The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Boutilier | Apr 23, 2014 12:52:48 PM

Why the 60 Yard Dash Test for Baseball Players is Too Long.

I wanted to talk about the 60 yard dash test and question why it has become the standard baseball speed test for players of all ages - everyone wants to know what your 60 is, right? 

I am a strength and conditioning coach for the Ontario Terriers travel baseball team here in Mississauga, Ontario, and our players have just finished their off-season indoor training which included baseball speed training and testing. Our last session was a testing day, which included a 10 and 30 yard dash. We don't do the 60 because we just do not have the space in our facility to accommodate such a run. But it got me thinking about "why do the kids need to run 60 yards?" Football players attending combines only run a 40 yard dash and a football player would be more likely to run 40-60 yards in a straight line during a game than a baseball player would (visualize a receiver running a fly down the side line for a 60 yard bomb pass form the quarterback). Baseball is different. Let's see how different it is and what a better approach might be for standardized numbers.

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Topics: baserunning, speed training, baseball speed, baseball testing, 60 yard dash

Rick Johnston | Apr 14, 2014 6:03:00 PM

26 Points for Excellent Verbal Infield Communication

What does the verbal communication mean in the infield?

Throughout the history of baseball, both verbal and nonverbal signs have been delivered as a form of communication to and from players, coaches and managers from the same team as a way to disguise or hide various types of strategy and intentions. When communication comes from a coach or manager it is usually done in the form of nonverbal signs or a sequence of signs to a hitter, baserunner or the defense. This type of language or form of communication is the most obvious form of interaction that the average fan is able to see when watching on TV. It certainly does not mean the transmission of the sign will be known to the fan, let alone the 

opposition, but it is a well known practice to most who watch the game. This nonverbal system is primary approach that is used most, similar to one learning sign language or reading lips.

There is, however, a very standard form of verbal communication that is used in the infield by each infielder when situations apply in games (and failing to do so is my top pet peeve of infielders). The following is a look at some of the primary verbal cues infielders need to communicate when the communication is necessary.

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Topics: infielding, infielding tips, team Defence, baseball communication, bunt defense, defensive baseball, infield play, infield communication

Tammy Kovaluk | Mar 6, 2014 11:07:00 AM

3 Reasons to Perform a Movement Preparation Baseball Warm Up

Most of the athletes I work with are high school to collegiate male athletes. I love ‘guy sports’ and in particular love working with this age group. Typically, these guys are eager to get stronger, faster, and more powerful, and are willing to put in the work to get there.

However, there is one common theme amongst these athletes. Despite their efforts and enthusiasm when eating iron in the weight room, this is not the case with the dreaded warm up. Lack of focus, doing it half-heartedly, and rushing through it tends to be a common theme.

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Topics: warming up, in-season strength training, baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, off-season strength training, baseball pregame, baseball warm up, baseball conditioning

Jeff Overholt | Feb 27, 2014 1:30:00 PM

Peak Height Velocity & Its Implications for Youth Baseball Players

This blog comes from our colleague Jeff Overholt, Co-Founder of Golf Performance Coaches and PGA of Ontario 2013 Coach of the Year. This entry was initially published on the Golf Performance Coaches' blog under the title of "'Growing Up' - Acorns Becoming Oak Trees". Please visit their site for more excellent junior athlete development information.

Can you guess which of these junior golfers is the oldest? Which player would have an advantage if they were all competing on a golf course which was around 5500 yards?

Believe it or not the player on the left is actually the youngest (chronological age), but he is the oldest from a development age standpoint. Developmental age refers to the child’s age of physical, mental, emotional or intellectual maturity as opposed to chronological age, which represents the number of years and days which have elapsed since birth.

These concepts are very important for coaches and parents to understand if they have athletes of any sport between 10 – 15 years of age. During this time, children typically go through their growth spurt and hit a critical marker in their development called Peak Height Velocity (PHV).

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Topics: baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, baseball exercise, baseball skills, Motor Skills, physical mistakes, LTAD, peak height velocity, Long term athletic development

Graeme Lehman | Feb 25, 2014 8:53:00 AM

Throwing with Over the Top Arm Slot Is Faster But More Dangerous Pt. 2

This post comes from our colleague, Graeme Lehman, in Kelowna, BC. Graeme has a great blog which you can find at lehmansbaseball.wordpress.com. If you are from the area, make sure you see Graeme.

Quick recap of Part 1 since I wrote it 3+ months ago. This article talked about a study which reported that pitchers who threw with excessive contralateral tilt could produce more velocity than those who didn’t tilt as much. This extra velocity came with a price which was more joint forces at the elbow and shoulder which could lead to an injury. The amount that each pitcher tilt’s is going to dictate which arm slot they use since the arm should always be at 90-100 degree angle from the trunk in order to maximize force and minimize injuries.

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Topics: baseball injury, pitching, elbow injury, shoulder injury, pitching injuries, pitching skills, pitching mechanics, contralateral tilt, Arm slot

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