized track. Be sure to finish with UNweighted UNDERload/ flat ground sprints too. Running hills will increase power/ torque, but ultimately want RPMs and to move fast. Finding a parking lot that gently slopes down for runoff/ drainage purposes is ideal. Like anything, proper volume and intensity coupled with adequate recovery helps. What's the guideline? 2x/ week to stay the same and 3x to get better? These principles have worked well for us. We add the plyo in as warmup and at the top of the hill between sprints. If you REALLY want to go down the rabbit hole, Josh Heenan has great content in the blog portion of his website (on ALL things baseball performance related). I discovered his site lurking here. Figure I'd regurgitate and pass it on as it hasn't been mentioned yet. Hope this helps.

I highly recommend a few sessions with a track coach to firm up the running mechanics. My son will never be fast, but he focuses on running correctly, fast twitch lower body acceleration and explosiveness. Ricky Henderson was never the fastest man on the field, but he could achieve his max velocity faster than anyone else - he was explosive. It seems to me that hitting, throwing, base stealing, and getting a jump in fielding are all based on that fast twitch lower half explosiveness.  

Last edited by JucoDad

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