How to Deadlift – My first Webinar!!!

Now that the world series is over it means that we are in the off-season which is when I get to flex my muscles as a strength and conditioning coach.  One of, if not the best exercise out there to help increase your size and strength is the deadlift.  It offers a ton of rewards but we have to watch out for the risks that we can minimize if we just do things the right way.

That’s the reason that I created this webinar.  I have been doing some consulting work for a JUCO in Florida (Central Florida Patriots) and I wanted to make sure everyone knew how to execute this crucial lift properly since I am helping them out remotely.

If you are interested in getting some off-season help for you or your team contact me at

Hope you enjoy this webinar!!!

Jose Bautista’s Throwing Bats and Balls

Here is a link to an article that I wrote about Jose Bautista’s throwing ability. Yesterday he showed he can throw a bat really far after that epic 3 run shot.

This article is not super technical but I wanted to write something about the blue jays since everyone here in Canada is going crazy for baseball!!!

Building Baseball Speed – Part 4

This is where the rubber really meets the road with the exact cues that you need to know as both a player or coach to get the most out of your acceleration mechanics.

Below are some links that I am talking about.  They are on another site that I have been building for a while now called “Big League Athlete”.  It is a site that is geared towards young athletes that want to become better baseball players.  My goal with the site is to make something that I would have wanted as a kid wanting to become as good of a baseball player as I could.  The site is by no means perfect or a finished product.  it does however provide a lot of great info that most players can benefit from.

Acceleration Cues – Upper Body

Acceleration Cues – Lower Body

Please let your players that you deal with know about it since there is a ton of great information on it and I plan on filling it up with a lot more.

Since you are reading this site I welcome any feed back about either of these two sites.

Thanks again

Graeme Lehman Msc, CSCS

p.s I will continue to post articles of this site.  Articles that appeal to the real baseball/exercise science fan that wants to understand the principals and research behind enhanced baseball athletic performance.

Building Baseball Speed Part 3

This article will hopefully give you a couple of ideas of how to integrate sprint training into a baseball practice.  Before that I would really like stress how important it is to dedicate at least one 30-45 minute  block on sprint/acceleration training per week.  After all it is one of the Tools that make up a complete 5 tool player so it would only make sense to spend some time and energy on this vital tool for success at the next level.

If you get the head coach involved and buying into the importance of sprint training you will send a message that this is something that is important.  And if something is important is should be the center of attention once in a while.

Having one dedicated sprint session complete with stop watches to help measure intensity increase your chances of seeing results.


Another benefit is that your players will get to learn from one another as they watch each others mechanics both good and bad.  This type of peer learning is something that you as a coach can’t provide.

Ultimately however we need to use this speed in a game to truly benefit from this type of training.  To make this happen we will take the information from the last post (reps, distance, intensity and rest) and apply it to many of the drills we are already using with our players.  The major benefit here is that the athletes start their sprints when the ball is put in play rather than waiting for a coach to yell “GO!!”.

Speed Stations

Every baseball team in the world takes batting practice (BP) and this always involves setting up hitting groups.  When you aren’t hitting traditionally you would be working on other parts of your game like bunting, base running, tee work or everyone’s favorite, shagging.

download (1)


Any of these stations can be transformed into sprint training as long as you respect the principals of rest, intensity and volume that I’ve already covered in part 2.

Let’s start with the shagging station with what I call sprint shag.

Sprint Shag: If you have multiple shagging groups dedicate one to be the “sprint” group.  This group performs one sprint every 60, 90 or 120 seconds depending on the distance that they are running, see the chart at the end of this article.

The athlete reacts off the ball being put in play and even if it isn’t hit towards them they will sprint the 10/15/20 yards in the distance in the direction that the ball is hit.  So if you are playing CF and the ball is hit down the third base line you would sprint the 10,15 or 20 yards in that direction.

Put some markings on the ground to give your players an idea of how far each distance is in a full 360 degree radius around their defensive position. Create with circles with about 6 saucer type cones in a 10, 15 and 20 yard radius from the starting point.

As reference the radius of the circle at the center of a soccer field is 10 yards.


It would then look something like this image below describing UZR (ultimate zone rating) which is one of the new age stats that does a better job of describing defensive value than looking at errors alone.

defense 1

By replicating something like this on the field really gives your players a better idea of how they their improvements in their ability to sprint and cover these distances in less time increases their value as a defender.

