Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning

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Pro-Agility Run Part III

Common Errors when Performing the Pro-Agility Run

Gene Coleman, Ed. ., RSCC*E and Jose Vazquez, PT, RSCC

The following is Part III of a four-part series on the pro-agility run and will explain how to run the pro-agility run. Part I, Evaluating Agility with the Pro-Agility Run, can be found at: Part II, How to Perform the Pro-Agility Run, can be found at the bottom of the page.

Common Errors when Performing the Pro Agility Run. There are numerous things that can go wrong when performing the pro agility run that can significantly reduce performance time. The following is a brief summary of some of the more common errors that have been observed among professional baseball players.

  • Improper starting position. Everything starts with being in the right posture to move quickly and produce explosive force into to the ground. A common mistake made by many players is starting too high (upright) or starting too low (bent over). When you start too high, your first movement is to lower your center of gravity in order to put the muscles and joints in the proper position to apply the force needed to overcome inertia and accelerate the body to the first cone. Likewise, when you start to low, you have to raise your center of gravity in order to achieve the proper starting position. Regardless of whether you start too high or too low, the time spent getting the body into the proper starting position could have been better used to initiate movement quickly. 
  • Improper foot position for the first step. Where you place your feet relative to one another will determine whether or not you can open your hips quickly, how much force you can apply to the ground and the direction of your first step. Players who start with their feet parallel usually have difficulty opening their hips which, in turn, limits force production by the lower body and usually causes the first step to be outside the lead foot rather than in front of and parallel with it. Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, stepping in any direction other than straight ahead will increase the distance and time required to complete the first phase of the run. And since it takes 3 steps to complete the first phase of the test and it takes 2 to 3 steps for an individual to get back on line after stepping away from or across the mid-line of the body, an individual who steps in any direction other than straight ahead will reach the first cone before he regains proper foot placement.
  •  Decelerating and stopping with body weight on the wrong foot. Again, since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, stopping with your center of gravity over the foot nearer to the direction that you want to go next (left foot if first movement was to the right) will shorten the distance between where you stop and where you want to go. It will also position the joints in the proper position for maximal force production. When accelerating out of a turn, most of the force should be applied by the left foot when going to the right. Stopping with your weight over the right foot when going to the right causes most of the force to be produced by the crossover leg (right leg) and produces joint angles that are not optimal for maximal force production.
  • Taking too many steps between the cones. It should take 11-13 steps to complete the pro agility run; 3 steps from start to the first turn, 5-7 steps between the first and second turn and 3 steps from the second turn to the finish line. Failure to use a staggered stance can increase the number of steps between start and the first turn. Stopping with body weight over the wrong foot can cause an increase in the number of steps between the first and second turn and between the second turn and the finish line. The more steps that you take, the longer it will take to complete the run.
  • Failure to pump the arms forcefully. The arms play an important role in helping overcome the inertia when starting and changing directions after each turn. Failure to slow the arms when going into a turn and pump them hard when coming out of a turn will limit the amount of force reduced and produced and increase the time required to change directions.
  • Failure to run through the finish line. Regardless of the distance run, you have to decelerate before you can come to a complete stop. Individuals who stop by slapping their foot down as they cross the finish line run slower times because they began decelerating before they reached the finish line. For best results, run through the finish line. Don’t start decelerating until after you pass the finish line.

Part I – http://baseballstrength.org/the-pro-agility-run-part-i-evaluating-agility/

Part II – http://baseballstrength.org/pro-agility-run-part-ii-how-to-perform-the-pro-agility-run/

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Gene Coleman has over 4 decades in strength and conditioning at the MLB level (Astros 1978-2012) and Rangers (2013-2020). He is also Professor Emeritus in the Exercise and Health Sciences Program at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and Website Education Manager baseballstrength.org. Jose Vazquez, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Texas Rangers has over 20 years of experience in MLB (Mets 2001-2005 and Rangers 2006-2022).

 

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