With so many different aspects to the game of baseball, how important is speed in baseball? Speed can change the game of baseball. It can be the difference between winning by one run or losing the game completely.
Speed is vital on the bases, in the field, and on the pitcher's mound. Players with speed will always have a leg up on getting selected to play on a team over slower players. Having the ability to have an extra leg up on the competition can help a player take their game to a brand new level.
Let's take a look at three phases of the game where speed can help to change the impact of the game.
Speed On The Bases
A baseball player that can steal a base with ease is a deadly weapon for any coach. Players that are smart base runners who can take advantage of flaws with the pitcher or arms of the outfielders can create havoc on the baseball paths.
When someone with speed is on the bases, it throws off the rhythm of the pitcher. The pitcher suddenly becomes more focused on the runner than the hitter. As a result, there is a good chance the pitcher will make a mistake pitching the ball and allow the batter to make him pay for that mistake.
The same results can happen to outfielders. If they know they have someone with speed on the bases, they tend to make more mistakes trying to get to the ball as quickly as possible. They could end up overthrowing a base trying to beat the runner. Someone with speed changes the entire game when they are on base.
Video Tip #1: Tips To Runner Faster Around the Bases
Speed For Fielders
Outfielders that can cover a lot of ground in the outfield because of their speed is a premium for a baseball team. Learning how to get a proper jump on a ball and taking the right angle to the ball is a skill. Outfielders with speed can easily take away almost guaranteed doubles and triples from players because of how quickly they can track down the ball.
Outfielders can benefit from running sprints consistently to help them get that good jump when the ball is hit. Outfielders with speed can also get a good jump on a ball when trying to throw a runner out, trying to stretch their hit out to extra bases. Outfielders learn to quickly get to the ball and get into their crow hop motion to fire the ball into the infield.
Most times, your fastest outfielder will be your center fielder. This is because they can cover a lot of ground both to their left and their right. They are also usually one of your faster base runners.
Center fielders, on the whole, are faster than any other Major League baseball players when running from home first base. Center fielders in 2016-2017 made 22,901 putouts compared to 18,904 in the right field and 17,220 in the left field. Clearly, they are tracking down more baseballs than anyone else.
Video Tip #2: Tips For Getting Good Outfield Jumps
Speed For Pitchers
People are fascinated by pitching radar guns. They love to see how fast they or someone else can throw the ball. It comes as no surprise that someone who can throw over 90 miles per hour will undoubtedly turn heads.
When it comes to speed in pitchers, it is essential to use it properly. If not, they will become very hittable. If their only goal is to blow it by hitters, they will not have prolonged success. Pitchers who throw the ball hard need to have good off-speed pitches as well as skill at locating the ball accurately.
Having a pitcher who can fire the ball past a hitter is a luxury. A good coach will work on ways to help them sustain that ability. This includes having pitchers go through running programs to keep the blood flow in the arm as workouts in the gym to work on the core of their body. A pitcher who throws hard but is fragile will not last very long.
Video Tip #3: Tips To Throw With More Velocity
Speed For Hitters
Lastly, we want to take a look at how important bat speed is for hitters. Bat speed is the time it takes a hitter to go from their launch position to their contact point. Getting the bat head through the hitting zone in the fastest time possible is an invaluable skill.
There are a variety of different drills and techniques that hitters can work on to develop faster bat speed. They can shorten their stride, change positions in the box, alter that path of their bat, switch up the plane of their swing, or play around with their mechanics. As you can see, it is not easy and should be cherished by those who can do it.
The bat speed is generated from a player's wrist and forearms. They can snap their wrists quickly into motion to attack the ball. Players who have excellent bat speed can hit any pitcher. This is a skill that baseball scouts all over Major League Baseball will look for when scouting a potential player.
When you are facing one of those high-velocity pitchers we talked about earlier in the article, you'll want someone with quick bat speed to get around on their pitch. Players with fast bat speed can also help advance base runners with hit and run skills. There is such an advantage to players who can utilize their bat speed properly.
Video Tip #4: Tips For Better Bat Speed
Speed is a valuable tool. It can be used in so many different ways throughout a baseball game, and coaches will jump at the opportunity to coach any player who displays any of the above skills. Some people are born with a natural speed, while others need to work at it.
For those who were not born with speed, do not be discouraged, There are many training programs and videos online that can help you build up momentum around the bases and out in the field.
Four things to think about when trying to get faster in baseball include:
1. Lift weights 2-3x/week during the offseason
2. Avoid slow running habits
3. Work on your imbalances
4. Understand the importance of stretching
Please share any tips that you have found along the way to help players use speed in baseball. Speed is more than just running the bases, it is ideal in all aspects of the game.