In the sport of baseball it is very important when playing defense to have lateral quickness. Imagine if you were in the field and the ball is hit to your left, if you don’t have exceptional lateral speed you are unable to reach that ball that is hit. To cover the gaps in the field you need to be able to close the distance off between you and the ball as fast as humanly possible. These are skills that can be worked on in the off-season as well as during the season as well.
There are a few exercises that will help you build a strong first step and lateral quickness. The first one that you can use is lateral box jump/step over. This move should be done with 2 -3 sets of 8 reps:
Lateral Box Jump/Step over:
- Line up to the side of a box, step, or any elevated surface.
- A beginner with this movement will take their outside leg and have it cross over and onto the box.
- Next you will generate force with the foot that is on your equipment and push yourself up off the floor and standing onto the box.
- Reverse motion and come back to the floor standing to the side of your equipment. Remember to work both legs in this exercise, not just one.
- Once you are good enough you can begin to laterally box jump onto the box, first with both legs, and then when finally advanced enough just one leg.
- Your rest period should last no longer than 60 seconds.
The next move you can use is plyometric skater lunge. This movement will allow you to build explosive power in your legs and allow you to drive to either side with precision. This move should also be 2-2 sets with 8 reps to each leg:
Plyometric Skater Lunge:
- From here you have two options depending on your skill level
- You will then perform a reverse lunge, but your back leg will go back and behind the stationary leg.
- You will start standing feet shoulder width.
- Beginners: you come back to standing position switch legs and repeat
- Advance: you push off your starting leg creating enough force to push yourself in the air and land on the opposite foot with your once stationary leg now back and behind your newly appointed stationary leg.
- Once you complete the set remember to rest for about 60 seconds and move on to the next set.
By adding these movement to your workout, you will be creating a stronger and more explosive first step. This will allow you to chase down any balls hit in the gaps on the field. With these movements you will be one step closer to becoming a gold glove candidate in baseball.