The 5 Athletic Tools

The Five Athletic Tools

In the game of baseball, my first passion, a “Five Tool” player is used to describe a well rounded baseball that can do it all and are often described as true “athletes”. 

I have adapted this term to describe the manner in which I train athletes, my second passion, in order to ensure that they have the following five athletic tools that they need to bring their game to the next level.  Now I know that there are more than just five qualities but I  am somewhat forced to pick only five due to the baseball reference that I selected but I do take some liberties and combine several different qualities under one tool. 

These 5 tools that will be described sum up my brand of athletic training that I have developed over the last 15+ years of playing, coaching and learning about strength and conditioning.

I will be using the blog to go into much greater detail about each tool individually however here is a brief description.

Tool #1 – Velocity

This is an obvious one especially for baseball in regards to throwing velocity which is one of the five baseball tools as well as the fact that baseball is a game that is located at the velocity end of the spectrum when placed on the force velocity curve. 

Baseball falls in the “Speed” range

Bat velocity is another valuable asset that allows you as a hitter the ability to wait longer in order to determine if you want to swing which when you climb to higher levels of baseball decreases due to the increased throwing velocities that accompany these higher levels.

Another name for velocity is speed which is another of the five baseball tools that scouts ask “Can he run?”  The ability to apply strength (the next tool) quickly is what is going to make you fast by being able to put more force into the ground quickly which is the real secret to moving very fast.

 

 

Tool # 2 – Strength 

The day and age where baseball players were encouraged to stay out to the gym in fear of becoming too bulky are near the end which is great due to the endless benefits that being strong provides to a baseball player.

Strengths primary benefit is due to the fact that it is the other half of the Power equation when combined with speed/velocity.

Speed/Velocity X Strength/Force = POWER!!! 

Speed X Strength = POWER!!!

Fast X Strong = POWER!!! 

  

Power Pitcher

It then becomes obvious why a baseball player would want to strength train if they want to be described as “Power Hitter” or a “Power Pitcher” – two of the most sought after type of players in the game.

This blog will cover the what, how, when and why’s of the weight room as it applies to the game of baseball so you can add more power to your game.

Tool #3 – Agility

“Agility is the ability to change the body’s position efficiently” Wikipedia

I hope that this is the last time I reference Wikipedia on this site but I think that this description is dead on. Baseball by nature is a game that is composed of short bursts of actions that require high levels of agility in order to go from a standstill and a dead sprint as quickly as possible. 

Acceleration as a result of the bases only being 90 feet apart becomes imperative since it is unlikely that you will hit top speed.   this you must either accelerate or decelerate and the shorter amount of time is takes to go from zero to sixty (common term for a car’s ability to accelerate)

Ricky’s ability to accelerate were second to none

With the extreme forces that are being produced in this game ones ability to decelerate also becomes a priority in order to not only prevent injuries but to optimally transfer energy which for both throwing and swinging are crucial.

Linsecum’s ability to decelerate allows him to transfer a lot of force and stay healthy.

Tool #4 – Endurance 

My description of endurance describes the type of endurance that allows you to play each game and play it to the end.  Endurance for different sports means different things; endurance runners need endurance to run 1+ while a baseball player needs their arm to stay healthy in order to play 60+ games.

This tool will cover a broad spectrum ranging from nutrition, rest, arm pre-hab, soft tissue work, power endurance and cardiovascular training that when combined will keep strong and healthy.  Staying off the side lines for whatever reason will provide you the ability to constantly sharpen and improve the other 4 athletic tools not to mention your baseball skills.

 

Now that’s Endurance!!!

Tool #5 – Mobility

In order to produce 90+mph fastballs and 400+ft home runs you will require great throwing and swing mechanics which require a certain degree of flexibility and mobility.  With optimal mobility you can display your new found levels of speed and strength over a greater range of motion without restriction which is the true recipe to creating the power need to excel in the game of baseball.  Looking at throwing in particular you need mobility to get to some of the following positions:

Torque Much? Hip and shoulder seperation at its finest

 

More T-Spine mobility = More GH External Rotation = More MPH’s

Mobility will also improve our endurance capability by ensuring that your “Quality of Movement” is up to snuff which will reduce your chances of sustaining some type of preventable injury (i.e. muscle imbalances, overuse)

Most Infield Singles and best Hip Mobility in the Majors

There you have it!!

The Five Athletic Tools that make up a well rounded baseball athlete.  I am sure that they will adapt and morph as I continue to learn and practice more with training and researching baseball players but I think it’s a descent start.

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