The 60-Yard Dash is the standard sprint test for baseball players. It is often the first evaluation at tryouts and showcases. Coaches and scouts use the "60" to measure a player's speed, quickness and overall athleticism. Baseball players who can run well have better defensive range, more success stealing bases and the ability to score more easily from second base.
60-Yard Dash times for elite baseball players range from 6.7 to 6.9 seconds. That means if you run a 7.0 or higher, you have some work to do.
The first step to running a faster 60-Yard Dash is to develop better running technique. Sprinting involves more than just moving your legs as fast as possible. To shave time off your 60, focus on your form from head to toe to make yourself more efficient.
Posture, arm swing and leg drive combine to create proper form. Take a look at the photo of Carl Crawford below and notice those three elements as we discuss them.
After your initial acceleration, you want to lean forward a bit with your torso straight and your body relaxed. Hunching over or tensing up will only slow you down. Proper alignment puts your ears, shoulders, hips, knee and ankle in a straight line as you drive the ball of your foot into the ground.
A great drill for improving your sprint posture is the Tall, Lean and Fall Drill.
- Stand tall.
- Gradually raise your heels as high off the ground as you can.
- When you get to your highest point, lean forward and maintain perfect alignment from ear to ankle.
Start by practicing with a partner as shown in this video:
Add in sprint starts with the drill as shown here:
Lock your elbows at 90 degrees and move your arms from your shoulder joint forward and backward. Keep your elbows tucked close to your ribs and let your hands follow a path from your face to just past your hips. Any side-to-side arm movement causes trunk rotation and slows you down.
One of the best drills for improving arm swing is the Seated Arm Swing Drill.
- Sit on the ground with a tall, upright posture and your legs straight out in front of you.
- Start with one arm forward, one arm back and your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Slowly move your arms back and forth in a straight line as if you were running. Your hands should move in a path from your face to just past your hips while you maintain a right angle at your elbows.
- Increase to full speed.
- Continue the movement at your top speed for 6 to 8 seconds.
To improve your leg drive, move your knees forward, not up. Strike the ground with the ball of your foot to move your body forward. The Wall Acceleration Drill improves leg drive as well as posture.
- Place your hands on a wall and lean forward, keeping the ear-to-ankle alignment.
- Push up on your toes and lift one knee to a 90-degree position with your foot off the ground.
- Run in place and visualize pushing the wall over.
- Maintain your posture and lean forward as you accelerate each knee forward toward the wall with each step.
Now that we have reviewed the three keys to better sprinting, check out Carl Crawford again in the photo above. Notice that his knee, ankles, and elbows are all bent at 90 degrees; and his ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are aligned. This is the perfect body position for accelerating into your sprint and improving your 60-Yard Dash time.
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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock