Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Three stages of a sprint

November 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Base Running

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s interview with Coach Jay Jones.  If you
didn’t hear it, click HERE.  During the interview, he mentioned three
 stages or parts to a sprint.  He explained it by saying it’s like the gears of a car.  You have to get the most out of each gear before putting it into the next gear.  Timing is key.  Stay in one gear too long or too short and it throws off the performance of the car.  Many base runners at first base who are asked to steal will make this same basic mistake.  After getting their lead and getting their body in the proper position, their first movement on the jump is to come up and get tall instead of staying low like a sprinter out of the gate.  That’s the equivalent of trying to put your drag racing car directly into third gear when the light turns green.  It just won’t work that way.

Below are pictures of the fastest human on the planet and the baseball well as details that show 
each stage runners should go through. 

First gear:  The initial 1-3 steps of the jump off first base.  Head down.  Full arm swing.  Straight line from back foot through the head forming at 45 degree angle.


Second gear: Head starts to come up.  A base runner may have his head turned to see the ball as shown below.  Still staying low.  Angle more in the 50-60 degree range.  Long strides.  Continuing the full swing with both arms.  Because the run to second base is only 90 feet, a base runner may never leave this gear before sliding.


Third gear:  The sprinter is straight up.  Head up with eyes level and still.  Continuing full arm swings.  Strides are long and foot contact with the ground is directly underneath the body.  For a base runner, this gear would kick in at the last couple steps down the first base line or after the runner rounds first base on a triple or inside the park home run.

Drills can be 
tailored to improve in each stage.  All of us do this already when we teach baseball skills like hitting, pitching, and fielding.  The same should be done with running.  Click HERE for some videos of sprinting drills.  Search for more as well!

How do you train your base runners?  Please share in the comment section!

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