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Doing the Little Things in the Right Order Matters

baseball baseball sprint speed softball sprint speed sprinting todd arnold

Sprinting is a skill, similar to catching, throwing and batting.  These skills are learned step wise, first a soft toss right into the glove, then harder and longer throws until you can handle just about anything thrown your way. 

Sprinting comes from walking, which comes from crawling, which comes from rolling over.  Rolling is actually the first mode of transportation we experience as babies, usually when we see something nearby that we want.  We reach for it and rolling gets us closer to the desired object.  Each of these skills is learned through trial and error.  Leaning too far forward when trying to walk results in falling down.  Running is the same way, do it wrong and you fall, miss a turn, or trip over your own feet. This type of running is great for playing at recess with your friends from school – sprinting for performance is a different type of running.  

You went through the progression above to reach these milestones and you need to go through progressive exercises to meet the demands of sprinting at your top speed.  First you have to make sure the body moves in the optimal way for sprinting, the hips need to both flex and extend but without moving away from the middle and without asking the feet to turn out.  The spine must rotate appropriately around the pelvis and shoulders going different directions at the same movement.  But with this movement you need the strength to control where the limbs and body travel at the same time as power to push into the ground to propel forward. 

This is why we are so particular in how we have our athletes train their bodies to run faster.  First some simple things to make sure the pieces move, then some drills to teach the muscles how to take advantage of this mobility and then strength and resilience to push into the ground with great force repetitively.   We also consider the fact that you need to be able to do this multiple times for your fitness and each time speed is demanded in the field of play.  Take the time to do the progression, it will teach the body the correct way to move, the correct muscles to fire with force and your speed will improve.