Agility ladder training for baseball is essential for developing running speed, coordination, balance, quickness, and explosion. Speed ladders are a beneficial tool for all athletes because every sport requires quickness and speed. In addition, agility ladders can also be an effective form of conditioning for baseball because of the high-intensity level.
College and professional athletes nationwide incorporate this training technique into their strength training regime during the off-season, and even during the regular season. These drills can be performed year-round, but you should limit the intensity during the regular season.
Agility ladder training exercises are extremely beneficial for baseball because of the various quick and explosive movements that are utilized in the sport. In order to effectively field ground balls, pitchers and infielders must be able to move side to side in quick bursts.
Agility ladder drills will develop the necessary side to side speed, but the exercises will also ensure that you making these movements in a smooth and controlled manner. Multi-directional training is the key to developing speed in baseball, and sports in general.
Ladder drills require a significant amount of concentration, and many of the exercise may seem complex or even overwhelming at times. For beginners, focus on developing the proper form for each exercise before you attempt the exercises at full capacity. By performing these exercises in an uncontrolled manner, individuals will develop incorrect muscle memory that could have lasting effects.
Pre-Agility Warm Up
It is important that any athlete or individual who is performing these drills properly warms up his or her muscles and joints. Since agility exercises require multi-directional movements, then there should be a focus on preparing for your body for such motion. Dynamic stretching is the best way to properly warm up your muscles, and ensure that you stay injury free.
Agility Ladder Exercises for Baseball
1 Foot in Each
The starting position will be facing the ladder. You will then step one foot in each square, similar to a running motion except you utilizing quick feet.
2 Feet in Each
Face the ladder. You will then place one foot in the square, followed by your other foot in the same square. Repeat this pattern in each square.
2 Foot in Lateral Step
On this exercise, you will start at the beginning of the ladder except your right or left side will be facing it. You will then step in the square with your lead foot, followed by the other foot in the same square. Continue this pattern in each square.
In, In, Out, Out
Begin by facing the side of the ladder. Starting with whatever foot is closest to the beginning of the ladder, you will step in the square followed by the other foot. You will then step back out with the lead foot, followed by the other. Repeat this motion all the way down, and back.
You will begin by standing next to the ladder looking down to the end of it. Step into the first square with the lead foot, followed by the outside foot. Next, step to the outside of the second square with the lead foot. Now step into the second square with the trail foot. Step with the lead foot into square two.
The starting position will be looking down the ladder. Perform high knees with each foot going into each square. Work on speed and explosion.
1 Foot Hip Rotation
Great agility exercise for developing better hip rotation in baseball. You will start by facing the side of the ladder. Step your right foot into the square while rotating your hips to the left. Only use your right foot, in and out all the way down the ladder. Switch to your left on the way back. Really exaggerate rotating the hips.
Two Feet Shuffle
Start on the side of the ladder, looking down to the end. With both feet, jump into the first square, and then jump with both feet to the outside of the next square. Continue with an in, out, in, out motion all the way down the ladder.
Two Feet Lateral Hops
Start at the beginning of the ladder with your body to the side. You will simply jump with two feet in each square, and repeat it on the way back.
Ladder Drill Tips
- Avoid tensing your muscles, and try to stay relaxed and smooth with every movement!
- Only perform the exercises as fast as you are capable. The purpose of the agility exercises are to develop quickness and control!
- If you’re a beginner, start out slowly and learn the proper techniques.
- Develop a rhythm.
- Make sure you are efficiently utilizing your arms with every movement.
- Persevere even when some of the exercises may seem physically or mentally difficult.
I hope this article gave you a better understanding of agility ladders and how to utilize them in your baseball training.