Acceleration helps you get out of the box, steal bases, break-up double plays, knock down balls in the hole and get to balls in the gaps.
Acceleration begins with the first step. Focus on your starting mechanics and first 5-10 steps. These need to be explosive. Most plays cover 5-10 feet and rarely do you have to run longer than 20-30 yards. Work on acceleration over distances required of your position. You may not become an Olympic sprinter, but a one step improvement can have a major impact on your performance.
JOG-STRIDE SPRINT Jog for 10 yards, stride for 10 yards and then accelerate to max speed for 10 yards. Use the next 10 yards to decelerate and stop. Walk for 20-30 yards and repeat. Do 5 reps with complete rest between each rep. Gradually increase the distance of each interval from 10 to 20 to 30 yards. Remember your mechanics. Use your arms, not your legs to change speeds.
PARTNER RUNS Get a partner of similar or faster speed and run side by side about 5 yards apart. Start with a moderate jog and then try to keep up with your partner as he accelerates and decelerates over distances of 10-30 yards. Do 5 reps, rest and change leaders.
HOP INTO A RUN Hop 4 times forward on both feet, land on one foot and sprint for 10-20 yards. Alternate landing with one foot forward for one rep and the opposite foot for the next rep. Do 3 reps off each foot. Do 5 reps off each leg with complete rest between reps.
RESISTANT RUNS Sprint up a hill. If you don't have access to a hill, tie an old tire to a rope and attach it to your belt. Practice sprinting while pulling the tire over distances of 10-30 yards.
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