College and professional baseball athletes alike are incorporating the ladder drill training technique because it has been known to help improve their strength training regime during the off-season and even during the regular season. While these drills can be performed year round, the intensity should be limited during the regular season. That said, agility ladder training is essential for developing:
- Running speed
These ladders may be commonly used among baseball players, but they can really be used for any athlete since most sports require quickness and speed. Agility ladders are particularly beneficial for baseball players because it can be an effective form of conditioning because of the high-intensity level.
Concentration Is Key
In order to be successful at ladder drills, it’s important for one to really focus and concentrate on the task at hand. There are many different types of ladder drills, which will be discussed further in this article, so it is very critical that athletes stay alert and aware of the exercise they are performing. It’s also important to not get overwhelmed and instead keep a positive and optimistic attitude.
Many of the exercises are complex so it is necessary for athletes to focus on developing the proper form for each exercise before attempting the exercises at full capacity. By performing each exercise in an uncontrolled manner, individuals will develop incorrect muscle memory that could have lasting effects. As such, attention to detail is of utmost importance with this exercise.
Warm Up Your Body
Prior to performing ladder drills, it’s necessary for any athlete or individual to properly warm up his or her muscles and joints. Agility exercises such as the ladder drills require multi-directional movements so there should be a strong focus on preparing your body for such motion. Dynamic stretching is the best way to properly warm up your muscles while also ensuring that you stay injury free when engaging in the drills. Once you have warmed up, you are ready to take on some of the many ladder drills. Let’s dive into some of the most popular and effective drills for baseball players.
Coaching Simplified Video
1 Foot in Each
With this exercise, the starting position will be facing the ladder. The athlete should then step one foot in each square, similar to a running motion except you are utilizing quick feet.
2 Feet in Each
Face the ladder. The athlete should then place one foot in the square, followed by placing the other foot in the same square. Repeat this pattern in each square.
2 Foot in Lateral Step
On this exercise, the athlete needs to start at the beginning of the ladder except the athlete’s right or left side will be facing it. He/she will then step in the square with the 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, the athlete will step in the square followed by the other foot. He/she will then step back out with the lead foot, followed by the other. Repeat this motion all the way down, and back.
A ladder drill that’s a little more complex, the Ickey Shuffle requires the athlete to begin by standing next to the ladder looking down to the end of it. Next, one must step into the first square with the lead foot, followed by the outside foot. 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.
It’s What The Pros Do
Ladder training is an effective way for baseball players and athletes alike to increase their speed and improve footwork. Professional athletes, particularly MLB players, are known to engage in this activity because it has helped advance the field games of many. Since some of the ladder drills can be challenging it is crucial that one stays in a positive mindset and is constantly willing to persevere. It’s true that some of the exercises may seem physically or mentally difficult, but the results that are gained are invaluable and will definitely come in handy.
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