Checkout the added value at a big league burner like Peter Bourjos provides his team compared to other big league center-fielders.

peter b defense

Another reasons that I like this type of sprint training is that it gives players the chances to work on their sprinting while running with a glove on.  Too often I will see an outfielder extend their glove arm in the sky to catch the ball while they are still running.  You don’t have to be a bio-mechanical expert to know that it is inefficient to run with one arm up.  That arm needs to be pumping back and forth with the other one generating force rather than sticking up in the air slowing you down. Think of an NFL receiver who puts their arms up at the last second to both run faster and not to tip off the defender.


That left arm is helping drive the right leg into the ground right now

We will use it to catch the ball later

Base Running:  this is a very common station that is already used by most coaches.  If again you apply the rep, volume and rest principals from what we already learnt in part 2 you can make this station that much better.

Perform one all out sprint every 60, 90 or 120 seconds while getting reads during your rest time.

On some of the longer sprints I like the idea of practicing taking a turn to go more than one base at a time like scoring from second base.  To do this while still staying within the distances set above I would let the players get a big secondary lead and build up a rolling start into the base that they going round.  Using the “rolling” start method you can get your guys to run longer distances but they only go above 90% for the 10/15/20 yards.  They can be moving pretty quickly the rest of the time but you should be able to notice it when they shift gears up to that 90+ range.

In a 20 yard sprint you would be going fast for 10 yards before and after the bag.


Work on that lean!!

Bunting:  The bunting is pretty self explanatory.  Bunt the ball and run down the first base line to either the 10,15 or 20 yard mark; rest the appropriate amount of time and repeat.  Put a stop watch on them from the time the ball hits the bat to when they cross the 10/15/20 yard line.

Here is the gold standard of Billy Hamilton performing it perfectly

Billy’s Buntbilly bunt

In-field hit (aka Hit n’ Run): I think one of the sprints that we need to focus the most on is how you accelerate after you put the ball in play.  We don’t want to work on hitting soft ground balls in the in-field but they do happen and if you can leg on out once in a while you will see your average go up while obviously extending innings.

Here are couple of good examples from either side of the plate.

denard hit and run

In a cage you can angle yourself to in the ball of a tee into the side of the cage and then sprint down the first base line.  This is great because you need to apply the rules of how to accelerate, next article, from the position your body is in after taking a FULL SWING.  I capitalized this because every time I have ever seen a team do this kind of drill you are going to get a player or two have just waves the bat at the ball and sprints.  This isn’t how you hit in a game, or at least I hope not, so don’t practice this way.

Here you need a stop watch for the time between contact and when they cross the finish line.  You do need to judge each swing to determine that it was hard enough.

Hopefully these are some useful and practical ideas of how to implement some sprint training into a baseball practice.

You only need to do two workouts per week, see below.  If one can be done on its own as a “sprint” practice and another done within batting practice stations on non-consecutive days you would have yourself a pretty good program.

The final part of this series will focus on some drill, cues and exercises that will maximize the time and effort you put into sprint training.

Graeme Lehman, MSc, CSCS

Four Week Sprint Training Program

Distance Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 All Weeks
Day 1 Yards Reps Reps Reps Reps Rest
10 4 5 5 5 60 sec
15 4 4 5 5 90 sec
20 4 4 4 5 120 sec
Distance Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 All Weeks
Day 2 Yards Reps Reps Reps Reps Rest
10 3 4 4 4 60 sec
15 3 3 4 4 90 sec
20 3 3 3 4 120 sec

Building Baseball Speed Part 2

Welcome back to my series of how to help baseball players run faster so that they both can score more runs on offensive side of the game while also taking runs away on the defensive side by tracking down the baseball.  Part 1 went into a lot of detail about just how fast big league player and how you can measure your own speed.  In final two parts I am going to talk about how to implement sprint/acceleration training into a baseball practice and finally some specific drills, cues and exercises that have been proven to help increase running speed by improving mechanics and/or strength levels.

Before we get into that I need to cover some basic principals of sprint/acceleration training because without these in place you are essentially going to spend a lot of time and energy making your players slower and putting them at risk of injury.

How do you practice getting faster?

The only way to get better at running faster is to practice running faster.


Here is example of what a good sprinting practice might look like for a baseball player that I stole from a renowned sprinting coach Derek Hansen, he consults with NFL teams on speed training and the last time I checked all those guys are pretty fast!!

Yards Reps
10 4
15 4
20 4
* Intensity @ >90%

Look pretty simple doesn’t it?  I like that the distances aren’t that long which shifts our focus to acceleration rather than top end speed.

That piece of information at the bottom with the asterisk however is vital. Intensity is where most players and coaches fail when it comes time to improve running velocities.  Their training sessions aren’t intense enough to make improvements.

