Training at half speed
After the winter holidays is when many players and teams start to train for the upcoming season. Private lessons increase and indoor facilities start to pick up the pace a little with teams looking for some space.
Most players and teams want to jump right in and go at their workouts full speed. It’s understandable too. For many players, fall
sports, lifting programs, and colder weather forces them to put the gloves and bats away for a few months. Now is when they start to bring them back out. Unfortunately, the excitement of doing so can sometimes get the best of them.
I am a firm believer that all players should go back to the very basics at least once a year. There is no better time to do that then at the very beginning of your season’s workouts. It’s a great reminder to all your body parts as to where they need to be and at what time. That’s why it is good to do a lot of your early workouts at half speed. This can be done very well with hitting mechanics, pitching mechanics, fielding footwork, and just about everything else in the game.
Doing drills very quickly doesn’t allow the brain a lot of time to get a mental picture of each and every step that is needed for fast, efficient movements. Training at half speed allows the brain (think muscle memory here) to make clear mental photographs of where everything needs to be at the correct time. When this is done, the brain and therefore the body will have an easier time repeating that same step by step process again.
If drills are done too fast, especially those that involve new skills being taught, then the brain frequently has only the time to photograph the beginning and the end of the movement. What happens in between is missed and therefore not likely to be repeated in the future.
Drills done at half speed introduce a new skill properly to the brain and body which creates a good foundation to start with. Speed can be added as time goes by. Old skills done at half speed at the beginning of each season (and also during slumps by the way) make it more likely the brain/body will continue those good habits.
Tomorrow’s Post: Like trying to push a rope