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5 Tools You Must Have To Play Baseball In College or Go Pro.

Plus how to practice these things.

Focusing on having a good batting average and ERA every season? Stop. Scouts want tools. Period. Pro-level scouts could care less about your batting average in college or high school, and college recruiters could care less about your batting average in high school when it comes down to deciding whether to hand over a contract or letter of intent to play for their organization. Start focusing on the things that actually matter.

Here's some things you MUST have, or you WILL NOT play at a high level.

 

1. BAT SPEED

You'll catch an eye of a scout if you have above average bat speed. Higher bat speed equals higher exit velocity. Bat speed directly correlates to power. If you hit .800 in high school but you show a lack of bat speed chances are you won't play at the next level. On the contrary, you could hit only .300 but show great bat speed and have a decent shot at playing at the next level because this is a desirable and projectable tool.

How to work on bat speed: Use a bat that is 2-4 oz. heavier than your gamer when you hit off the tee, flips, or in practice before hitting with the bat you use in games. Think of this as an active weight lifting session for your swing that will strengthen your muscles and teach body control. After, your gamer should feel like you're swinging a toothpick. We recommend using wood for your heavier stick.

2. ARM SPEED

A quick arm will capture the attention of a scout. Arm speed equals throwing velocity. You need good arm speed to throw a quality fastball, breaking ball, and change up. Slow arms don't, and never will throw hard. If you have a 0.21 career ERA in high school but show a lack of arm speed you will not play at the next level. Show above average arm speed and you'll give yourself opportunity to continue to play.

How to work on arm speed: You must stay on a solid, consistent throwing program that includes long toss. The further you can throw the ball, the harder you can throw the ball. Think of your arm as one big muscle - it needs to be used and trained on a consistent basis to become stronger. Throwing every day is a good thing as long as there's a plan behind it and it's in a controlled, structured fashion. You need to pick your throws during each throwing session to "let it rip". If you don't try to throw hard, you won't throw hard.

3. RUNNING SPEED

The overwhelming majority of youth players that attend combines/showcases - Perfect Game, Prospect Wire etc., know that they will run a timed 60-yard sprint but they don't practice sprinting - crazy! If you practice sprinting you will gain speed. Above average speed tells scouts you can beat out bunts, steal bases, and run down that ground ball or fly ball. SPEED KILLS - watch this Minnesota Twins player score FROM 1B on a SINGLE!: Watch video

How to work on running speed: Go out twice per week and do a variety of sprints from 15 yards to 100 yards. Important tips: make sure you go through a good dynamic warmup first, and give yourself adequate breaks between sprints. Lastly, don't do slow, long distance running or you'll become slow.

4. STRENGTH AND POWER

Chicks dig the long ball; so do scouts. Greater strength equals greater power. You cannot get stronger if you don't train powerfully. It is a GOOD thing to get kids, even pre-teen, on a strengthening program. Kids as young as 9-12 can benefit tremendously by body weight only exercises. Teens can start using free weights, but make sure its under SMART supervision. Focus should be heavy on the core (abdominals, lower back) and the lower half (butt, legs).

How to work on strength and power: A good start would be to do lunges, step-ups, ladder/agility footwork, split squats and other varieties of squats that isolate single legs, two to three times per week. Keep in mind baseball players need to be functionally strong so think exercises that require balance, power, and coordination (box jumps anyone?) rather than squats and bench press.

5. GOOD CHARACTER

MLB organizations and college programs are businesses and brands. If they cannot trust you to represent their brand displayed on your chest and hat, you'll have no shot of playing for them. Good character covers all the bases: good grades, integrity, respect for the game and teammates, discipline, communication, positive interactions with fans, plus many other desirable traits. Give organizations reasons to love you, not reasons to pass on you.

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