Are your workout’s intense enough?

The firs thing we need to do is make sure our definition of “Intensity” is the same.  In the world of exercise science the word intensity is used to define how hard you are working compared to your all out 100% effort.  If in the gym your max squat is 200lbs you would need to be lifting 180lbs or more to be in the >90% range.

Outside of the exercise science world the term intensity can used to describe anything that is hard.  If you did 50 squats with 150 lbs I bet you would call that intense because you might of passed out or threw up. But just because something is hard doesn’t make it intense.


That weight on the bar might only be 50% of his max but I bet he would say that it was an “intense” workout.  He would be wrong.

For me as the coach the only way I know if that workout was “intense” enough is to look at how fast your ran each sprint to see if it was above that 90% mark compared to that athletes 100% that was established during testing.

This table shows individual sprint times for five 20 yard sprints.  You will notice how the times get slower and slower to the point that the average time falls below the 90% intensity mark that we need to improve sprinting speed.

Sprint # Time Intensity
1 3 100
2 3.25 92
3 3.5 85
4 3.75 80
5 4 75
Avg 3.5 86.4

This is only for 5 sprints.  You can bet that the times would keep getting slower and slower.

Why is Intensity So important?

The principals of improving velocity whether it is throwing or running speed are the same when it comes to the level of intensity needed to make improvements.

In the throwing industry we usually refer to intensity with the word intent.

Great pitching/throwing coaches like Kyle Boddy, Alan Jaeger and Lantz Wheeler stress the importance of having the intent to throw hard.  Without enough intensity/intent your body isn’t forced to make the necessary improvements (i.e improved mechanics, muscular recruitment, stretch shortening cycle) need to help you throw harder.

The problem with running is that it is very hard on the body.  It is extremely taxing on our nervous system, muscular system, metabolic system and pretty much every system in the body.  This means that it is going to take a lot longer to recover between reps than throwing does.  If we were to count sprinting in terms of the number of strides we took versus the number of sprints we performed we could then more closely compare it to throwing.

If you don’t rest long enough you aren’t physically able to run at a fastest enough speed to be considered >90% no matter how hard you are trying.  Even if you are giving 100% effort it doesn’t mean that you are getting faster.  It means that you are getting better at running “kind of fast” which doesn’t help you on the field in a game.  In fact it could make you slower and increase your chances of getting hurt which happens a lot when you try to run fast when you are too tired.

Slow Down to Go Fast!!!

Sounds stupid doesn’t it.  But again we are talking the rest in between sprints.

slow down

In most team sports coaches won’t give their players enough rest between sprints because they either want to get done them quickly because there are so many other things that they want to work on like hitting and fielding.  Then there are times when coaches want to make things more “intense” and run their players through hard sprinting sessions.

Here is a complete table of the sprinting workout which this time includes rest periods.

Yards Reps Rest
10 4 60 sec
15 4 90 sec
20 4 120 sec

This whole workout will take just under 30 minutes following a good warm up and its best to do this when your players are both mentally and physically fresh.

The good news is that you only do this type of workout twice a week but that still might take too much time out of a practice schedule for some coaches.  In the next article you will see a couple of suggestions of how to integrate it into a practice plan but I wanted to touch on another important factor, volume.

Don’t Turn That Volume Up Too High!!

The volume is the total number of yards that you run in any given workout.  In the workout above you a run a total of 180 yards ([10×4]+[15×4]+[20×4]=180).

More doesn’t always mean better!!

You can go higher than this but just know if you increase the volume you increase the amount of time it takes to recover between workouts.  We will start to add volume each week but we do this gradually so that the body has time to adapt.  The same thing goes with your arm.  If you throw a ton (i.e pitching in a game) you need more time to rest then you would if you only played catch with a bit of long toss.



You need to look not only at the volume within a workout but within a week.  Don’t do a bunch sprint training the day after double header – this cumulative volume will be too much which can put your players at risk

Here is a complete 4 week sprint training program.  Be sure to separate these training sessions by at least 48 hours.

Day 1
Distance Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Yards Reps Reps Reps Reps Rest (sec)
10 4 5 5 5 60
15 4 4 5 5 90
20 4 4 4 5 120
Day 2
Distance Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Yards Reps Reps Reps Reps Rest (sec)
10 3 4 4 4 60
15 3 3 4 4 90
20 3 3 3 4 120


I hope you found this both informative and useful.  The next two parts will be up soon so that you can implement this type of training into your baseball practices.

Graeme Lehman, MSc, CSCS













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