Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning


Five Tips for Improving Speed in Young Athletes

By Loren Landow and Agyei Augustine

First:  Have kids skip for rhythm for 10-20 yards (a skip is a step and a hop)

  • Skipping reinforces the coordinated actions between the lower and upper body so, watch and tell them how to move their arms better

  • Don’t worry about anything but rhythm

  • When they can skip with good form, have them skip for distance, height or speed

Second: Line them up and have them race a given distance, e.g., 20-30 yards

  • Racing lets them see who is fast and how they stack up against their peers

  • Teach them how to start by showing them how to put one foot forward, one foot back, and how their arms are positioned opposite their legs in the starting position

  • When they understand the starting position, let them run

  • Correct arm and foot position at the starting position and nothing else

  • Don’t worry about body lean, etc., just let them run

  • They will get faster by running all out

Third: Teach them how to stop

  • Have them run 5 yards, breakdown, drop their butt, and put their hands on the ground as if fielding a ball

  • Start with a jog and gradually increase speed as they develop the ability to stop under control

  • This us usually all they need up to ages 9-10

Fourth: When they get older and can stop under control, teach them how to backpedal and turn to the right or left while backpedaling

  • Start at slow speeds and gradually progress to moderate speeds

  • When they can backpedal and turn right and left under control, teach them how to skip backwards starting at slow speeds and gradually progress to moderate speeds

Fifth: Teach them how to run backwards

  • Start at slow speeds and gradually progress to moderate speeds

  • When they can run backwards with good form, teach them how to turn right and left on command


Loren Landow, CSCS*D, USAW, MAT, NASM, was the Head Strength Coach for the Denver Broncos (2018-2023). He is owner, Landow Performance, Centennial, CO. Agyei Augustine, CSCS, MAT, is Performance Coach Director and NFL Combine Prep Lead Performance Coach, Landow Performance, Centennial, CO.

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