Improve Your Prep StepAug 11, 2022
When do you prep step? Athletes need to prep step as soon as the ball is being hit so they are able to land in a balanced, athletic position that allows them to react to the ball. Sometimes, when a baseball player does not have range when throwing, it can be due to the fact that their timing is off in the prep step.
Off timing means one of two things. One, they are getting set too late. This player gets ready as the ball is getting hit, so by the time the ball is on its second bounce they are finally reacting. Others get set two early. These players take their step, stop, land, see the ball, and then react.
A good prep step means that as soon as the player lands, they should be able to lunge/jump into any direction when reacting to the ball. It should be one fluid motion. To work on this, Duke Baxter has created a drill involving four hula hoops. The athlete stands in the center of 4 hula hoops positioned in a square formation.
The player should then proceed to work on prep stepping into any of the four hoops, in all different directions. During this drill, the player lands, does push off, and can jump into the hoop balancing on one leg. It is important to make sure there are no false steps, as this is what the drill is trying to eliminate. Additionally, the player may lean to the opposite side of the hoop they want to jump into. This extra "juke" should also be eliminated.
This drill makes sure that the athletes are getting into a perfect position and can efficiently get into the direction they want to go. Once the player has understood the concept, the hoops can be removed and baseballs can be rolled to the player in multiple different directions. Here they have to apply their new knowledge to a real game scenario and work on when each direction is necessary.
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